US Navy Will Buy and Build Two Aircraft Carriers at a Time

The US Navy will block buy two Ford-class aircraft carriers at a time. The US Navy will buy and build the third and fourth new Ford aircraft carriers at the same time in order to get up to a 10% discounted cost.

Doubling down on the CVN 80 and 81 will enable bulk orders and other volume savings.

Bryan Clark, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, believes a carrier strike group could knock down 450 incoming missiles. However, they will be overwhelmed by over 600.

The carriers would only be safe by hanging back until drones, fighters and other missiles could thin out defenses that China and Russia have.

The US, China and other countries with aircraft carriers can still use them to push around weaker nations.

48 thoughts on “US Navy Will Buy and Build Two Aircraft Carriers at a Time”

  1. Lasers have to work in line of sight as they travel in straight lines, so unless its space based, it needs to be fairly close, <20kms. 100 lasers starting at the say 18kms would have reduced the 500 to what other weapons can mange by the time a few get to within a 5 kms.
    Toepdos are a different matter and will require a different solution.
    Also, carriers can’t be that bad as china is building them too.
    Of course a lot depends on what planes the carrier has and the US odes need planes with a longer range.

  2. LOL. Not expert, just veteran EW from cold war, still working in MIC. I do think that we have too many carriers at present for likely future adversaries, and that we should be retiring some of the old hulls even before their scheduled replacement. They are very expensive to maintain.

  3. The overwhelming salvo scenario assumes that we put targets within range before attriting them. That will only happen if it were a surprise attack during peacetime. Japan did that to us once.

  4. The 100+megawatt lasers should be the wave of the future! Then China will send 1000 stealth torpedoes that pops up to surface when it’s 30 ft away…Or a 1000 megawatt laser that can bore a hole to any carrier thousand of miles away… And even if you have those lasers, how can you swat around 500 concurrent missiles hurling down vertically with maybe 10 or 20 lasers, let’s say for the whole fleet 50 to 100 lasers? Not to mention incoming drone swarms, and another 500 torpedoes, plus farther reaching chinese aircrafts…And i haven’t mentioned EMP missiles to initially destroy electronics, hackers and jammers actively denying stable communications…if it’s a formidable adversary, let’s just nuke them…

  5. “I think it is unlikely that we would allow our task group to become vulnerable to such an overwhelming salvo. ” – I think the predicate of Chinese strategy to attack carriers is to overwhelm and attack way farther from the striking distance capability of the carrier group including missiles and planes. It cannot be “unlikely” because this is what they’ve been preparing for. Carrier group can defend for 600 missiles, they’ll launch 601 or worst launch 1200 because it’s cheaper than the cost of suicide mission of a chinese carrier group attacking head on. Now, not sure why you inserted air superiority and subs but if you’re attacking mainland China, these things are quite useless for the initial barrage of missiles approaching the carriers. If you’re thinking of war in the middle of the ocean, then that’s when our Navy definitely excel unless we then get overwhelmed with sub attack.

  6. Have to be harder to find that an entire carrier group. Plus a torpedo would be easier to detect than a sea skimmer missile.

    Me, I would go for cheap, numerous, survivable because missiles are cheap.

  7. Boomers must remain ahead of the tech curve or they become very vulnerable. I am not very confident that they are secure at present.

  8. The variety of aircraft deployed on carriers are necessary for force projection. What you describe may be good for surgical specops, but approach the cost of an entire strike group.

  9. Targets! Targets galore!

    The US 50s – 60s cold war against Russia used the tactic of a spending war to at least partially run Russia out of the picture. But now we are doing the same, and the expense of a vulnerable (nuke ’em!) surface task force is harming the US ability to fund internal improvement. We need that internal improvement to stay in the economic/tech race, since that is the genuine war that is going on world-wide.

  10. So many eggs in one basket. Also with carriers you have to have an entire carrier group to protect them. With boomers you wouldn’t need an entire group. And you can build them cheaper if you use diesel instead of nuke.

  11. Most silkworm missiles don’t have the range to reach a carrier group and there are not enough of the ones that do make a real difference in a real war.
    S400 only defend against the planes, but with stealth they may be able to get close enough to use standoff weapons. If enough launch then these can overwhelm an s400 site and then planes can get through.

  12. Lots of conventional missiles would overwhelm a carrier group, for now anyway, but no country has thousands of such missiles. While the 1st and possibly 2nd carrier group may be overwhelmed the 3rd wont because the launching country will have run out of missiles. The US has 10 carrier groups.

    Of course a country may build thousands of such missiles but then thats resources they can’t put into other areas of their military.
    If in 10yrs or so 100+megawatt lasers are operational then it would take thousands of missiles to overwhlem just 1 carrier group.

  13. What he is alluding to is that it is getting harder for carriers to deliver the bang for buck they used to as there are more threats they have to counter.
    They may still be able to counter them but for now its getting harder so more of a battle groups resources are used to just protect the carrier or the carrier has to launch from further away so its planes can’t reach as far.

    Of course if in about 10 yrs or so, 100+ megawatt lasers are developed and implemented then the pendulum may well swing the other way as carriers with their nuclear reactors could field arrays of lasers that could just about swat anything, hypersonics included, out of the sky easily.

    This may then once again free most of the planes for offensive punch and let a carrier get closer to an opponent.

  14. Boomers are the same price as a carrier. Still cheaper to move many platforms together under CAP and ASW for a lot more firepower. I imagine if we do have missile ships and boats, they will still rely on the carrier group.

  15. We still need carriers to project force on short notice. Our only alternative is to do a long diplomatic kabuki with often unsavory regimes. Such an endeavor is much more time intensive and costly in the long run. We still maintain expensive facilities all over the world, We do not need to build more. We need to bring them home.

  16. It is more of a case where OrangeWeights doesn’t have the educational background to grasp what I quoted. Thucydides is mythological? Wow! Educational standards sure have gone down the tubes.

  17. In part correct, however carriers with ships uses an reusable launch platform unlike missiles who are single use.
    So you can get an larger first strike capability but no sustain.
    This is only useful if you try to gank someone stronger.
    For killing ragheads and other trash mob an helicopter / vtol carrier is better because of sustain. You don’t even need an jet fighter.

    You don’t want to fight other players but you want them not want to fight you either.
    Nukes does most of this as long as all follow the book.
    In short ganking someone stronger pretty much assume they have nukes or have friends with nukes

    Yes you have outlines, 1956, the Cuban missile crisis. 911 if Pakistan sided with Taliban but that would been very one sided.
    Yes having nukes is nice but you don’t want to get into an fight with some you can not reach and will not deplete their magazines much by killing all your major cities.

  18. I would have thought that there would be a problem finding enough skilled workers and dry dock facilities to pull off building two aircraft carriers at a time. I can see may taking 10% off the total construction time for two but not much more than that.

  19. Large missile carrying submarines. Smaller and more numerous helicopter carrying ships with vertical lifted off planes. Maybe even submarines with vertical lifted off planes.

    Was thinking of ships with distributed power and control systems that can survive multiple hits and still remain functional. Ships composed of sealed functional cells.

  20. “objective reporting” There is no such thing. They all pander to the left or right. Same stories are spun to whatever fits their agenda and attracts maximum readership.

  21. Actually, China was the first to successfully test hypersonic missiles. I believe China and Russia are the only ones that have but they are ready for deployment yet. Also, the range is still short. I’m sure basic conventional missiles would easily overwhelm the Americans long before they even reached half way across the Pacific.

  22. “The carriers would only be safe by hanging back” This is a stupid article. How would they be safe? If they’re travellin to the other side of the world to invade two superpowers, they will be facing their entire countries not just their navy. Their little strike groups would’ve been annihilated long before they got half way. Not to mention that those are nuclear powers. So, the only thing the US will be doing is using these carriers to intimidate Iran and Syria.

  23. we have no planes to put on an aircraft carrier the F-18 is junk and can not do any mission they should dry dock The existing aircraft carriers until an aircraft Long range aircraft can be Design we bone need to put the men and women of or armed forces in danger

  24. The weak nations that are not aggresors can strenthen their coastal defences with a few dozens chinese silkworms missiles and russian s400 air defence systems.

  25. The war department budget bloat has to go somewhere, and bulk order of carriers is a good way to send those dollars to the military-industrial complex. However, you made a mistake of believing in fairy tales about hundreds of incoming missiles “knocked down”. How many supersonic anti-ship missiles have been “knocked down” in 21 century? None. That missile technology has been around since at least 1962, and went through numerous generations, ending up with hypersonic speed. It does not need to be hypersonic to penetrate air defenses, but that helps a lot. China has anti-ship ballistic missiles with maneuvering warhed. Russia has hypersonic missiles with maneuvering warhead, also that underwater attack drone with unlimited range and nuclear warhead. One can bet both eyes that China wants the same badly, and they will get it built. The war department knows all that, and they are not stupid to face all that in combat – it is a certain loss of a carrier group, also careers, funding and who knows what else. The carriers are safe only at one type of place: at their home bases, behind multiple layers of defenses.

  26. Mat… An idea would be to build them catamaran style. As I’ve thought of before. Now even Russia is considering doing. Cuts down on weight, material, water drag, and overall cost and time to build. So could build more ,rather than just two.

  27. I had a manufacturing/operations professor that always said that you can tell when a technology is coming to an end because everyone focuses on economies of scale.

    Are we seeing the end of the aircraft carrier? They have been around longer than the battleship. We are trying to mass produce them to achieve economies of scale rather than considering the weaknesses of this system and the new threats to them.

  28. I found the “article” to be unusually brief (lol), besides that, if any state actor were to fire a dozen or two dozen missiles at a carrier, or carrier strike group, and you could plausibly declare that to be a “limited” engagement, but firing 50+ or more missiles, is nothing less than a declaration of all-out war. At that point all bets are off, and we have a full shooting match on our hands, so whether a CSG can repel 450, or 600 missiles is rather irrelevant. As far as subs go, with the retirement of the S-3 Viking ASW aircraft, there is a long-range gap in the US Navy’s ASW capabilities. That may be addressed in the not-too-distant future with ASW drones.

  29. Do you know what Thucydides Trap is? Or even who Thucydides was?

    I am guessing not because of the very existence of your question.

  30. I can’t say I disagree but what happened to objective reporting versus  commentary?

    This is commentary “The US, China and other countries with aircraft carriers can still use them to push around weaker nations.”
    And they can use them to fight zombies or space aliens too.

  31. I agree…except for the “ship” part. Half of the US Navy should be subs. They can do everything from firing missiles, launch and recover drones, to seal deployments. Carriers are an outdated system, sure, the Ford Class are impressive, but some sexy lipstick on a pig still wont make me wanna kiss it.

  32. Thus the aircraft carrier today has the same status as the battleship in WWII.

    Yup. As I have been saying on NBF for years. Along with ‘future homes to coral reefs and sea bottom tombs for up to 5,000 people too”.

    We need to build the massive missile arsenal ships (aka ‘missile dreadnaughts’) that they have worked on in design, instead.

  33. “The US, China and other countries with aircraft carriers can still use them to push around weaker nations.”

    Thus the aircraft carrier today has the same status as the battleship in WWII. A situation that was inevitable. I hope we can make the switch to missile ships and drone carriers before we get caught in the same position we (and every other nation, Japan not so much) was in at the start of WWII, too much investment in outdated ships.

  34. Assuming the we can actually afford to buy them both… at the moment we can barely afford to operate what we’ve got.

  35. It hasn’t really been covered much but the USN has developed anti-torpedo torpedos. Due to the relative velocities, interception window, etc. it’s much easier task than missile defense.

    For torpedo guidance, you have three options:

    1. Wire guide: this requires optical target acquisition and is guaranteed suicide for the firing sub.
    2. Acoustic guidance: the firing sub will probably still die but at least it will have a chance. The problem here is that a soft kill is pretty easy to obtain.
    3. Wake guidance: this has, historically, been the hardest to defend against. Accordingly this has been the guidance system the Russians have chosen (they actually gave up on acoustic guidance knowing that a soft kill was quite easy to obtain). The only way to defeat a wake-guided torpedo is through a hard kill. Accordingly, the USN developed such a countermeasure and has begun equipping carriers and other warships.
  36. “However, they will be overwhelmed by over 600.”

    Not a likely scenario. What we need most are more, and better hunter/killer subs. I think it is unlikely that we would allow our task group to become vulnerable to such an overwhelming salvo. Air superiority is key, and we know how to establish that. It’s the lurker below which may be able to penetrate our defenses and score a very effective blow.
    This, and training. When things heat up, we will need to put all of that EEO and POSH stuff on the back burner.

Comments are closed.