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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Better retired than sunk

We may already be witnessing the US Navy's retreat from its 65-year history of naval supremacy on the high seas:
Amidst rising anxiety over whether the US Navy’s thousand-foot-long flagships could evade Chinese missiles in a future war, the Pentagon has decided to cut the aircraft carrier fleet from 11 today to 10. By retiring the Nimitz-class supercarrier USS Truman at least two decades early, rather than refueling its nuclear reactor core in 2024 as planned, the military would save tens of billions on overhaul and operations costs that it could invest in other priorities. But the proposal, part of the 2020-2024 budget plan due out mid-March, is sure to inspire outrage on Capitol Hill.
Sure, it's possible that these are just the usual military budget games, but I suspect that the Navy's long-terms strategists are beginning to come to terms with the fact that the aircraft carrier is simply becoming too vulnerable to be worth the concentration of resources that it represents.

The age of the battleship came to an end with World War II. The age of the carrier will officially come to an end with the next conflict between the United States and a major regional sea power.

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81 Comments:

Blogger Clay February 28, 2019 8:03 AM  

yes

Blogger peacefulposter February 28, 2019 8:04 AM  

Trading a battleship for a Wall would be a good deal.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan February 28, 2019 8:21 AM  

Home ported in Norfolk, VA, I presume this puts pressure on some D party snakes, then again probably all the navy is ported in blue states. "Twilight's Last Gleaming" by Greer is a decent fiction read on what lies ahead for the carrier fleet and the empire in decline.

The article is informative as Vox notes, so it must have been written by someone other than Naval Air or Surface fleet connections.

Give credit to the Navy since I have not heard of a nuke plant fail or a carrier plane smashing into the deck by any of the diversity, not so much for the destroyer fleet.

Blogger John Best. February 28, 2019 8:27 AM  

Carriers become obsolete just when Britain finally has two super carriers. The carriers, aircraft and escorts aren't worth it. When you have carriers, aircraft, destroyers, frigates, submarines, replenishment ships, it means you don't have the resources for anything else. The over reliance on air power to win wars on land and sea is a problem.

Anonymous Anonymous February 28, 2019 8:29 AM  

How will the US project power and maintain it's alliances with countries like Australia post-carrier?

Does American nationalism entail total withdrawal of the American military presence for allies like Australia?

Blogger Balkan Yankee February 28, 2019 8:36 AM  

In the coming age of hypersonic weapons, if it floats, it's done.

Blogger Lushtree February 28, 2019 8:38 AM  

Australia should either protect itself or pay us for the trouble. Countries should not be given defense welfare just so they can use the money they would have spent on defense to fund socialist programs they then morally preen about and insult the US for not having.

Blogger Johnny February 28, 2019 8:40 AM  

Maybe part of it is the jet airplane going obsolete. These airplanes are so extremely expensive that major resources could be put into shooting even one of them down. I have have been suspicious that the major powers don't put big money into antiaircraft stuff because the jet is an instrument of imperial power. And, you know, once the technology is developed everybody would have it in time.

We are practically terminating our own air force with the F35. A high tech jack of all trades but master of none and way over the top costly.

Blogger urthshu February 28, 2019 8:41 AM  

I can envision a future with smaller, faster craft surrounded by a cloud of linked drones. Perhaps beneath the surface.

As for Australia, I believe they've been given over to China by the British.

Blogger Clay February 28, 2019 8:43 AM  

I have never believed that an American Aircraft carrier couldn't be sunk by the Koreans, Russians, Chinese, Iranians, Etc. I remember when a Chinese sub popped up in the middle of a carrier group and scared the crap out of them.

Thing is...you can sink a Destroyer...or whatever.

You sink a Carrier...It't won't be pretty. I'm not positive on this, but, I think a Carrier is considered a part of Sovereign US Territory. They can do 50 Knots per hour. (so they admit), That's 6-700 miles per day. They don't stop for piss breaks, or to grab a burger.

Blogger Johnny February 28, 2019 8:44 AM  

Losing the empire we never had.

It seems like our internal politics does not allow for a sound foreign policy. The empires in the past that have endured have usually had a degree of democracy, but a core elitist leadership. The Roman Senate was always an insiders club, and the Brits had their queen and moneyed interests.

Blogger Nate February 28, 2019 8:47 AM  

The fall of the carrier does not necessarily equate to the fall of the US navy. China is going broke too.

Blogger urthshu February 28, 2019 8:47 AM  

Russians used to break us up from formation back in the 80s with their spy boats. They'd cruise between linked replenishing ships and take pictures of us tearing everything down before people got killed.

Blogger sykes.1 February 28, 2019 8:54 AM  

What the US Navy does about the Ford will be more telling. It needs a new catapult system. Since there is no clear path to redesigning the EMALS, the new system might well be a steam catapult.

Refueling a Nimitz is a two year multibillion dollar operation. You actually have to cut a hole through several decks to get to the reactor. Then you have to rebuild that portion of the ship.

Blogger Meanoldbasterd February 28, 2019 8:54 AM  

I saw pictures of the proposed "next gen" destroyers when I was on active duty in 2000-2005, and they were smaller, sleeker, had fewer crew and were more stealthy with one main gun that could fire multiple types of munitions and had a suite of missiles and torpedoes.... So.... If those were a thing 15 years ago, why would you want to CONCENTRATE firepower on ONE platform when the next gen ships ARE SUPPOSED to do more with less?
Doesn't sun tzu have something to say about the division of force and movement over heavy armor?

Blogger Haxo Angmark February 28, 2019 8:57 AM  

"...other priorities." That is,

more SJW outreach. Incidentally,

the USA lost 4 heavy carriers during the 1st 8 months in the last war against a "major regional seapower" (Japan), and a number of smaller ones later in that war. But built more carriers and eventually won the war. Also, as someone on a prior thread pointed out, the 'Murkan carriers are now used mainly to intimidate and attack lesser powers...",

and there's still plenty of those around. In fact there's a carrier heading toward Venezuela right now.

@#3: "...have not heard of a carrier plane smashing into the deck by any of the diversity."

technically true, but don't forget Clinton-era diversity hire Lt. Kara Hultgreen who killed herself by nearly doing so. Close call, that: she tried to abort a botched landing approach, stalled, flipped, then ejected straight down into the water. The other 3 diversity hire chick "pilots", who also endangered the carrier every time they landed, were then washed out and none since.

Blogger FUBARwest February 28, 2019 9:06 AM  

What happens to the global economy once America can no longer uphold the petrodollar with its navy?

Blogger Northpal February 28, 2019 9:06 AM  

Hmmmm.......The ongoing “hypersonic hype”, I guess we need to keep pouring in hundreds of billions of dollars to maintain a military “edge” against all these new fangled "game changing" technologies. Well then why build a wall??? Why change immigration??
The strategy of flooding schools with Chinese, Indian and other foreign stem 'geniuses' advancing and maintaining "adversaries" while at the same time B1 visa parachuting the same in to America to keep competitive.
I smell PROFIT! in all the hype.

Blogger Clay February 28, 2019 9:09 AM  

BTW way, Hiya Nate. Nice to see you. Hope you and yours are doing great.

As far as the fall of the carriers might be...I have learned one thing about the US Military.

When they show you what they have...they have something better.

Blogger John Best. February 28, 2019 9:10 AM  

@5 The Australians can ally with Japan, India or China, they don't actually need the Americans or British. The problem the Australians have is their population is tiny, becoming increasingly multi-racial. So they can't build a navy, they can't crew the navy. So they become over reliant on submarines. They would be better off with 4th generation naval warfare.

Blogger Servant of the Chief February 28, 2019 9:11 AM  

I don't think carriers are forever irrelevant nowadays, but they're going to be increasingly situational. No one is going to deploy one to a theatre unless they already have naval supremacy and they can used as siege instruments on the enemy country or support for a ground invasion. Gone are the days of Midway where they win battles.

Blogger John Best. February 28, 2019 9:13 AM  

@17 nations go out and get their own oil and gas, then protect them with their navies and space assets. For Britain Angola wouldn't be a bad choice.

Blogger tacman February 28, 2019 9:16 AM  

This is pretty crazy, I spent 4 and a half years on that ship. It's not even one of the oldest Nimitz class carriers, it surprises me that they chose that one to get rid of.

@# 3 and #15, accidents on carriers certainly do happen, I just doubt they get reported. I was a nuclear guy, and I had some dealings with the air crew and those guys were basically retarded. We used to refer to them as "skittles" due to the variety of colored shirts they wore and their relative worth. We had 3 pilots lose their lives during a night landing exercise due to an instrumentation maintenance screw up. Another girl had half her body crushed by a pallet of poorly secured bombs on a forklift. The Eisenhower had a flagman on the flight deck get his head taken off by a launching plane due to comms screw-ups. I just don't think these things get widely reported in the civilian media.

Blogger Harambe February 28, 2019 9:32 AM  

With America having so many military bases scattered throughout the world, what even is the point of what is in effect a floating airbase?

Blogger Mr.MantraMan February 28, 2019 9:34 AM  

Yeah Tacman you are right, one of the show ponies in the AF got assigned to lead some F-16 demo team, lasted two weeks then removed and taken off flight status with a thank you for your service we love you note and that was that. I just imagined that the Navy somehow would get stuck with some show ponies who were not allowed to take off and land except in perfect glass smooth weather.

Blogger Servant of the Chief February 28, 2019 9:40 AM  

Those are some gruesome accidents.

Blogger Johnny February 28, 2019 9:41 AM  

>>With America having so many military bases scattered throughout the world, what even is the point of what is in effect a floating airbase?

Lacking control of the oceans by us or a friendly power, all those bases all over the world would be unsustainable. No supplies coming in.

Something that is easily overlooked is that imperial powers tend to be sea based or land based, depending on their geography. If we were satisfied with North American we would not need a navy.

Blogger Chris Mallory February 28, 2019 9:42 AM  

Clay wrote:I'm not positive on this, but, I think a Carrier is considered a part of Sovereign US Territory.

That is nothing but a propaganda factoid used to justify spending on carriers.
All flagged military vessels are considered sovereign vessels of the flagging nation. Doesn't matter if it is a tug boat or a carrier. But it sounds better to say "a carrier is 4.5 acres of sovereign US territory." It keeps the conservatards pouring money into the programs.

Blogger Stilicho February 28, 2019 9:59 AM  

Freedom of the seas will increasingly come to rely upon a detente based on ability to deny the seas to an opponent. The nuclear attack sub and stealthy Destroyers will dominate the struggle. The US strategy will shift to the ability to 1) deny the seas to anyone and 2) defeat/limit an enemy's ability to deny the seas to the US.

Blogger Hammerli 280 February 28, 2019 9:59 AM  

Sorry, Vox, but the carrier is still the trump card.

This is the sort of trial balloon that gets floated to raise more money. Not refueling a CVN at midlife is a tremendous waste of resources.

As for the PLAN's anti-access capabilities, I consider them overrated. Yes, they are going to try...just like the Soviets in the 1980s. And we had some very nasty tricks to defeat that, some of which are only now being openly discussed. But the ocean is a big place.

What a carrier brings to the fight is versatility. An air wing can concentrate to fight a fleet action, disperse to exercise control of a vast amount of ocean. You can set up antiair defenses in depth.

I think part of this is resistance to a rebalancing of the Fleet to a structure better suited to the Pacific. For the last 25 years, everything has been focused on CENTCOM and the Persian Gulf...which is not a large body of water. It's ideal waters for DDGs with Tomahawks, not the best for a carrier battle group. But the Pacific? It's a big ocean, and airpower provides the range, scouting, and counter-scouting capabilities to dominate it.

Not to mention that if we're smart, we don't fight the Chinese in the South China Sea. Those waters are shallow, made to order for mine warfare. Smarter to set up interdiction at the western approaches to the Straits of Malacca.

Blogger Johnny February 28, 2019 10:00 AM  

The way military procurements work is that there is a bias toward more expensive hardware. The contractors want it because it is always cost plus equals their profits. And the individual military units like high cost stuff because it is a status builder. The more expensive the hardware the more important your branch is.

The way it works with fighter planes is that each new generation has more features, costs more, and is bigger and heavier. As it also becomes a more valuable target the other side can put more into taking it down, negating the value of the super duper features.

They are doing the same thing with the WWII jeep. It became the much bigger Humvee and the Humvee is becoming an armored troop carrier. And as there are already armored troop carriers, or light duty fighting vehicles, available in great variety and abundance in the world, why grow the Humvee into one of those?

And then there is the display value. A case can be made that military hardware can be divided into two categories, the stuff that is for display and the stuff that is for use. Seal teams are for use as are anti aircraft missiles. The airplanes and the ships? Well there is surely a display value.

Blogger cheddarman February 28, 2019 10:19 AM  

It does not cost much $$$ to sink a carrier

Blogger Ken Prescott February 28, 2019 10:23 AM  

"MUH HYPERSONICS! MUH ANTISHIP BALLISTIC MISSILES!"

The two tells that show one knows about as much about naval warfare as those bilious bastards at the Saturday Evening Post knew about fornicating back in Patton's day...

Blogger Francis Parker Yockey February 28, 2019 10:29 AM  

...the aircraft carrier is simply becoming too vulnerable to be worth the concentration of resources that it represents.

This vulnerability is exacerbated by the range issue. From the link:

...Hendrix noted, the carrier will rely on relatively short-ranged fighters like the F/A-18E Super Hornet and the stealthy F-35C Joint Strike Fighter for its offensive firepower.

See also:

Retreat from Range

UCLASS drone

Now planned as unmanned tanker

Blogger One Deplorable DT February 28, 2019 10:33 AM  

@6 - In the coming age of hypersonic weapons, if it floats, it's done.

I don't buy that for a second. If we can intercept ICBMs on reentry at 15,000 mph then we can defend a much smaller space against slower hypersonic anti-ship missiles.

Of course intercept is a probability and you never have a 100% guarantee of stopping every inbound missile. But the enemy does not have a 100% guarantee of getting enough missiles through to destroy a carrier either. (And yes, absent a nuclear warhead it takes more than one. If you get one through with a nuke then nukes are on the table and that's a foolish decision against an enemy with thousands of them.)

The survivability and utility of a carrier in a major conflict may be changing, but I don't believe for a moment that it has dropped to zero.

SIDE NOTE: I'm not necessarily against reducing the number of carriers we have IF we are going to stop trying to be the world's empire and simply defend our borders.

@8 - We are practically terminating our own air force with the F35. A high tech jack of all trades but master of none and way over the top costly.

I'm not so sure of that now that it's maturing and the bugs are being worked out. You can't ignore its performance in Red Flag exercises.

@28 - That is nothing but a propaganda factoid used to justify spending on carriers.

Yes and no. Clay still has a point. If you're not Russia then sinking a U.S. carrier is practically begging to have one of your military bases glassed. Even in Russia's case sinking a carrier would be a significant move towards a nuclear conflict.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan February 28, 2019 10:33 AM  

The War Dogs have shown up to bless us with their knowledge of "hardware" which if you go to a milblog it's fapping to hardware pretty much everyday.

Blogger L February 28, 2019 10:34 AM  

Further carrier reductions are coming unless big changes are made.

Here's an article on this from a blog I follow -->> https://navy-matters.blogspot.com/2015/01/carrier-shortage.html

Blogger Tars Tarkas February 28, 2019 10:59 AM  

The build up of the US military before and during WW2 is truly astonishing. In 1938 we basically had no air force and by 1944 we had over 65 thousand planes and all of the personnel to use and maintain them. We built 36 carriers and over 1200 fighting ships during the war. Our manufacturing economy was what allowed us to that.

I wonder to what degree the US military relies on Chinese and other Asian imports. If we actually went to war against China, would we have spare parts for equipment? Would we have the equipment to do maintenance?
Of course, this assumes someone would be lending us the money to prosecute this war.

Blogger Athelstane February 28, 2019 10:59 AM  

What's limiting the power of our carriers now is not so much the Chinese SSM threat, but the shortlegs of the Super Hornets and missiles. The advent of the F35C is not going to fix that.

In the meantime, what the USNavy needs is more submarines. And, yes, fewer imperial ventures abroad.

Blogger Francis Parker Yockey February 28, 2019 11:00 AM  

@37
Hard to argue with his logic.
Carrier life/ build interval = number of carriers.

This was also a good point:

The Ford is significantly larger than the Nimitz despite the fact that the air wing will be half the size of the Nimitz’s original wing. The air wings are getting smaller but the carriers are getting bigger. Anyone see a disconnect there? We’ve noted that a carrier the size of an old Midway could operate a modern air wing and yet we’re supersizing our carriers.

Fewer planes with shorter range [see @34 ] on bigger carriers doesn't seem like a good trend...

Blogger A rebel without a General February 28, 2019 11:00 AM  

They updated the article they retiring the Truman early for 2 more carriers.

Blogger Johnny February 28, 2019 11:04 AM  

We are like the British during their empire period. We so dominate the waves that our navy is never given a serious challenge. Nice because it keeps the body count down. But also we really don't know how durable our navy would be against a serious adversary because it never get tested. So really, everybody is guessing about that.

Blogger Unknownsailor February 28, 2019 11:17 AM  

I see this as an attempt to finagle more money out of congress.

The Navy would be monumentally stupid to do this, they don't have enough carrier hulls to maintain OPTEMPO as it is, and they want to go down yet another hull?

John C Stennis (CVN-74) is next up for refueling, after the George Washington is done, and Truman is after that, if the schedule holds. Refueling takes 3-4 years, and lots of maintenance and upgrades are done at the same time.

--Unknownsailor--

Blogger Balkan Yankee February 28, 2019 11:25 AM  

@35: Good points. However, the enemy does not need to sink the carrier. It only needs to make flight ops untenable.

Blogger Hammerli 280 February 28, 2019 11:34 AM  

@43: That's my read, too.

WRT the air wing, I'll be the first to advocate replacement of the Super Hornet with something longer legged. And with better performance. We tend to lose track of the fact that E/F is a early 1990s design. The REALLY smart move would be to separate the radar/sensor development effort from the airframe, and get the radar program started ASAP. What we've seen across every major program of the last 20 years is that software dominates the schedule. And the sensor suite will take far more work to get running right than the airframe and engine...which means we can give the research teams a bit more time to work on the basic technology for those.

Blogger Unknownsailor February 28, 2019 11:43 AM  

And then there is this:

https://www.propublica.org/article/navy-accident-changes-fitzgerald-mccain-davidson

Senior leadership remains just as out of touch as they always have been, even after killing 17 sailors through avoidable mishaps. I don't think anything will get through to those perfume princes other than loosing a dozen ships to China.

--Unknownsailor--

Blogger Unknownsailor February 28, 2019 11:49 AM  

@45

I'd settle for something with a bit less ACM performance if we get something with 500 mn legs to it. The A-6 wasn't a slouch in maneuverability, but it was a bomb truck without peer for carrier aviation.

As for air wing size, the usual these days is ~70, with 57 of those being fixed wing, the other dozen helos. Seven squadrons. There are 8 ready rooms on Nimitz class carriers, so it would not be a difficult thing to pack on another Hornet squadron, if such a squadron existed, which they do not. That extra ready room used to be occupied by S-3 squadrons, but the Navy got rid of those in 2009.

--Unknownsailor--

Blogger John Best. February 28, 2019 12:04 PM  

@42 exactly the British were building battleships and battle cruisers, at vast expense, rather than concentrating on training, cheap and simple designs. They believed like the Americans that technology would win them the war. Difference is the British actually defeated Germany on a strategic level, the Americans will be forced out of the Chinese seas. Navies of intimidation are very dangerous because they fail once you get into a real fight.

Blogger Silent Draco February 28, 2019 12:14 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger justaguy February 28, 2019 12:25 PM  

The long-term problem with the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex was that one didn't get ahead by cutting, only by promising more than you could deliver. I find it refreshing that the Navy is openly trying to cut so they have sufficient funds for the rest. The Navy did this before when it eliminated several weapons systems such as the Harpoon- losing capability but gaining $ to put elsewhere.

Sea control will always be a mission for the Navy and not one that it has had to exercise since WWII. Projecting power-- i.e. bombing third world countries, no longer takes a CVN so we can still toss missiles at "the bad people" of the week from other ships.

I hope the Navy leadership uts the extra $ to good use-- but probably not. It too often goes into more waste. It kinda sucks to be on a ship and not have the $ to buy the parts to keep things running but that is what happens all the time..

Blogger Silent Draco February 28, 2019 12:31 PM  

Hammerli and Unknown sailor hit it on the head. Start with a robust airframe and gear than can stand up to cats and traps. Add back the 500 mi range. Harpoon the concept people and have them make a choice on the mission for anything new, and stick to it: air combat/intercept, attack, or ASW. Multi mission has meant overweight, over price, and under perform. Also: not enough to replace training and mission losses. I dealt with a few too many of those concepts on the Army side of the coin. ASM, FCS ... gaah.

Blogger Lance E February 28, 2019 12:34 PM  

"Conspiracy theory": It's not about military strategy or cost-cutting, it's the fact that the USA can't actually produce the required fuel at the required quantities anymore, so they have to ration out whatever they have left.

Nuclear technology requires high intelligence not just to build, but even to maintain. Ever since we stopped producing tritium in 1988, every subsequent attempt to restart production has failed. As America shreds its human capital, it's overall technology level is going to appear to decline. Eventually there won't be any more nuclear-powered ships. Count on it.

But hey, at least we'll have tons of solar batteries, and a few of those could totally run an aircraft carrier. Maybe stick some windmills on the upper deck as well. It's time for a green navy!

Blogger JohnofAustria February 28, 2019 12:38 PM  

Right, and for a smaller power the potential trade off from investing in hypersonic and drone tech makes way more sense.

Blogger JohnofAustria February 28, 2019 12:49 PM  

The EMALS thing is interesting to me. Some say it's just the growing pains, but I see a technology that's never seen wartime use or even fielding in a work environment and wonder if we are committed to something that will never become field ready.

Blogger Don't Call Me Len February 28, 2019 12:50 PM  

@52 - Retards supporting the "Green New Deal" have been seriously suggesting commercial fishing and cargo ships can just "operate how they did before the internal combustion engine", so why can't the Navy just put sails on their ships?!

Blogger weka February 28, 2019 12:56 PM  

Auztralia has subs and destoyers (called frigates)

Blogger Athelstane February 28, 2019 1:00 PM  

@42 : "We are like the British during their empire period. We so dominate the waves that our navy is never given a serious challenge."

This really is an apt analogy in so many ways. For a hundred years after Napoleon's fall, the Royal Navy never had to face a real peer naval threat. What it had instead were innumerable brush fire littoral wars, all fairly easy to win. The result was that the extraordinary professional edge which 20 years of total war had sharpened became blunted, and the RN officer ranks once again became mostly the preserve of well-heeled gentry. yes, it successfully made the transition to steel and steam in 1840-70, but reluctantly, and only because no real rival made the effort to make the transition more successfully.

That is: until the rise of the United States, Germany and Japan to world class naval powers after 1900. The Victorian Royal Navy, with its mostly inbred officer corps and motley array of mostly obsolescent ships, was in no shape to fight a war with Germany or the U.S. at any rate, and it was only Jackie Fisher's whirlwind of reforms in 1904-10 (and a shrewd alliance with the third power, Japan, in 19040) that gave the RN the chance to fight a battle like Jutland on even terms with a peer navy.

But the United States is not going to get that century of naval power vacuum that Britain did; and unfortunately, there does not seem to be a Jackie Fisher on the horizon. And even if there were, could such a man overcome the vast array of political and bureaucratic interests, to say nothing of cultural decay, to actually push through such a reform - especially in the short 2 year term that CNOs serve now?

Blogger Balkan Yankee February 28, 2019 1:00 PM  

Absent "continental allies," Britain could not have prevailed over aggressive continental powers determined to dominate Europe--despite the Royal Navy's domination of the maritime realm. (During the 20th century, Germany became too strong for this traditional approach to work, and forces from the New World had to rescue the situation.)

The United States faces a similar problem, but with respect to the entire Eurasian land mass. And at a time when China - a traditional land power - is developing serious blue water capability and Russia is rebuilding its land power back to respectable levels.

Of course, China has to export to eat and import to keep the lights on. The United States does not.

As for Russia, its economy depends primarily on natural resource extraction and energy exports. The United States does not.

Blogger Unranked Chevron February 28, 2019 1:35 PM  

The Truman's typically an East Coast carrier, though. It's often considered the best Atlantic carrier. Not sure how retiring it would help against China.

Blogger JimR February 28, 2019 3:14 PM  

"But the United States is not going to get that century of naval power vacuum that Britain did"

We are currently in year 74 of that century you claim we won't get.

Blogger Hammerli 280 February 28, 2019 3:53 PM  

@60: Yes, but like the Royal Navy, superiority takes work.

The argument that the USN needs Fisher-like leadership is, in my view, correct. We HAD that sort of leadership in the 1980s, but it's been so long since we had a really good SECNAV that only old-timers like me remember one.

And yes, I'd dearly love to have the job. Headaches and all.

Blogger Brett baker February 28, 2019 5:44 PM  

Everyone talks about hypersonic weapons(we had them, it was called the Pershing 2) sinking our carriers, but then act like the Chicoms won't take out our satellites and jam our communication and GPS signals for the drones.

Blogger Clay February 28, 2019 6:49 PM  

Don't you maybe think we haven't considered these possibilities?

As I've always said:

When we tell you what we have...look out for the shit we didn't tell you about.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd February 28, 2019 6:53 PM  

Who needs hypersonic whatsits when random cargo ships can take out the destroyer fleet? The Chinese will have to act fast if they want to sink a US warship, or the diverse crew will beat them to it.

Blogger Clay February 28, 2019 9:07 PM  

I wonder how often a "random cargo ship" will get close enough to the screen Carriers have to protect them?

I agree.

Blogger Cluebat February 28, 2019 9:21 PM  

Carriers are deadlier than ever. We will continue to rely on them to project power in neighborhoods where we do not have friendly airfields. F-35s will soon launch with UCAVs. We will have AI enhanced Hi-Rez sensors in a LEO constellation. The battle group will include hyper-velocity guided projectiles fired from existing weaponry for point defense against any extraordinary threat. These rounds will be capable of carrying low yield nukes. We don't need so many carriers. We just need to keep them properly outfitted and maintained. We are not nearly as weak as we pretend to be.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd February 28, 2019 9:40 PM  

Cluebat Vanexodar wrote: We are not nearly as weak as we pretend to be.

Our pretense of weakness has been remarkably realistic.

Blogger Cluebat February 28, 2019 9:49 PM  

Ominous Cowherd wrote:Cluebat Vanexodar wrote: We are not nearly as weak as we pretend to be.

Our pretense of weakness has been remarkably realistic.


Admittedly there is also a great deal of failure, and this must be addressed. I entered the Navy in '81, and there was a big problem with professionalism and moral at the time. They shaped up.

Defense has been ignores for a long time and it will require leadership to fix it before we take serious losses. We are not prepared for war at the moment. Hopefully it will not take another Pearl Harbor to straighten this out.

Blogger Clay March 01, 2019 1:02 AM  

You know, people don't realize this, and they certainly won't teach it in schools today:

Park the Truman somewhere off the Venezuelan coast, and use it as a carrier plane education tool!

I'm sure some happy island would oblige.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venezuelan_crisis_of_1902%E2%80%931903

Blogger Sargent.matrim March 01, 2019 1:46 AM  

This is why our Australian government sucks up to China so much, they know who their overlords will be once the US can no longer project into the south pacific.

They are getting ready to fawn over China as we speak. Rather we should be investing in military defences like there is no tomorrow. But that is hard to do when 60% of your population is on some form of welfare and that sucks all the money away.

Blogger Fergus March 01, 2019 3:49 AM  

Gee I remember when the self appointed "experts" told us manned bombers were obsolete in the 60s, tanks were obsolete in the 70s, and the same experts are telling us carriers are obsolete today, as more countries build them than ever have before.

Just who are these experts?

Blogger OneWingedShark March 01, 2019 8:53 AM  

Fergus wrote:Just who are these experts?
People who want to see the US w/o a good set of equipment.
And might I remind you: "experts" are the ones pushing the F-35 and LCS.

Blogger Unknownsailor March 01, 2019 11:39 AM  

"And might I remind you: "experts" are the ones pushing the F-35 and LCS."

Now that it is in the hands of real pilots, who can use it outside the performance constraints placed upon it by the development process, the F-35 is not the turd everyone thought it was.

The LCS, however, should be killed forthwith, and every hull phased out after FFG(X) comes online.
--Unknownsailor--

Blogger Ominous Cowherd March 01, 2019 4:09 PM  

Unknownsailor, what are the intrinsic deficiencies in the LCS classes? One kind is a catamaran, the other a monohull, right? If the machinery were replaced with functional stuff, and an appropriate weapons platform mounted, could they make competent ASW or mine layers or so?

Blogger rumpole5 March 01, 2019 6:37 PM  

What will replace the carriers? Is this what Trump's space force is all about? A few orbiting space stations loaded with "rods from God" could certainly project force in a manner similar to an aircraft carrier.

Blogger Avalanche March 01, 2019 8:52 PM  

@19 "the US Military.
When they show you what they have...they have something better."

No when it comes to Human, mark 1, mod 0. THAT piece o' gear is devolving! (Or, ore accurately, they're buying lowest bidder...)

Blogger Avalanche March 01, 2019 8:53 PM  

*[b]Not[/b] when it comes to Human, mark 1 mod 1.

Blogger Paul M March 01, 2019 11:48 PM  

YclepedBobAli wrote:Does American nationalism entail total withdrawal of the American military presence for allies like Australia?

Hahahahaha!

Nope.

You know those massive swathes of land in Oz marked "aboriginal tribal lands"? Tens of millions of square km ostensibly "owned" by two dozen full-bloods who took 40,000 years to not invent the wheel?

What do you suppose is really going on there?

Blogger Cluebat March 02, 2019 11:02 AM  

Paul M wrote:YclepedBobAli wrote:Does American nationalism entail total withdrawal of the American military presence for allies like Australia?

Hahahahaha!

Nope.

You know those massive swathes of land in Oz marked "aboriginal tribal lands"? Tens of millions of square km ostensibly "owned" by two dozen full-bloods who took 40,000 years to not invent the wheel?

What do you suppose is really going on there?


Raccoon City.

Blogger Clay March 02, 2019 5:50 PM  

My mother was a parent of five children, aged 4 months old to twelve. when my father died at age 44 of a massive coronary.

She was a "stay at home mom" until then. She had to go to work after that. My father had been a B-17 and B-29 pilot. Worked for TWA commercially, where he met my mom. He retired from the Army Air Force after serving as the Provost Marshall at Roswell air base. (shortly before the "Roswell Incident")

Anyway, my mom went to work for Allstate Insurance as an Underwriter. After 25 years, she was Senior Underwriter. Never took a sick day in her career. The only stock she ever owned was with Sears Roebuck, out of loyalty....Sears owned Allstate.

I tried to tell her over and over to dump Sears, but her loyalty was too much.

Anyway, Affirmative action showed it's ugly head. They hired some 20-something negro girl from Jackson State "University", and forced my mom into early retirement. She was nowhere ready to retire.

Anyhow, she was pissed at Sears, and began to listen to me about dropping the Sear's stock. I explained to her about Lockheed-Martin, the Raytheon companies. She finally sold that Sears crap, and split it between Raytheon and Lockheed.

Tho she has passed away, now, I will thank her forever for listening to me.

God Bless, Momma.

Blogger David Nystrom March 04, 2019 10:45 AM  

This has absolutely nothing to do with Navy brass coming to believe that the carrier is increasingly vulnerable to what they call "Anti-Access Area-Denial" (A2AD) weapons.

You can see the Navy's position on carrier battlegroup survivability here: https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/want-sink-navy-aircraft-carrier-you-might-need-nuclear-weapon-37547

Broadly:

• Finding carrier battlegroups is difficult
• Carriers have many defenses against A2AD weapons
• Carriers operate in battlegroups with formidable A2AD defenses (mainly AEGIS BMD)
• The Navy is aware of A2AD threats and deploys CVBGs in a fashion to minimize vulnerability
• Alleged new technology

Not mentioned in the piece but relevant is that supercarriers are fairly survivable (despite not being heavily armored) simply owing to their size, number of water-tight compartments, damage control systems, etc.

Whether or not these arguments are correct I do not know, and neither does anyone else. I do share Vox Day's pessimistic assessment of American military capability.

That said, the Navy certainly believes in this. Because if they didn't, they would be drawing up plans to alter the Navy's force structure. Carriers would be deemphasized and there would be little or no planned future construction of supercarriers. The Navy would start planning a force structure that would more resemble the Soviet Navy of the late Cold War (lots of submarines and long-range bombers, surface ships mainly intended to protect boomer subs in bastions from enemy naval forces). Needless to say they would also be developing A2AD weapons, which they are not.

This is, in fact, the usual budget game. The Navy pulled the exact same stunt in 2016. It's a laughable stunt, because US law REQUIRES the Navy to operate 11 carriers. They are legally forbidden from retiring the USS Harry Truman. The idea is to get more money, and as usual the scam is working: www.nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/us-navy-aircraft-carrier-wont-be-headed-scrapper-46057

The Navy's "strategy" is two-fold:

1 - Maximize the number of capital ships (they're always promoting a larger navy) in order to maximize the number of flag-officer ranks
2 - Do the bidding of defense contractors so that retired flag officers gain lucrative jobs in retirement with military-industrial complex and MIC-controlled think tanks

The Navy is fully prepared to sacrifice everything else to these two objectives. This "threat" to retire the Truman is a good example. In fact shrinking the carrier fleet in the current budgetary environment makes excellent sense. Not because of threats to carriers (though these appear to be serious), but because while the Navy has 11 carriers it only has nine carrier airwings. And each carrier airwing has contracted in size by one-third in the past generation and has lost its previous dedicated attack (A-6 Intruder), interceptor (F-14 Tomcat), and ASW (S-2 Viking) aircraft.

Realistically thus the Navy should retire at the very least two aircraft carriers, and the admirals should strongly lobby Congress to change the law. Instead the Navy aggressively lobbied for more Gerald Ford class carriers, which successfully overcame the objections of James Mattis. The USS Gerald Ford, mind you, DOES NOT WORK. The catapult and recovery systems are defective, so it cannot perform its primary mission of projecting airpower at sea (despite the $20 billion spent). You'd think the Navy would be outraged, but they're not. In fact they even tried not to stress test the carrier and had to be dragged into doing so by Congress. This is explained by the Navy's REAL strategy of maximizing flag officer ranks and maximizing the post-naval income of retired flag officers.

Incidentally, one wonders to what extent the same "strategy" exists in other navies around the world. For America's sake we'd better hope this strategy is globally popular.

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