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ot aircraft carriers, article in "the economist&qu... - 11/16/2019 11:03:50 AM   


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found this article in the british magazine "The Economist" regarding carriers.

summary: rather critical. with regard to cost and actual effectiveness. Esspecially in a conflict between China and the USA.


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RE: ot aircraft carriers, article in "the economis... - 11/16/2019 12:30:56 PM   


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I think this debate has been going on - in one form or another - since the 1930s, and before that very similar things were said about Battleships. More often than not it's a 'guns or butter' reason.

Healthy to have both sides of the argument debated - eventually nay-sayers were correct about battleships. Perhaps the end of CVs will come but I think the fundamental difference is that a CV is nothing more than a platform - the aircraft are the weapons, and they change with time and technology. With 2/3 of the world covered by water and basing restrictions tied to the vagaries of politics, your aircraft are going to need a very...very long range before the carrier becomes obsolete.

I believe that the more applicable debate in the (?near?) future is manned or unmanned aircraft.



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(in reply to sven6345789)
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RE: ot aircraft carriers, article in "the economis... - 11/16/2019 2:26:38 PM   


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Well I think the main point is that since their height of power in WWII they have become ever more vulnerable. With gun armed warships their real enemies were limited to aircraft and submarines. With proliferation of long range anti ship missiles their vulnerability has increased massively. Even in the Falklands, obviously more than 30 years ago now they proved extremely vulnerable to missile attack and had the argentinians got their act together it would have been much worse.

Gìven that vulnerability it is a lot of eggs to put in one basket.

I agree though that the future is much smaller drone launching platforms 9f completely autonomous or remotely controlled aircraft that cost a fraction of an F35 and dont need expensively trained and vulnerable human beings

(in reply to Gunner98)
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RE: ot aircraft carriers, article in "the economis... - 11/16/2019 10:54:04 PM   


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My view is the time for the carrier is coming near unless we see a massive development in laser-based technologies and electromagnetic weapons (For instance masers, that is at a theoretical stage right now, which might be required since lasers are only fair weather weapons) that is much faster than the development of drones and cruise missiles.

It wouldn't surprise me if the chinese already have the capability to put 100 to 200 very long range antiship cruise missiles relatively simultaneously at a carrier group 750 miles from shore, the carrier found by satelites in geosynchronous orbit over the northern South China Sea. Even that would be enough to overwhelm the defenses of a current CSG unless they start packing a lot of blk II RIM-162 ESSMs with active radar seekers in their Mk41 cells.

Even then, what you're doing when defending is shooting american missiles costing something in the range of 1,25-1,5 million dollars against chinese cruise missiles built by relatively lower-paid, more intelligent people costing perhaps 0,5-1,75 million dollars against a foe that is soon going to have a bigger GDP (And in a couple of decades a much larger GDP) and a larger military budget that is only used to pay for weapons/equipment, training and (lower) wages while the US spends approximately a third of it's military budget on soldier's healthcare and other benefits for soldiers. Adding useless operations that for the most part are not in the US interest and almost half of the US military budget is effectively lost.

Even with more block II ESSMs, it wont be long until some anti-ship cruise missiles carry perhaps five to fifteen small sub-missiles/drones at 50-100 lbs each that are released a couple of miles from a target ship, each with small warheads but excellent maneuverability and targeting capability that will be able to aim for very specific parts of equipment of a ship, for instance the main radars or missile illuminators of an escort ship or for the launcher catapults of an aircraft carrier and that can overwhelm any projected advancements in western defences in bad weather.

Eventually the escort ships in a CSG will run out of missiles and will be easy targets.

The Chinese have set the goal to be world leading in artificial intelligence by 2035 and they are already ahead of the west in some aspects of AI research such as facial recognition (Which is a technology close to imaging EO targeting), and they have a fairly higher mean IQ than the US population - And a higher IQ is correlated with educational achivement and career success, especially when combined with healthy norms - and China has just that - much healthier norms than the west aimed at building citizens with extremely high conscientousness (12 hour work days six days a week are expected of everybody in the chinese tech industry) and an overarching ideal of nationalism, patriotism and collective self preservation rather than the western main ideals of equality, freedom and individual self-expression.
Also, meanwhile the western leader in AI, Alphabet, won't even work with the US military since it is effectively populated by people who hate western civilization.

And the civilization that will win the AI race will forever rule the seas (and the world). So to sum it up, it's primarily the western carrier that is dooomed, if i may guesstimate.

(in reply to DBeves)
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RE: ot aircraft carriers, article in "the economis... - 11/16/2019 11:41:56 PM   


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One way to cost-effectively defend a carrier group might be to screen it with low-cost CIWS vessels, linked to radar/sensor pickets (balloons, drones, whatever) that will detect vampires further out. Defend against a swarm with a swarm. However, the weakness would be that the defences need to be carried/towed and deployed when on-station, as they wouldn't autonomously have the speed of the major vessels.

While China can currently produce low-cost tech, their costs will increase as their GDP does - people want prosperous lives there too. AI linked to behaviour control will just encourage cheating and workarounds - i.e. more corruption, which will itself limit what society can achieve. Free societies have their drawbacks, but tend to be better at creativity and innovation. Not least because they attract those bright sparks from less free societies.

OK, My glass is half full!

(in reply to LargeDiameterBomb)
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RE: ot aircraft carriers, article in "the economis... - 11/16/2019 11:47:40 PM   


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China's biggest limitation continues to be the ability to produce enough missiles and platforms to deliver them. Right now, they just don't have the stocks in advanced missiles to sustain more than a quick strike. Their aircraft engines still require very frequent rebuilds so a significant portion of their fleet is unavailable.

But the biggest anti-carrier issue they have is near real-time intelligence on carriers. You can play this out in CMO. Getting units close enough to get targetable intelligence on a carrier is not easy.

(in reply to guanotwozero)
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