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Aircraft Carriers: Obsolete?


EdEarl
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Sounds similar to a gang of criminals who want a business to pay for protection, who park in front of the business and intimidate everyone visiting.

I really don't see how you can compare England to a gang of criminals during the Falklands incident.

 

As most people here, I also think that aircraft carriers are not obsolete - they are still useful (for bullying too).

 

I don't think they can have any role in the first and the most important phase of a full-scale nuclear strike. Only rocket will be used (for offense and defense) - aircraft carriers are too slow. However, aircraft carriers might see some action during the second phase of nuclear war: the first country that 'regains consciousness after the mutual KO' will use them, as well as everything else available, to butcher the opponent while still on the ground during this phase of uncontrolled genocidal rage.

 

I didn't realize there might be a 'second phase' to a full-scale nuclear war.

Edited by zapatos
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Agree or not with foeign policy, but I'd like some examples of the US shaking down countries for protection money.

I said sounds similar; I didn't mean the US literally strong arms a country for money. However, it does use strong arm tactics to get what the military industrial complex wants, and some of them assure US companies have a favored status.

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I said sounds similar; I didn't mean the US literally strong arms a country for money. However, it does use strong arm tactics to get what the military industrial complex wants, and some of them assure US companies have a favored status.

What have they done by threatening war, that wasn't already a military intervention?

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Invaded Panama and arrested Noriega.

U.S. Invasion and Occupation of Haiti, 1915–34

 

 

UShistory.org

In February 1898, relations between the United States and Spain deteriorated further. Dupuy de Lôme, the Spanish minister to the United States had written a stinging letter about President McKinley to a personal friend. The letter was stolen and soon found itself on the desk of Hearst, who promptly published it on February 9. After public outcry, de Lôme was recalled to Spain and the Spanish government apologized. The peace was short-lived, however. On the evening of February 15, a sudden and shocking explosion tore a hole in the hull of the American battleship Maine, which had been on patrol in Havana harbor. The immediate assumption was that the sinking of the Maine and the concomitant deaths of 260 sailors was the result of Spanish treachery. Although no conclusive results have ever been proven, many Americans had already made up their minds, demanding an immediate declaration of war.

 

 

Wikipedia

Operation Uphold Democracy (19 September 1994 – 31 March 1995) was an intervention designed to remove the military regime installed by the 1991 Haitian coup d'état that overthrew the elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The operation was effectively authorized by the 31 July 1994 United Nations Security Council Resolution 940.

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Invaded Panama and arrested Noriega.

U.S. Invasion and Occupation of Haiti, 1915–34

 

Response to a coup is a response to a military action.

 

The US didn't have carriers in 1915. Not until 1927 - Saratoga and Lexington (and used in WWII, contrary to the "plan to fight the previous war")

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MigL, in international politics different people/cultures can interpret things in various ways. There are intentions stated by a government about its actions, and usually secret intentions not stated by the government. There are also expectations about the result of an action. Since a government is composed of many people, each one my have a different take on an action, including intentions, secret intentions and expectations.

 

There are often several people who are affected by an action, and each one may interpret the actions differently, which may or may not be similar to the expectations of the acting government. Thus, I think your characterization:

 

It is not intimidation or bullying.

It simply makes it clear what the alternatives to peaceful, diplomatic negotiations are.

coincides with stated intentions often used to justify actions, but is unlikely to be the full story. However, state secrets hide many things, and I cannot prove there are secret intentions and expectations, even if they have been documented.

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While an aircraft carrier in its aeronaval group projects a formidable destruction force, it is effective only against low-tech enemies. For having fought and imagined only unsymmetrical wars in the last decades, the US and Nato members have forgotten what their true role is: protect against strong enemies. Russia can again develop superior technology (their fuel-air bomb distributed by a Katiushka salvo exists nowhere else), china progresses, Iran has centrifuges better than anywhere and cavitating torpedoes.

 

Against a high-tech enemy, an aircraft carrier is a target, not a weapon - just like any big surface ship.

 

One possible anti-carrier weapon is a kinetic energy penetrator, like that but bigger:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_energy_penetrator

Instead of 20kg launched by a battletank cannon to arrive at 1000m/s, the 2t impactor would arrive at 5000m/s and >45° and be launched from 2,500km distance by a rocket carried on a truck or small boat.

 

The propulsion, design, materials, reentry of such a weapon are trivial. Guidance is not, but is similar to any missile travelling over the atmosphere.

 

Being essentially solid steel and fast, such an impactor is very difficult to destroy or deviate. Its penetration power exceeds much the need against a warship, so the head can instead deliver 20 penetrators, or the truck can launch a salvo of 20 smaller rockets. The penetrator nose's shape too may spread shrapnel to increase the hole's radius at the warship's bottom.

 

This example of weapon looks perfectly deadly, easy to conceal, very difficult to stop - and it is 10,000 times cheaper than its target and much cheaper than its interceptor, so a saturation attack is reasonable.

 

Hence my claim, that all big surface warships are obsolete.

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While an aircraft carrier in its aeronaval group projects a formidable destruction force, it is effective only against low-tech enemies. For having fought and imagined only unsymmetrical wars in the last decades, the US and Nato members have forgotten what their true role is: protect against strong enemies. Russia can again develop superior technology (their fuel-air bomb distributed by a Katiushka salvo exists nowhere else), china progresses, Iran has centrifuges better than anywhere and cavitating torpedoes.

 

Against a high-tech enemy, an aircraft carrier is a target, not a weapon - just like any big surface ship.

 

One possible anti-carrier weapon is a kinetic energy penetrator, like that but bigger:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_energy_penetrator

Instead of 20kg launched by a battletank cannon to arrive at 1000m/s, the 2t impactor would arrive at 5000m/s and >45° and be launched from 2,500km distance by a rocket carried on a truck or small boat.

 

The propulsion, design, materials, reentry of such a weapon are trivial. Guidance is not, but is similar to any missile travelling over the atmosphere.

 

Being essentially solid steel and fast, such an impactor is very difficult to destroy or deviate. Its penetration power exceeds much the need against a warship, so the head can instead deliver 20 penetrators, or the truck can launch a salvo of 20 smaller rockets. The penetrator nose's shape too may spread shrapnel to increase the hole's radius at the warship's bottom.

 

This example of weapon looks perfectly deadly, easy to conceal, very difficult to stop - and it is 10,000 times cheaper than its target and much cheaper than its interceptor, so a saturation attack is reasonable.

 

Hence my claim, that all big surface warships are obsolete.

Any military vehicle or base has to be protected. i can't think of any vehicle that is better protected.

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Any military vehicle or base has to be protected. i can't think of any vehicle that is better protected.

How? An aircraft carrier is protected by its planes, a submarine, some frigates including antimissile ones. Which one shall stop a 2t fléchette of solid steel falling at 5000m/s and 45°? And then, stop 50 salvoes of 20 fléchettes?

 

And, yes, a submarine is better protected than an aircraft carrier. Or much smaller surface warships would be targets of lesser value, hence would be less at risk.

I think an aircraft carrier has little effect on terrorists, which seem to be the main threat today; whereas, a drone does threaten terrorists.

I can't agree on that. US and European countries have shortly a small worry with terrorism, which is numerically very small if compared with a more standard war, and must be soon over. The real threat is a true war, say with Russia. If some day the US decide that Nato is obsolete, or Russia's friendship is as important as Europe's, then Poutine will invade the three Baltic republics and parts of Poland without a doubt. Then the rest of Europe, without a military coalition, without a military or political leadership, will have to decide: go to war or accept the blow.

 

While drones look useful, up to now they were meant to bomb Yemen and Pakistan. They have no defence, no agility, only the much overstated stealthiness. Useless against Russia. Typically a result of three decades planning asymmetrical war, and this is damned dangerous.

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How? An aircraft carrier is protected by its planes, a submarine, some frigates including antimissile ones. Which one shall stop a 2t fléchette of solid steel falling at 5000m/s and 45°? And then, stop 50 salvoes of 20 fléchettes?

And what drops these things? If they are dropped from a sub-orbital height they are not allowed and would breach nuclear arms treaties. I know this because the US wanted to reassign some of their ICBMs to use falling solid tips for conventional attacks but Russia wouldn't allow it because they had no way of knowing if they were nuclear-tipped or not. I can't reference this, it was a while ago when I was learning about all the nuclear weapon designs that had been done.

 

Edit: More correctly, it should be said, that if Russia or America dropped these things via an ICBM it will treated as a nuclear attack.

Edited by StringJunky
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Obsolete at what?

 

I remember reading back in the 90's that one US aircraft carrier battle group could be considered the fifth most powerful military force on the planet. If I recall the order was the United States minus one aircraft carrier battle group, the USSR, China, UK, and one US aircraft carrier battle group. (Maybe France was in the mix.) Number 5 is still a lot of power. You might recall back in the 90's a missile was launched from a carrier based aircraft what took out a satellite. At the time, the USSR did not have AWACS planes like the E-2 Hawkeye but instead relied on satellites. So take out their satellites and their forces are blind.

 

Aircraft carrier battle groups include guided missile cruisers, destroyers, and frigates. Many of these ships are equipped with the AN/SPY-1 radar. This radar can track satellites in space. Since the 90's my guess is they have ship based missiles that can target space based weapons. Just a guess. Anyway, high altitude targets are generally the easiest with which to deal. You can see them a long way off and have plenty of time to react both offensively and defensively. Low altitude high speed targets are more difficult. A mach three missile coming over the horizon 20 miles out only takes 32 seconds to reach your ship. In that time you have to acquire your target, select a weapons system, deploy a weapon, and hit it before it gets too close to your ship. But that assumes you don't have aircraft above you telling you that targets are beyond the horizon. Also these ships have close in weapon systems that can kick in as the target gets closer. Hidden land based anti ship missiles pose a bigger threat because they can deploy even closer to your ship. So some locations in the Persian Gulf present difficulties.

 

In my opinion the reason we have terrorism is because we have such incredible conventional forces. An enemy can't take on a modern military like the US in a conventional way. Once the US has air superiority that enemy is dead.

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In my opinion the reason we have terrorism is because we have such incredible conventional forces. An enemy can't take on a modern military like the US in a conventional way. Once the US has air superiority that enemy is dead.

Agree,

Korean Vietnam, Iraq 1&2, and Afghanistan conflicts, among others, have been won by the US and its allies; they seem to have convinced others that war with the US is a loosing proposition.

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Agree,

Korean Vietnam, Iraq 1&2, and Afghanistan conflicts, among others, have been won by the US and its allies; they seem to have convinced others that war with the US is a loosing proposition.

We won battles in Vietnam, but the cost in lives was too much to continue.

Edited by EdEarl
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There are other aspects that (maybe) are in favor of Aircraft carriers. The Nuclear powered carriers do not have to carry fuel, which allows them to carry large amounts of fuel for both their aircraft AND other ships in their group-- which gives them added flexibility and range. They have been designed to withstand the blast of everything up to and including small tactical nucs-- such as nuclear torpedoes . It is also very, very difficult to punch a hole in the hull of a modern Aircraft carrier, and they don't have to worry much about being attacked by submarines. Unfortunately, I cannot give you any links to support this, as details are still classified, but I was there for a lot of the design work.

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