Pentagon Could Retire Aircraft Carrier to Save $30 Billion

The Pentagon has decided to cut the US aircraft carrier fleet from 11 to 10.

In 2014, there was a proposal to cancel the mid-life upgrade of the USS George Washington. This proposal was defeated. The mid-life upgrade cancellations have been part of negotiations to get larger military budgets.

The proposal will be in the mid-March budget plan. The USS Truman was due for a mid-life overhaul and a new nuclear core in 2024. Retiring the Nimitz-class supercarrier 25 years earlier would save about $30 billion.  The overhaul costs $6.5 billion and operating the carrier costs about $1 billion a year. The total savings would be over $30 billion spread over 25 s.

SOURCES- Breaking Defense

Written By Brian Wang.

34 thoughts on “Pentagon Could Retire Aircraft Carrier to Save $30 Billion”

  1. Why can’t we have better relations with China?

    Why can’t we all sit around a campfire and sing ‘Kumbaya’ and have world peace, too?

    I don’t see why Conservatives especally are so obsessed with idiological differences dictating everything we do…who we like…and who we see as dangerous.

    Since when is passing off the risk of our cities being nuked to those who are going to benefit the most from taking said risk suddenly translate into “Conservatives especally are so obsessed with idiological differences dictating everything we do…who we like…and who we see as dangerous.“?

    Geopolitics trumps free will. It has since time time immemorial. This is why the term Thucydides’ Trap is coined and used in this case.

    All I was doing is offering a rational means of getting out of bad outcomes of Thucydides’ Trap. Give us more choices in an otherwise geopolitically dictated situation.

  2. Why can’t we have better relations with China? I don’t see why Conservatives especally are so obsessed with idiological differences dictating everything we do…who we like…and who we see as dangerous.

  3. I think we should offer 1 to Australia, 1 to Japan, and 1 to Israel. Stipulate that they can’t scrap them for 25 years. Offer them the old ones as we complete new ones. They can keep them stationary if they want.
    We cut costs, they will have to buy jets…we sell jets.

  4. 4 is a lazy catch-all that doesn’t really add anything useful.

    The only possibly legit alternative is: We never needed even half of it…and it was only ever about shipyards and their stockholders getting rich…but they are already fully engaged in building and deeply gouging. The more they scrap, the more will be built.

    Most of the alternatives to 4 are conspiratorial like:
    We want to fail in some way that Congress is embarrassed into funding even more than the NAVY had,
    Someone higher up does not like the Captain and wants him to loose his boat,
    Got to build the fence out of something,
    Someone forgot the bribe the NAVY planners usually get,
    The reactor is in much worse shape than they let on,
    It is going to be turned into a secret prison…radiation fear beats waterboarding,
    The NAVY plans to say “Oops…we do need 11” after it is scrapped,
    Someone in the scrapping business has greased the wheels of government (worth looking into),
    The UN demanded it…
    It is pointless because we do not have the aircraft

    And it just drifts into insanity beyond that: We are embracing the decimal system,
    Trump wants to be able to count them on his fingers,
    Trump wants to turn it into his personal yacht…after converting it to run on coal,
    Wargames where they pair off…are way more fun.
    They actually took my advise to just give a carrier to Israel…now see how absurd you made by go.

  5. The good thing about having a drone escort is that they will be more observable than the manned aircraft and will be able to evade AA with maneuvers that would kill a human.

  6. I am talking about missile-launching, supersonic, swarming, stealth drones. They need an airfield. Of course there are other variants. All of them will be leveraged by our power-projecting platform of choice- the modern supercarrier. Nothing can equal the power of a carrier strike group. And we will have plenty of eyes in the sky, and our subs are top notch. We will need to work on some things, but I see it all coming together nicely.

  7. 🙂

    I want to see everybody-but-Americans in combat against the Chinese. Why bother having a chess set if one doesn’t use the pawns, after all?

    Why risk the nuclear destruction of Seattle, San Francisco or LA when Kolkata and Osaka would do just fine for that role instead? 🙂

    If you Aussies were smart, you’d sign onto the same ‘Asian Jannissary’ program I just outlined in the above. 🙂

  8. That’s what I was saying.

    Less ships for same job doesn’t work, so either they USN thinks that the new ships are far more effective or they are planning on doing a smaller job.

  9. So, Indians if you really want them to see combat. Japan if you want them to maybe see combat, but be handled effectively in the event that it happens.

  10. But isn’t the idea that you would be forced just to avoid conflict unless directly attacked still just another form of Option 4. That the USA is going to reduce the scope of USN control of the world’s oceans.

  11. I think you’ll find that ICBMs were hypersonic weapons back in the 1960s, and Rods-from-God are just an idea and concept even in 2019.

  12. But we don’t need carriers to deploy drones, there are cheaper ways to do that, and we are already making drones that can fly round trip quarter of the world, same with missiles.

  13. Refurbishing the aircraft carrier is half the price of a new one. My bet is that they will be asking for a new one as soon as the old one is moth balled. I don’t think we should be building any new one since we can’t guarantee that any of them will survive day one of a war with any of the other major powers especially China.

  14. We should sell these carriers to the Japanese/Indians for $1 each — along with a refit contract for the amount we would have spent.

    Also, this way it is more likely the carriers will see actual combat with the Chinese…and w/o exposing the US to any liability in the process. 🙂

  15. We will be deploying drones (UCAV, etc.) on our carriers. They will be shepherded by our stealth aircraft (F-35 to start). We can probably squeeze a lot of drones onto a carrier.

  16. The plan is to retire the Truman and build two new modern carriers, so if promises are kept, we will be up one. The problem is that promises are broken.
    Personally, I am not too worried. We are stronger than we pretend. When Reagan became President those laggards were whipped into shape pretty quick. We need to do that again. We also need more investment in other hardware. Some of that has already begun, but we will need more in order to protect our battle groups.

  17. The U.S. Navy is already stretched mighty thin. No doubt this would save money, but without a concurrent reduction in defense requirements, it hurts vice helps.
    DOD needs to first say what requirements they’re giving up before reducing capability.

  18. We definitely need less carriers. Carriers will not be effective against China when the day will come, smarter and more capable drones and missiles might. Carriers can still be used against lesser technology capable countries such as Iran and North Korea.

  19. A real opportune time to send a message about the south china sea; the Chinese will own international waters.

  20. Ford carriers are the wrong mission for the future. The future navy is all about long range unmanned aircraft, hypersonics, directed energy, unmanned subs and other “new” weapons. You still need a floating platform, but a very different one. Much smaller, semi-submersible (or entirely submersible), stealthy. It is also a cat and mouse game. Today’s carriers are sitting ducks to satellite steered weapons. IF the Navy makes directed energy countermeasures work, they will still need ships. Not otherwise. With the transition to the “new” Navy, USN is expecting a 6 carrier fleet by 2048. I suspect the Fords will be cut into scrap much quicker and the program severely limited. New weapons tech is very, very quickly advancing. The 15-year development timeframes of yore are now being compressed into 1.5-2 years.

  21. Yes, saw that. I almost said as much.

    Here is a provocative 5th one. You can require less force not just because opponents are weakening but because they are becoming too strong. As potential adversaries get more powerful, you don’t bother trying to make something that can stomp them, as it just becomes prohibitively expensive and such a conflict would incur far more risk than loosing allies and you are forced to just avoid conflict…unless they directly attack you.

  22. Or we are less willing to defend countries we have defended for decades while they paid nothing and tariffed our goods.

  23. What is going to launch the drones?

    carriers are just a meta weapons delivery platform and they are incredibly useful.

    next week: China is building 4 carriers!

    yes I know it is about economic cost but carriers have proven themselves to be useful since WWII and this utility isn’t going away.

  24. The old number of 11 carriers was determined to be the required number to meet USN operational needs.

    So either:

    1. The current assessment is the new Ford carriers are sufficiently improved over the old Nimitz class that the number of carriers required to do the same job is now reduced, DESPITE ongoing technical improvements in many potential adversaries.
    2. OR the potential adversary assessment is now judged to be less of a threat than previously (eg. Russian navy continues to sink from old age and neglect)
    3. OR previous assessments are now considered to be wrong and over cautious
    4. OR the USA is now deciding to reduce the job the USN is now required to be able to perform (paging Zeihan).

    Which is it? That is what the real question is.

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