posted on Jun, 12 2012 @ 06:15 PM
Let's back up here a second. This thread was originally about India floating a carrier. It has evolved to discussing how vulnerable a carrier is,
especially to ballistic missiles. Now we've got an argument going on that says, essentially, that a carrier is vulnerable, not it isn't, yes, it is.
And we appear to be into a war of who is has the most expertise versus who can use profanity more effectively. Let's try to figure out what we
collectively really know. Taking a rigid position one side or another seems to me to be beside the point.
1. No carriers, even well-armed American carriers, are invulnerable. All are subject to attack. Even if you have a perfect defense system, you can
screw up and let one devastating missile through. If nothing else, throw an ICBM down from above and detonate a few warheads a few thousand feet up.
Boom. No carrier. Phage says that's cheating, but, well, all's fair in love and war. In any case, a carrier killer missile is theory unless it has
been successfully used against an enemy that is actively defending itself. Just because you can hit a tramp steamer in target practice does not mean
you can take out a carrier defending itself. No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.
2. American carriers, in particular, are very well armed. They are not frightened of a super fast ballistic missile. The Aegis ABM system is capable
of taking this kind of missile out. The US Navy is upgrading its cruisers and destroyers as fast as possible. The Chinese may have killer missiles,
but we have missile killers. The carrier has a chance of survival. Because most countries do not have such super ballistic missile capability,
American carriers rule the waves most places. Not everywhere, but most. Other countries' carriers, as I understand it, do not have as sophisticated a
defense mechanism, but that doesn't mean they are harmless.
3. Even if you have a super fast missile you are convinced is a carrier killer, you must have the political will to use it and take the consequences.
China or Russia would think twice before attempting to take out a carrier, just as we would theirs. No excuses of, "Oh, gee. We mis-identified you,
so sorry" are going to work on an attack on a Carrier Strike Group. Just because you can doesn't mean you will. If they do, God help us all. I
really don't want this to be tested.
4. The key to this whole thing is "ordnance on target." Shore-based batteries defending coastlines were abandoned when we discovered it was cheaper
to put bombs on airplanes, fly over to the enemy ship, and sink it that way. (I live in an area with several abandoned forts built to defend the
coastline.) That concept eventually ended the era of the battleship, too.
But this could be reversed. Carriers are expensive. If we could develop land or space-based systems that could accurately put Mach "X" missiles on
target in a comprehensive fashion, carriers will be "re-evaluated" to see if they are still a cost-effective solution.