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View Diary: Do we really need 10 obsolete aircraft carriers? (159 comments)

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  •  Obsolete? (11+ / 0-)

    You seem to be suggesting they are “obsolete” because conventional weapons exist that could conceivably damage or sink them. But that has been the case since Billy Mitchell proved aircraft can sink capital ships in the early 1920’s, and was validated in spades during WWII. But of course weapons themselves are useless against mobile targets unless there is a chain of complimentary systems for identification (e.g. large crude carriers are just as big on radar), mid-course guidance, terminal homing, and defense avoidance.

    You also seem to imply they are obsolete because there is no threat to the US mainland you find credible. In land invasion terms you may be correct, but as this graphic indicates, our sea lines of communication are a different matter.  Not only the US sea lines, but those of our treaty allies as well. I’m sure you are aware of the German U-boat activity off the US coast in WWII, and what that nearly cost Great Britain.  As recently as November, 2012 Russian submarines were detected operating within about 200 miles of the East Coast.

    Of course, one might say we can mine or manufacture many of the things we import (lithium and titanium are popular examples). But I suggest doing such in the event of import issues on the high seas would make the debate over fracking and other environmental issues look like child's play.

    The argument over the utility of aircraft carriers has been ongoing for several decades. If you want to contribute to the debate, this site is a good opportunity, as it is read by many strategic thinkers in the Navy.  

    •  Thanks for the link (3+ / 0-)

      Link to the blog in your last graph. Some interesting reading there.

      Please proceed, governor

      by Senor Unoball on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 01:44:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If the U boats were a threat to the UK (0+ / 0-)

      Then maybe the UK ought to buy the carriers or at least one.  Why are we paying for all of them?  Maybe they could buy us some healthcare or something.   Or maybe Canada would let us come up and see the doctor since we're defending them as we defend ourselves.  

      We cannot afford to do this alone anymore.  

      •  We have aircraft carriers greenbell (4+ / 0-)

        The Queen Elizabeth (QE) Class Aircraft Carriers will be the biggest warships ever constructed in the UK, each providing our armed forces with a four acre military operating base, which can be deployed anywhere in the world.
        As far as I am aware we already have 3 and these are the new ones.

        Ron Reagan: "Sarah Palin's constituency are people who wear red rubber noses and bells on their shoes."

        by AnnetteK on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 02:03:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, that should (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Senor Unoball, kalmoth

          be three in total.

          Ron Reagan: "Sarah Palin's constituency are people who wear red rubber noses and bells on their shoes."

          by AnnetteK on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 02:09:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ahha! I knew you were good for something (1+ / 0-)
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          This is my point really.  Real allies make real commitments of money and forces to the effort.  If nations can't afford a carrier or whatever then they should send money.   When the British Empire ran out of money to fund its far flung commitments, you had us to fill the gap.  Well, who is going to fill the gap for us as we become over extended?  Time to get more help from others.   And I do know the UK is one of a handful of nations that does make the effort.

        •  I think the UK is "in between" carriers right now, (1+ / 0-)
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          about to retire their last one and waiting for the two new ones to be built.

          Also, the UK currently has no carrier-capable aircraft available after the retirement of the Harrier squadrons in 2010.  They are waiting for the US-built F35 to be their carrier craft, a program behind schedule and far over budget.

          For Libyan operations against Gaddafi, the UK was forced to use land-based aircraft as they had none aboard their single remaining carrier.

          The UK will then have no aircraft carriers for two years until the commissioning of the new super-carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, whose flight decks and hangars were built at Cammell Laird shipyard, in Birkenhead.
          The UK debating the relevance of carriers as well:

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:07:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Britain is building two carriers greenbell (1+ / 0-)
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        Congrats; they heard you.

      •  For the UK, it's not a carrier issue, it's a force (1+ / 0-)
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        structure issue. For example, if Argentina decides to have another go at the Falklands, this president will discover that quickly, and have a decision to make that Reagan didn't have to.

    •  r (1+ / 0-)
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      China's DF-21 missile is the only ballistic anti-carrier missile in the world.  Recently, they tested it and it was able to hit a stationary target.  In another year or so or even right now, it could possibly hit a moving target.  It is armed with a huge thermobaric warhead which is designed to surround the ship in a huge cloud of fuel which explodes.  Anyone standing out in the open is incinerated.  Anything flammable above board gets taken out.  Any areas of the ship which are not hermetically sealed are destroyed from the exploding fuel cloud.  It travels at over 10 times the speed of sound or about 12 miles per second.  It can be launched from a submarine and can fit 12 on the current Jin-class submarine.  It has a range of 1900 miles meaning the submarine can be 300 miles away well out of radar and sonar detection ranges.  The time for the missile to reach the carrier at 300 miles would be a matter of minutes and it would come at the ship from the top not the sides.  

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