Have aircraft carriers become obsolete?

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare' started by A chauhan, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. A chauhan

    A chauhan "अहिंसा परमो धर्मः धर्म हिंसा तथैव च: l" Senior Member

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    Why Aircraft Carriers Sail On
    By Dr. Robert Farley
    September 18, 2012

    Have aircraft carriers become obsolete? Since 1949, analysts have argued that some combination of strategic bombers and cheap anti-shipping weapons have rendered the aircraft carrier a relic. The latest round in the conversation over the continued viability of aircraft carriers was spurred by Robert Haddick’s Foreign Policy column suggesting that improvements in long range strategic airpower and ballistic missile technology could render the carrier irrelevant.

    There’s no single answer as to why the carrier persists, but the experience of the last sixty-five years has helped give us a handle on the persistent utility of the flat deck aviation warship. While individual anti-access platforms are inexpensive, developing an anti-access system of systems requires immense investments of time, treasure, and human capital. The PLA has undoubtedly created a formidable set of weapons to defeat U.S. carriers, but it has done so at the expense of other capabilities. Haddick notes “For the price of a single major warship, China can buy hundreds or even thousands of anti-ship missiles.” Indeed, China (and the USSR before it) has foregone the development of offensive, power projection platforms in no small part because of the need to invest heavily in systems to counter U.S. carriers.

    Moreover, governments find a way to use aircraft carriers that doesn’t involve high intensity combat against peer opponents. However expensive they may be, U.S. carriers have proven infinitely more fungible than the array of missile boats, short range submarines, and advanced missiles that the PLA has deployed to counter them. A U.S. carrier can show the flag outside the Strait of Hormuz, support relief operations in Haiti, or kinetic military operations in Libya, while an armada of DF-21D ASBMs can do little but sit and wait.

    This is why states continue to build (and buy) aircraft carriers even at great trouble and expense. A carrier may never run the risk of an anti-ship missile during its long lifespan, but it will likely contribute to the national interest in some fashion. The prestige offered by a major, modern capital ship may seem an ephemeral goal to spend the national treasury on, but prestige also constitutes influence; the arrival of an aircraft carrier at a regional port of call carries more diplomatic weight than an attack submarine or destroyer (witness the concern over the deployment of Admiral Kuznetsov to the Mediterranean). This is particularly true in a crisis, whether natural or manmade; aircraft carriers have the capacity to influence events ashore that neither strategic bombers nor surface ships possess. We should think of the procurement priorities of China, India, and Japan in these terms.

    Given that future missions will force flexible demands on aircraft carriers, we may continue to see a shift away from expensive super-carriers and towards multi-purpose warships such as the USN’s amphibious assault vessels. The enormous expense of the largest, most capable aircraft carriers will prove a greater danger to their continued relevance than the anti-access systems designed to destroy them. However, this development is likely only to change the priorities of designers, rather than to eliminate the type altogether.
    Why Aircraft Carriers Sail On | Flashpoints

    It's from theDiplomat's blog, Mods please delete if against the rules!
     
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  3. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    No weapons platform ever goes obsolete. Even a bayonet is handy!
     
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  4. A chauhan

    A chauhan "अहिंसा परमो धर्मः धर्म हिंसा तथैव च: l" Senior Member

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    Currently fighter aircrafts have a limited range of 1000-3000 kms without external fuel, and USA is at least 2000-3000 kms away from Europe and even more from Asian countries, so they badly needs ACs, but it wont remain the same in the future when long range fighters will emerge. ACs will be less useful against superpowers but they will be highly effective against non-superpower countries.

    BTW What if Carrier Killers prove to be accurate and deadly ?
     
  5. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    On the contrary. Due to advancements in aircraft technology, Aircraft Carriers have become more relevant than ever.
     
  6. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

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    Aircraft carriers are still relevant especially as a prestige toy. Don't think anyone these days planning to acquire a carrier or two is having combating US carrier task forces on the high seas on mind.

    An-ti carrier missile may be deadly, but it can not do anything else. It can not help you to project power, it can not help you to bully your smaller neighbors, and it is by nature a low-profile weapon. That's why even if PLA's alleged anti-carrier missile indeed becomes every carrier's nightmare, US will still continue to acquire carriers, investing hundreds of billions of dollars in them, because not everyone is gonna have those carrier-killers, certainly not Lybia, not Syria, and for some time to come not Iran either.
     
  7. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    You start now, so 30 years down the line you can think of acquiring many large carriers and build a fleet equivalent to that of the USN.

    Earlier, the only country that could manage to afford a rival Navy to the USN was the Soviets and they managed it on half the USN budget. In the future both India and China should have a GDP that equals the US, maybe more.
     
  8. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

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    During the cold war the soviets had a deadly arsenal of carrier specific weapons, many of them nuklear tipped. Cruise missile submarines such as the Oscar class were the first line, long-range bombers such as Tu22M were the seoncd line, and large surface warships such as the Kirov cruiseres were the third line. All of them carry long range, supersonic anti-carrier missiles. And at any time soviet had submarines, bombers and surface warships shadowing US carrier's every move right from the moment they sailed out of the harboor. Probably if war broke out, all US's 15 or 16 carriers they had then would be sunken within the first hour.

    But this huge risk was not preventing US from investing colossal sum of money in their carrier taks forces simply because they were not designed to fight the soviets who had a very low reliance on sea trade.
     
  9. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

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    Yes, 30 years or more like 50+ years down the line. Right now the Varyag or Liaoning or what ever it is called, is only good to fight the Phillipines.
     
  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Air Cover of a Naval Task Force would be required.

    How will that be achieved?

    What would be the TOT (Time over Target) for land based aircraft for naval Task Force at sea compared to aircraft flying off the deck of carrier?

    See the film 'Bridges at Toko ri'.

     
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  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    and this:

     
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  12. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Mahan articulated a widely neglected subject in the debate on military strategy: sea power’s special significance during times of peace. In his view, the virtue of a mobile maritime force was that it can be deployed and stationed anywhere, nearly at any time, and that its desired effect is primarily indirect and perceptible only over time.

    Diverting the economic and military efforts of other states—often persuading competitors or less powerful neighbors to develop in ways guided by our own strategic interests—is most cheaply and effectively achieved by sea power. Attempting the same broad effect with ground forces is rarely practicable or desirable because it leads to charges of imperialism and possible confrontation and tends to provoke costly (to both sides) resistance. Thus, more than any other military branch, the navy, during times of peace, serves as a preventative force that may reassure friends of support, help us gain friends, and dissuade states without navies from bothering to develop them.

    Mahan’s Naval Strategy: China Learned It. Will America Forget It? | World Affairs Journal
     
  13. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Well! Yeah. It will take a long time, of course.

    Just because the carrier is less relevant to China does not make it less relevant to us. Countries like US, Britain, France, Russia and India overlook entire Oceans while your country does not.

    It depends on your Navy's objectives too and carriers don't seem high on their list of priorities. Even IN has, more or less, concrete plans for 3 carriers and is still not a high priority project like Submarines are.
     
  14. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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    Has FIREPOWER become irrelevant in a war

    Aircraft Carriers are for application of firepower over longer distance

    Anti Ship missiles have range limitations because their targets ie warships are MOVING
    Targets

    Therefore you need Fighter bombers such as F 18; Mig 29 K ; Rafale which can
    bomb the enemy warships
     
  15. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    They certainly aren't obsolete, just cost prohibitive. They are for high intensity conflicts while low intensity can be replaced by the LPH. Just looking at Libya, the USN didn't send one aircraft carrier but many nations sent LPH with Harriers and helicopters that made a mess of Gaddafis forces. Mistral attack helicopters destroyed nearly as many targets as CdG air wing. LPH is much cheaper and better at CAS.
     
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  16. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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    LHD can carry Harriers not LPH

    LHD /LPH will be effective when a Navy has VTOL Planes like F 35

    Therefore F 35 though very expensive will be very useful in future
    It can take off from LHD/ LPH
     
  17. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

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    From a pure military point of view India does not need a carrier, its no.1 actual enermy only has a token navy, its no.1 perceived enermy does not operate in the Indian ocean (PLAN has to pass narrow straits controled by no less than Uncle Sam to get to the India ocean). Now if not counting US, India is already the top dog in the region with or without carriers, but in the hypothetical scenario where India does go to war with US, the entire indian navy will sit at the bottom of the indian ocearn before the day ends.

    A carrier is currently of little use for China too. But as China is very much dependent on trade and will very soon (inner 5-10 years) overtake US as the world's largest economy, China will, out of her own interests as wll as out of her responsibliliy as world's soon-to-be largest economy, operate a blue-water capable navy to ensure safety of the global trade routes. By 2050 China's economy will likely be 3 times as big as US, 5-10 times as bigger as who ever lands in the 3rd spot, thus China will be obliged to have world's largest navy, there is no other choice. US then probably would beg China to take a leading role in int'l security, even if China does not want to.

    I'm not a chinese, and my country is tiny thus my country is unlikely ever to operate a carrier.
     
  18. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    From a military PoV we don't need as many ships as what we currently have. We have an overwhelming capability against PN.

    USN, we don't bother them, they don't bother us. As of today, there is no Navy which can stand up to the USN, even if we combine both PLAN and IN.

    What we need carriers for as of today is only for power projection and of course the ability to bomb enemy ports anywhere along with IOR. Don't forget that this includes any PLAN listening posts and facilities along IOR apart from PN.

    Our carriers are "fleet defence" only on paper. What we have on our carriers are multirole aircraft.
     
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  19. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    LPH can carry Harriers, it wouldn't be much of a VTOL aircraft if it couldn't. The only difference between LPH and an LHD is a well dock. HMS Ocean is LPH while Mistral is an LHD.
     
  20. Defcon 1

    Defcon 1 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Are you sure our navy is better than PN? They have very large fleet comparable to USN.
     
  21. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    PN is Pak Navy. :thumb:

    PLAN is PLA Navy(China).
     

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