posted on Nov, 3 2007 @ 11:53 AM
It seems to me, that in a naval role UAVs are not going to be able to replace manned aircraft for the majority of missions that manned aircraft would
traditionally be employed for. Any control link other than a tether is just too susceptible to interference. However I do believe that UAVs, with
their potentially high endurance and very long 'loiter' times, will be used for reconnaissance, augmenting ship borne systems and increasing
detection radius. I can also envisage UAVs, possibly with a semi-autonomous mode, being used to augment CIWS, interdicting incoming munitions.
I doubt any autonomous systems would ever be employed for CAP or strike missions, as the perceived risk of having a unit or units 'go wild' with
live weapons is too great, even if current artificial intelligence technology could progress far enough to make such a thing feasible in the timeframe
of the carrier's operation.
As for the actual purchase of these carriers by the UK, I feel that certain person's assumptions of global harmony forget that peace in Europe is a
relatively recent occurrence, 60 years of peace after about a thousand years of intermittent and occasionally intense warfare. Not accounting that
is, for the cold war that existed for much of that peace, or the recent conflict in the former Yugoslavia, or the ongoing conflict in Chechnya.
Purchasing these items is a much needed increase in capability for the Royal Navy, a recently neglected but traditionally strong service.
The projection of power that these ships will bring, over a greater distance, with a greater flexibility of mission profiles will add to the Royal
Navy an element that has been missing since the UK devolved to mainly helicopter carriers, when the expected mission for the Royal Navy was
anti-submarine warfare in the Atlantic. With all respect to Invincible and the former Ark Royal, they were never designed as aircraft carriers.
Although the Harriers they deployed were superb aircraft, it is arguable that their use as support for expeditionary forces, such as in the Falklands,
With the increasing range and accuracy of guided missile systems, there are arguments to be made whether large carriers will be viable in the future.
However I feel the aircraft carrier, for all it's potential vulnerabilities, is an essential item for any country hoping to support overseas
operations. Even though the large high intensity conflict scenarios of the Cold War thankfully never materialised, the utility and scope of an
aircraft carrier should not be underestimated for the peace keeping and counter-insurgency missions our millitary is being tasked with.
Sorry for the wall of text on my first ever post, but I felt I had to chime in.