Why Aircraft Carriers Still Rule the Oceans

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posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 12:02 PM
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Despite being created during World War I, the modern carrier has evolved to be the pinnacle of modern warfare's best and most visible symbols of power. Nothing says 'show the flag' more than a carrier off an enemies coast.

Some though have called the carrier a 21st Century version of a battleship — high on looks and weapons but can be taken down by modern weapons. Critics note air-power killed the battleship, people now suggest super-sonic 'carrier-killer' missiles will make the carrier a relic of the past. With their cost in the billions of dollars, some point to killing off carriers as an obvious cost saving measure.

Carriers though still have a lot of uses. Many navies like India and China are adding them to their arsenal and they are still feared by many. While carriers might be old, they are a symbol of power that no missile or submarine below the surface can match yet.

thediplomat.com...




posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 12:08 PM
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Symbols are of limited use in a combat environment, especially multi-billion dollar ones carrying thousands or people. Just saying...



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 12:08 PM
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reply to post by travis911
 

They should all be decommissioned and used for scrap metal.

Enough with these weapons of mass destruction.

The US is $16 trillion in debt. Sure as hell cant afford their trillion dollar a year war industry.

As for other nations, their governments are collapsing due to their debt burdens. They dont know where their next meal is coming from but luckily for them, they have a multi-billion dollar air craft carrier...

edit on 18-9-2012 by gladtobehere because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 12:12 PM
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reply to post by travis911
 


Don't forget though, that these anti carrier mikssiles have yet to be tested, and as such are not a real world threat.

Many "super weapons" have been reported, most don't measure up.

The modern Nimitz calss super carrier, was designed to stay afloat to any and all attack save a direct nuclear detenation. Meaning they are all but unsinkable.

Even when they cut holes through every deck for the water to flight deck, to sink an old retired one for an artificial reef, they are still not sure how easy it will be to take it down.



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 12:17 PM
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I love the carriers. I think they're indispensable and they do a whole lot of good as well as their combat roles. I know it's hard to recall, but the U.S. was largely at peace, world wide for the years between Vietnam and 9/11. Oh, of course there were minor operations but war as such wasn't happening. The Carriers stayed real busy with things like relief operations, anti-piracy and general operations to keep the oceans a quiet place. ...ahem..unlike the apparent mission here lately.

So I would never want to see the Carriers measurably reduced, let alone done away with. There are far too many uses for them in all kinds of ways. On the other hand, I think it's been 1945 since we faced an enemy who honestly made an attempt at attacking a U.S. Aircraft Carrier and we've become entirely too confident in the idea it simply can't be done effectively.

The Chinese have carrier killer ballistic missiles to come straight in from straight up. Now that should be a game changer. I know we have Aegis.....but the Chinese have manpower. How many missiles do the Aegis systems control? Not at once...but *TOTAL* for group wide inventory? How many days of missile after missile wave could China afford to repeat while the U.S. can't get it wrong once....or we lose a Billion + and 5,000 + people.

War for REAL will be a horrible thing to see happen again.
It's been a few generations since it's happened for us.



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 12:17 PM
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reply to post by inverslyproportional
 


"Unsinkable"? Not that old chestnut. You are right about the lack of battle testing of the new generation of anti-shipping missiles and torpedoes; I guess only time will tell.

As to the clout and prestige carriers provide when parked off the coast of hostile states, yes they are a symbol of a nations power, but what kind of message do they send? Yeah, we're the biggest baddest kids on the block, don't **** with us. Now imagine the sight of one of those symbols of national might going to the bottom of Hormuz with all hands. What kind of message would that send?

The carrier's days as a combat effective asset may well be done. Given the state of geo-politics these days, I suspect we'll find out before too long.



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 12:21 PM
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An aircraft carrier on its own is pretty much a sitting duck which is why it needs an armada of ships to protect it from attack but the ability to move around the world to project air superiority as and where needed is why they're still needed



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 12:25 PM
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reply to post by travis911
 


Exactly! They are a symbol. But perhaps they are more than that as well.

Because of the size of these vessels, they can incorporate new weapons tech that cannot be downsized at the moment.

I'm thinking that the Carrier is at its zenith.

In twenty to thirty years, we'll be seeing Cruisers and Destroyers with their own drone wings, effectively making the Carrier obsolete.



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 12:43 PM
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Although the carrier is a force to be dealt with I would have to say that a nuclear submarine is way more valuable. The nuclear sub can wipe out an entire country with one armament. Stealth is also on their side just my opinion id love to hear everyones thoughts so ill keep an eye on this thread.



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 12:53 PM
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reply to post by ed1320
 


The problem with using nukes as weapons is that the aim of the game is not about turning everything around you into glass as the moment one country launched a nuke on another all its friends would launch on it and it'd keep going until the planet was devoid of all life, conventional weapons in nuclear subs are great as theres no way of knowing where the launch will take place and as such put anti missile resources into the right area and since they only do damage to a specific location it makes it a much better option



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 01:33 PM
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reply to post by Orwells Ghost
 


I did say "all but unsinkable" as anything that floats can be made to sink.

They are however, very very very hard to send to the bottom.

If one gets sunk in the hormuz strait, well iran will get their strait closing, as the sheer size, and nuclear reactor would make any and all salvage ops....very complicated. This is not including the million plus gallons of jet fuel that would be burning, ammo cookoffs, etc. That would turn a carrier destruction into a unbelieveable site to behold.



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 01:38 PM
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New missiles, faster missiles are not going to obsolete carriers the way that aircraft and aircraft carriers obsoleted the big gun boats.

Airplanes were an entirely new direction of thinking compared to traditional naval thought and the advangtages of this new mode of thought were overwhelming and self-evident.

Newer and faster missiles are simply a further evolution of the world's current models of naval warfare. They are not a 90 degree turn from the norm like the fleet carrier was. New missiles are just another measure that will prompt the development of a countermeasure. It is much easier to upgrade the defensive systems on a supercarrier and her consorts than it is to rely on battleships in a fleet carrier's world (although they did find uses in WWII as very heavy AA platforms and escorts).

Though aircraft carriers are not and never were unsinkable, I think that they and their battlegroups are still the hardest to kill mobile military assets available.
edit on 18-9-2012 by Mkoll because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 01:44 PM
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Carriers still rule the oceans because countries with cavatating torpedoes and a hundred other technologies have decided to let them exist ..... for now.

In any major dust-up, these boats will be purposed into a giant grave for their crews.



posted on Sep, 18 2012 @ 01:48 PM
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Originally posted by jcarpenter
In any major dust-up, these boats will be purposed into a giant grave for their crews.


This is certainly a possibility. It will be a very high stakes war for any supercarrier and the much faster nature of weapons these days leaves a much smaller window for countermeasures to be effective. Any failure to make the most of that window will result in many deaths.



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 02:22 AM
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Originally posted by Wrabbit2000
I love the carriers. I think they're indispensable and they do a whole lot of good as well as their combat roles. I know it's hard to recall, but the U.S. was largely at peace, world wide for the years between Vietnam and 9/11. Oh, of course there were minor operations but war as such wasn't happening. The Carriers stayed real busy with things like relief operations, anti-piracy and general operations to keep the oceans a quiet place. ...ahem..unlike the apparent mission here lately.

So I would never want to see the Carriers measurably reduced, let alone done away with. There are far too many uses for them in all kinds of ways. On the other hand, I think it's been 1945 since we faced an enemy who honestly made an attempt at attacking a U.S. Aircraft Carrier and we've become entirely too confident in the idea it simply can't be done effectively.

The Chinese have carrier killer ballistic missiles to come straight in from straight up. Now that should be a game changer. I know we have Aegis.....but the Chinese have manpower. How many missiles do the Aegis systems control? Not at once...but *TOTAL* for group wide inventory? How many days of missile after missile wave could China afford to repeat while the U.S. can't get it wrong once....or we lose a Billion + and 5,000 + people.

War for REAL will be a horrible thing to see happen again.
It's been a few generations since it's happened for us.


Manpower does not play into missile inventory. These are missiles that are still in the development stage, there won't be an unlimited number of them. Soon carriers will most likely be equipped with sea based Free Electron Lasers which will provide a nearly unbeatable defensive layer vs. both missiles and aircraft, incinerating them at the speed of light, literally. The beauty is they will run on the nuclear reactor on the Carriers, they will have near unlimited ammo.

Once attacked the US would unleash a firestorm against any nation that dared attack our Carriers. How long do you think the Chinese carriers would last?



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 02:27 AM
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Originally posted by jcarpenter
Carriers still rule the oceans because countries with cavatating torpedoes and a hundred other technologies have decided to let them exist ..... for now.

In any major dust-up, these boats will be purposed into a giant grave for their crews.




The US has 11 of the only 12 nuclear carriers in existence. We have 11 of 20 carriers in the world. Since pretty much no one but the US has carriers your logic does not hold water. The fact that China is building new ones contradicts your statements.



posted on Sep, 22 2012 @ 07:10 AM
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Originally posted by Wrabbit2000
The Chinese have carrier killer ballistic missiles to come straight in from straight up. Now that should be a game changer. I know we have Aegis.....but the Chinese have manpower. How many missiles do the Aegis systems control? Not at once...but *TOTAL* for group wide inventory?


Not surprisingly, the exact capabilities of the Aegis system are classified. Missile inventory isn't, simply because all you have to do is count VLS cells and add. Assuming 1-2 Ticonderoga class CG and 2-4 Arleigh Burke DD, you'd get a group-wide missile inventory of 320 - 640 launch tubes. The exact load-outs are also classified, but there are a few open-source citations that indicate that about half the load is SAM. That would be 160 - 320 Standard SAM, 2-8 5" guns, 7-12 Phalanx, and 2-4 RAM launchers all under the control of 3-6 Aegis-equipped ships. Given what we do know about systems that are considered obsolete, it's a fair bet that the Aegis system could control most of that near simultaneously.

Don't forget the other avenues the task force has for self defense...electronic deception and the carrier's own air wing come to mind here. Am I going to say that a carrier *can't* be sunk? Nope. I *will* say that sinking it isn't going to be easy.



How many days of missile after missile wave could China afford to repeat while the U.S. can't get it wrong once....or we lose a Billion + and 5,000 + people.

War for REAL will be a horrible thing to see happen again.
It's been a few generations since it's happened for us.


How many missile waves is China (or anyone else) going to be able to repeat? Ballistic missiles can be tracked, and they aren't stealthy in any spectrum. Once the birds are on the way, the carrier group will have a fair idea of where they came from. Sixty seconds later (allowing time for message encryption, satellite relay, and decryption, the entire US defense establishment will have the data...and neither the carrier group (with its missiles and aircraft) nor the rest of the US military (with a variety of unpleasant options up to and in the case of a carrier attack, definitely including a delivery from the Curtis LeMay Instant Sunshine Company (est. 1945)) is going to sit idly and let all those launchers reload.

The best (unspoken) defense that an aircraft carrier has is the quiet assurance that any 'win' you pull off against it is likely a Pyrrhic victory in the classic sense. It's such a massive, complex, and technically demanding attack (if successful) that there is *no* "plausible deniability"...and the American losses will be so high that most of the world will regard just about *anything* as a justifiable response.



posted on Sep, 22 2012 @ 07:51 AM
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Carrier battle groups still rule the oceans. A carrier never travels alone, with companions seen and unseen.

First you have to find it, then you have to penetrate the defensive screen of other ships, submarines, aircraft. Then you have to hit the carrier itself hard enough to overcome the redundancy and sheer size.

Other than an attack by a modern attack submarine, or an attack with a nuclear weapon theres little else currently to trouble one.

The biggest real worry is modern diesel subs sneaking past the screen and launching a suicidal torpedo salvo at close range.

I'd be curious to know whether even a Nimitz could survive being struck under keel by a modern heavyweight torpedo like the Spearfish. Those who know probably wont be telling.



posted on Sep, 22 2012 @ 11:28 AM
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reply to post by justwokeup
 


Probably the biggest worry is running into an opposition force smart enough not to tangle with the carrier and its escorts in the first place. The best way to fight one of the USN's carriers is to fight the air group. Use attrition tactics...it's not pretty, but the carrier only has 50-70 airframes to work with (much closer to 50 than 70 these days), and those have to be divided up between carrier defense and strike. It doesn't take too many losses to make pulling the carrier group out of action the best idea.



posted on Sep, 22 2012 @ 12:01 PM
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reply to post by justwokeup
 


One modern, heavyweight torpedo might not be enough to sink a Nimitz class ship.

But there's every chance that it would cripple the ship & stop it in dead in the water. The carrier then passes from being an asset to an absolute liability, tieing up the entire battlegroup ... and just about everything else available ... for it's defence. That plus even if the ship does survive, there may well be hundreds of crewmen injured by being thrown about, plus major machine room damage, engine room kit being shaken off it's foundations, props out of line, broken seals letting water in.

And that's where being nuclear powered becomes a liability, couple of cracked pipes and there could be a major reactor incident. Such an event would be difficult to contain in favourable conditions on land. But at sea, perhaps heavy seas with many casualties and the potential for further submarine attack ? Difficult.

Me ? I favour sabotage. Get your men into position now, in peacetime. When the time's right, let them off the leash. There's plenty Chinese-Americans in the Navy, are you entirely sure they're all above board ? What about all those fancy electronics, proudly manufactured in the USA by Americans for Americans ... but using Chinese components ? Mm. Difficult to monitor, that, isn't it ?





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