Why the rush to build aircraft carriers.

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare' started by A.V., Feb 16, 2009.

  1. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    All of a sudden, six nations are building aircraft carriers (the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, India and China.) For over half a century, most of the carrier building took place in the United States. Russia built some, without much success, towards the end of the Cold War. Britain and France built a few, and several other nations (like India and Brazil), bought second had British carriers so they could maintain one or two in service.

    But now six nations are planning or building new carriers, most of them a bit smaller (about 60,000 tons) than the larger U.S. ones (100,000 tons). Britain recently delayed construction, for a year or two, of its two new carriers, but is still determined to go ahead. France has a new one in the works, as does India. China has been cagey about its carrier plans, but all indications are that it is definitely headed that way. Russian admirals are speaking openly about building four or more additional carriers (Russia already has one of its last Cold War carriers refurbished and in service.) The current global economic recession is delaying, but not cancelling, some of these carrier building plans.

    Why all this sudden interest in carriers? Partly it's because the United States has consistently demonstrated the usefulness of having a carrier that can quickly show up off a troublesome coast. Moreover, the 2001 operation in Afghanistan was a success partly because carriers were there, using smart bombs, to deliver a decisive amount of firepower. Thus demonstrating that, with the new, more precise weapons, one carrier can have a much more decisive impact than in the past. But partly it's because of the end of the Cold War, and a tremendous growth in world economies. Russia, China and India have larger GDPs, and defense budgets, than they have ever had. Gotta spend it on something, and carriers are a sign that you've joined the Big Boys Club.
     
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  3. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    Mostly it is about force projection. A true blue water navy needs to have an effective air arm and that can come with a carrier only :)
     
  4. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    aircraft carriers

    aircraft carriers do provide a show of force but to me they are also very vulnerable in a way because there are many military assets in one place, a missile like Brahmos could neutralize one very fast, but as far as being a blue water navy they are essential.
     
  5. screwterrorists

    screwterrorists Founding Member

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    well its not so easy as that. they aren't that vulnerable.
    ideally I believe there are three levels of carrier battle group protection.
    india doesn't have that at the present. but i believe work has begun.
    Ex: Barak for the navy, Mig 29K

    also, CBG moves rather swiftly. accompanied by a dangerous squad, the ac can detect what the enemy has to offer miles around.
     
  6. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    but remember they are a big target, even USS Cole was attacked while stationed
     
  7. screwterrorists

    screwterrorists Founding Member

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    well big target yeah but relative to the size of the ocean...
    i mean i see what you are saying.
    plus all the things i mentioned were just for defense of the carrier itself. it has enormous potential in not only offensive role but also near coastal defense.
    im sure these dont require explanation.


    also...while stationed and while in the waters is quite different. [if i interpret stationed as docked?]

    :)
     
  8. Sridhar

    Sridhar House keeper Moderator

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    Any body can clarify , Brahmos needs a Aerial platform for beyond horizon target illumination.

    So if we take out the aerial platform it may become useless ?

    At present only sub launched Brahmos is a lethal platform.
     
  9. Payeng

    Payeng Daku Mongol Singh

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    Aircraft Carriers are Capital ships, it shows the military mights of a Nation, a true blue water navy with far reaching capabilities helps a Nation to influence its international policies since it can reach far beyond the boundaries of a nation and so helps in power projection of a nation, (somewhere I have heard) since "diplomacy without the credible threat of military force is nothing but a prayer".

    After the cold war with improving relations amongst various countries and economic attachments(dependence/sustainability) and the complexities with stationing/operating forces in a foreign Nation, the nations are following the American way of projecting power for economic opportunities and political influence.

    CVG of the modern Navies are more a diplomatic tool the a mere military weapon in the modern era. However its lethality and capability aspect cannot be underestimated.
     
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  10. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

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    I'll second what Payeng said here...

    They're amongst the hugest ships around and they exhibit the might and industrial capability of a nation. They are generally used to advertise that the nation has "arrived" in the international stage.

    Though a nation may buy carriers from other countries (mostly second hand), the act of building a carrier supposedly signifies that the shipyards and industrial capability of a country are throbbing and they now want to show themselves to the world and play a major role in the world stage.

    As far as India is concerned, we need to start playing police in the Indian Ocean because the Chinese are already vying to get their hands on the ocean with the Gwadar port in Pakistan and other strategic alliances. Hence, the Indian Navy needs to pull up its socks.

    Also, I read somewhere that Indonesia has invited us to help them patrol the Straits of Malacca. Although, stationing an Aircraft Carrier there might be a bit of an own goal (seen as threatening), the stationing of other ships there such as destroyers and frigates on a permanent basis cannot be ruled out. Plus, they are very accessible from the Andaman Islands.

    And, we also need to play police around Madagascar and the nearby islands including Lakshadweep.

    So, according to me, India needs about 4 to 6 Aircraft carriers to project power in the whole Indian Ocean Region and the importance of this cannot be overestimated given the Chinese ambitions of an Aircraft Carrier and also other nations which might want to emulate us.

    So, in conclusion, standing still in one place is like losing. We cannot overestimate the importance of these carriers as far as India is concerned.
     
  11. Atul

    Atul Founding Member

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    Carrier Battle Groups

    * A Aircraft Carrier is normally powered by a nuclear reactors (in case of Virat i believe it is diesel engines or turbines.)
    * They house a Few Thousand crew members and 20+ aircrafts.
    * They are worth a substantial investment ( billion dollars ).

    In other words, an aircraft carrier is extremely valuable. And without protection, an aircraft carrier is extremely vulnerable. That's why aircraft carriers never leave home alone. They are always escorted by an extensive flotilla of other ships. The aircraft carrier plus the flotilla is known as the carrier battle group. A modern carrier battle group is nearly invincible.

    They are very obvious targets for enemy forces. Aircraft carriers are also huge and impossible to hide. They are vulnerable from several different angles:

    * The enemy can attack from the sea with boats equipped with long-range cannons and cruise missiles.
    * The enemy can attack from underwater with submarines, mines and torpedoes.
    * The enemy can attack from the air with airplanes, bombs and missiles.

    The carrier battle group is responsible, therefore, for protecting the aircraft carrier at the center of the group.

    The Carrier Battle Group
    The U.S. Navy forms carrier battle groups on an as-needed basis and assigns ships to the group based on the mission. Therefore, no two carrier battle groups are the same. However, a typical carrier battle group consists of the following ships:

    * The aircraft carrier itself
    * Two guided-missile cruisers ( These are offensive ships loaded with cruise missiles to strike land targets )
    * Two destroyers (Destroyers traditionally are defensive ships. They can defend against attacks by submarines and aircraft & equipped with the ability to launch cruise missiles. )
    * One frigate (The frigate is used for anti-submarine defense.)
    * Two submarines ( The submarines are defensive ships that can attack enemy ships and submarines.)
    * A supply ship ( The supply ship carries fuel, food and ammunition for the group.)

    There may be other ships that travel with the group. For example, there may be troop ships, amphibious ships for the marines, cargo ships carrying tanks and other equipment, mine sweepers, etc. It all depends on the mission. :vehicle_plane:
     
  12. Atul

    Atul Founding Member

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    Taking into consideration my above post, are WE equipped to handle & power project the INS Vikramaditya, that is expected to join the IN in 2012?:vehicle_plane:
     
  13. Atul

    Atul Founding Member

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  14. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

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    I know and saw this earlier... Please, don't humiliate me... I saw this and refused to believe my eyes... then, I checked out the dimensions on Wikipedia and it seemed true...

    We're building SMALL carriers...

    But, I hope we have plans for mega-carriers in the future... especially ones that are over 1 lakh tonnes...
     
  15. Atul

    Atul Founding Member

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  16. Atul

    Atul Founding Member

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  17. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Destroyers are used as an offensive platform. Cruisers are now out. Only the US is still operating some and also France. But modern destroyers have have taken over the role of the cruisers.
    ASW ops are taken care by frigates.
     
  18. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Carriers are the ultimate power projector for any nation beyond its boundary. Air power quickly neutralizes targets and that sets the stage for ground forces to move in. But its a mighty expensive affair and so not all can afford one. Even India will not be able to afford a super carrier, so it goes for a smaller size carrier that too with STOBAR config as CATOBAR is again a very expensive system and also costs a lot to maintain. All the talks of India going to acquire the USS Kitty Hawk were nothing but crap.

    As far as security is concerned, the AC is the most secure of the battle group as its heavily defended by its own aircrafts and also the other ships in the battle group including subs.

    However to maintain a strong battle group requires good ASW system which India is probably deficient at. One of the reasons why it has signed up for P-8. Apart from that India is also looking to develop a good nuclear powered submarine force so that its carriers have unlimited range.

    If you look at the developments in China, they have put into place all other ships required for a carrier group, learnt how to stalk as with the case of a Chinese sub showing up near a US battle group. It has got its nuclear powered submarines both in SSN and SSBN config which will challenge other naval powers. India has to get that capability to be a true blue water navy.
     
  19. Sailor

    Sailor Regular Member

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    Inv quote: Why all this sudden interest in carriers? Partly it's because the United States has consistently demonstrated the usefulness of having a carrier that can quickly show up off a troublesome coast.

    No other nation will 'need to show up off a troublesome coast' unless they take over the role as world policeman. That'll be the day! Won't happen.
    If another country's carrier shows up with the USN already there taking care of a 'situation' they had better come to fight, because the US won't let some other political viewpoint make itself known in any situation.
     
  20. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    ACs act as symbol of power project and its has advantage of having huge soverign territory in oceans, which can be put to various use, including that of putting fear or for rescue and relief operations.

    AC is huge mouthwatering target for any enemy therefore same carry entire fleet to protect AC, this means additional ships to protect the white elephant.

    AC houses fighters and other aircrafts and helis therefore they give tremendous advantage at the time of conflict.
     
  21. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    why are both INS Vikramaditya & INS Virat both having only 12 Aircrafts even with such a differences in size?
     

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