An Office of the Secretary of Defense review of the US Navy calls for reducing aircraft carriers by 20% to support a 20% increase in smaller ships. This would cut carriers from 11 to nine to add 65 frigates and unmanned ships. The addition of ships would be mainly (about 50) frigates. This would help boost the number of US Navy ships from 297 to over 355.
The attempt to remove about $30 billion from the US carrier program has brought out supporters of aircraft carriers. The supporters argue that aircraft carriers are not expensive floating vulnerable targets. They say that aircraft carriers are the best way for the US to project force into countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
China is likely to have 450 surface ships and over 110 submarines by 2035.
If the US is not able to increase the number of ships then China’s Navy would be on track to outnumber US ships by two to one in the 2040s.
SOURCES- FAS, Defense News
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
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9 thoughts on “US Navy Plans 20% Fewer Aircraft Carriers and 20% More Ships”
Everything on land, at sea, and in the air is vulnerable to something. But nothing projects raw military power like a CVN.
The main problem with the CVN isn't a problem with the CVN at all but with the aircraft. The range is too short. Instead of mothballing the CVN's, we should be looking at extending the range of the aircraft.
Never underestimate an armchair quarterback. Elon Musk used to be one of them, now look what he's doing with the rocket industry. So much for all those experts at NASA.
You and all the other armchair quarterbacks.
Anything you can see, you can kill at a much cheaper cost. Maybe its time for small nonnuclear submarine carriers.
Or something really radical like stop trying to project force. Its a lot cheaper to defend yourself than to attack someone else. And maybe instead of insisting on doing it all by yourself recruit naval powers like Great Britain, France and Japan to handle part of the load.
With drones, UAVs, smart missiles, rail-guns, lasers, and satellites, this was probably inevitable. Carriers have been the preeminent fighting vehicle on the high seas for 80 years, and will probably reign for another ten to twenty, so call it a century.
That's pretty good even when you consider that, not long before they came along, the British Empire ruled the world with 500 pieces of wood that blew around on the water pushed by big pieces of cloth that channeled the wind. In between there were steel battleships and they didn't get so long as either wooden ships or carriers.
It's not that carrier are super vulnerable (they really aren't, yet) but that if the job can be done by smaller units AND you can have more of them . . . well, currently there are nine to ten principles of war, depending on who you ask.
Smaller, more numerous units that can still perform the first two: achieving the objective and maintaining the offensive, are also going to be better at directly supporting at least three more: mass, economy of force, and maneuver. And, under the right circumstances (and used correctly, natch), they can also be a plus for at least three more: security, surprise, and simplicity.
I don't anticipate all carriers going away anytime soon, but having a lot of them seems more and more to be in support of a political agenda (both domestically and abroad) than a military one. Granted, war is the the continuation of politics by other means.
I've been saying for years that what the Navy needs to do is go back to the cruiser concept. A ship that is capable of patrolling by itself for extended periods that can handle a large variety of missions. With cruise missiles and drones, much of what the carrier provides can be done by surface combatants, without as much risk to the pilots.
I personally would recommend a class of 20,000 ton cruisers with 1,500 tons dedicated to drones, and an embarked USMC contingent for anti-piracy and NEO ops. Make them nukes while your at it, so refueling isn't critical.
This is good news, I wish the number of traditional carriers was reduced even further, as they are a old weapon of war, they would be the first things sunk in the real war.
Finally, the navy realizes that my advice is better than the million dollar consultants they've been using for decades.
Submarines are vulnerable too. The least vulnerable attack arms now are long range super sonic missiles. Most of anything in the air fares better now than in the sea or land, especially if unmanned.
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