a reply to: penroc3
the idea of flying aircraft carriers
is nothing at all new. in fact using lighter than air ships (a "blimp" is only one of the types there were
also "ridged" airship types), was one of the earliest concepts to do so. as well as concepts to use large fixed wing aircraft to ferry smaller
aircraft to battle.
the main problem with lighter than air ships, especially in battle was actually due to the lighter than air gas used, especially in Germany, being
highly flammable. in fact from what i have read over the years, they were able to handle being shot quite well, due to their sheer size, compared to
bullet holes. not to mention that size also allowed the mounting of antiaircraft weapons, to fight off attacks. well UNTIL they started to use
incendiary ammunition, which caused the flammable gas to ignite. which rather quickly turned them into giant fireballs.
now that issue can be dealt with by using largely inert gasses such as helium. although from what i have read the last few years, helium is actually
in rather short supply in the world, just from using it for kid's balloons, and the few rather small airships we have now. which is not a good thing,
when just one airship, especially one big enough to carry aircraft, would need so much of it. forget about a "fleet" of such airships.
another big, problematic issue with lighter than air ships, is their considerable lack of speed. they would in fact almost be great big, stationary
targets, just as they were in WW1. and we now instead of just tiny bullets, have missiles that can easily hit such a big, almost stationary targets,
capable of making really big holes. in fact just one or two hits may be well enough to destroy one.
just think of bombers. a smaller, yet still big target. there are two primary ways in say WW2 (before major use of missiles), one of course being
defensive guns, to fight it out with attacking aircraft, with only semi success (more a mater of who, shoots down the other first). or more
importantly speed. where the idea is to outrun those shooting at you, making yourself also harder to hit. as well as being able to maneuver, making
yourself even harder to hit. the Mosquito was a great example of this. being fast, unarmed (at least for original bomber setup, but they also made
fighter/fighter-bomber variants later), very maneuverable, and because of not putting in so much firepower for defense and people to use those guns,
also smaller than say a B-17, making it even more hard to hit. and was able to carry 2/3 the bomb-load of a B-17. with a higher speed and much more
maneuverability. relying on that speed and maneuverability instead of guns and extra people to operate those guns for protection. with size, speed and
maneuverability being the best defense in the age of missiles.
therefore an airborne, aircraft carrier period, is a lousy idea. one based on a huge, slow, unmaneuverabe airship, is far worse.