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Does the Navy’s Carrier-Based Strategy Need to be Changed? | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

Does the Navy’s Carrier-Based Strategy Need to be Changed?

The United States is proud of its storied history of aircraft carriers. Ever since WWII, these carriers have played a critical role in offensive and defensive operations by the US Navy. I wrote a few months back in an article about the fact that no country in the world can even come close to our carrier dominance and, with us being able to project that type of force, it definitely makes any potential adversary think twice about their prospects for success. We are so confident in the firepower that our aircraft carriers can project that we design entire task forces around them to protect them and help them do their jobs. The question is: are we putting too many eggs in one basket when it comes to our confidence in aircraft carrier survivability in the event of war?

The Navy just recently boasted about all the carrier groups that were deployed around the world at the same time; the most in history in fact, with the number being six. There are 4 carriers currently operating in the pacific, including the tension-filled South China Sea area and two more currently supporting overlapping operations in the Middle East. It certainly is an achievement to be proud of militarily, but the USA needs to be cautious with its approach too as large vessels like aircraft carriers become more vulnerable every day to new weapon technologies and innovative tactics that can sink even the largest ships.

Aircraft CarrierThere is no better example of this than the bombing of the USS Cole in October of 2000. Just a very small boat loaded with explosives was able to pull up alongside the ship undetected and detonate such a powerful blast that it almost sunk the 7000 ton war machine. It demanded the full efforts of the crew, shore personnel and other US Navy ships that responded to keep it from ending up at the bottom of the harbor in Aden, Yemen. It also took over 3 years to repair the damage and get the ship back into service. If this can happen to an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, it theoretically can happen to a multi-billion dollar aircraft carrier too.

One of the reasons that potential adversaries like China and Russia may not be building many new carriers is that they may feel they are too vulnerable these days. For many years, Chinese submarines were the brunt of a lot of jokes because of how loud they were and easy to detect. That is no longer the case with the newer diesel electric motors they are being refitted with. Recent US Navy tests of a carrier task force’s ability to defend against a Swedish diesel electric submarine did not go well for the defenders on more than one occasion. Let’s also not forget that military strategists are becoming increasingly concerned with powerful, long range ballistic anti-ship missiles such as the Chinese Dong Feng-21 (CSS-5) too, which is thought to have a tactical range of up to 1000 nautical miles.

The Navy got away from using battleships for a reason because smaller, less expensive ships could now perform the same roles; maybe it’s time to rethink putting so much emphasis on the importance of aircraft carriers in US Naval strategy too.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Craig Smith

Craig has been writing for several years but just recently made freelance writing a full time profession after leaving behind 26 years working in the swimming pool construction industry. He served four years in the US Air Force as an Imagery Interpreter Specialist in Okinawa, Japan and at SAC Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. As a staunch supporter of law enforcement personnel, emergency medical technicians, firemen, search and rescue personnel and those who serve in the military, Craig is proud to contribute to the US Patriot blog on their behalf.
Craig Smith
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1 thought on “Does the Navy’s Carrier-Based Strategy Need to be Changed?

  1. A question. Are we stuck in a Cold War mentality for carriers?
    As we move forward, does America need a $14B aircraft carrier to launch ~82 aircraft? Not all are combat aircraft.
    The USS America can carry 2- F-35B aircraft.
    Since these smaller carriers cost only~$4B and a crew of ~1100 (vs Nimitz 4,300) would it not be more practical to plan for 18 smaller carriers?
    This would provide a more agile application of global presence.
    The ships required for fleet protection could be equalized to maintain the current destroyer/cruiser mix.
    If more firepower is needed additional carriers could be added.

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