a reply to: Masisoar
You're making an argument about smaller carriers, not smaller carrier air wings. There is no point in reducing the size of the CAWs embarked on the
IMO smaller carriers have no benefits at all in a confrontation against a near peer.
Buying three smaller carriers for every super carrier sounds good on paper until you realize that you actually need to operate three hulls instead of
Unless your deploying them in a unified strike group you actually end up needing more escort vessels to defend less capable ships.
The idea smaller, more maneuverable forces doesn't fly against a near peer. Sending out individual Task Groups with cost-effective UCAVs and light
escorts only makes it easier for the Chinese to effectively engage them.
No to mention that its is a useless thought exercise. The US is not moving away from supper carriers for at the very least the next decade. They have
three Ford Class Carriers already in service or construction and an additional two on order. Even if they cancelled CVN-81 and CVN-82 and start
building Americas instead, the fleet structure would change much at all until well into the 2030s.
If you want to build on the capability to strike inside the Chinese OODA loop surface combatants are the wrong tool for the job period. It's not the
1940s anymore, you can’t just rush in some light surface force and get out more or less unscathed after dealing some blows. You need to assume the
Chinese will be able to close the loop and engage your naval task forces, so actually won't get away with distributing your firepower over multiple
task forces operating independent of each other or something.
If you want to operate carrier groups within the reach of the Chinese at all, your layers of protection need to be airtight. I'm talking a dozen Aegis
Baseline 9 capable vessels armed to teeth with the most advanced interceptors currently in the inventory. IE a third of the Pacific fleet just to
protect the flight decks in one task group.
And event that will be inadequate as soon as true hypersonic weapons get introduced within the next decade or so.
The ugly truth is, going forward, carriers are actually the wrong tool to fight the Chinese in the Pacific in the 21st century. At least until they
come up with a way to increase the effectiveness of missile defense by an order of magnitude at least. That’s not impossible, but deployable laser
weapons to engage hypersonic weaponry aren’t a thing yet.
In the meantime, the US needs to accept the reality that Carriers are actually a second-tier tool in any fight against China. They are reduced to long
range standoff strikes from well outside the Chinese anti access zone. Stealth or not, they actually don't have the legs and refueling capability to
worry too much about penetrating. That will be up to the Air Force with the LRSB family of systems.
Hence why I actually like their new approach to 6th gen. They Navy needs a 6th Gen Hornet equivalent, not a navalized PCA.
And if the politicians had been smart about it ten years ago, they would have canned the F-35 and transitioned the manned air wing to pure Hornet
fleet to keep the air wings a max strength with a stealthy UCAV as support. Would have been the perfect force structure a generation earlier than what
they now looking at. But thats water under the bridge i guess.
edit on 11-5-2019 by mightmight because: (no reason given)