|Naval power has alway be very dependant of technologies and is challenged by air power since WW2.
Indeed air force exist and it is difficult to counter an airforce with several hundreds planes on quality parity.Air refueling allow an air strike force to strike a naval task force 4000 km away.
The purposes of naval power are:
-first to allow safety use of ocean for transport,
-to deny it to adversary
-to project power on ground.
The use of ocean for transport can be denied by underwater , surface and air threat as denial of it to adversary forces.
To project power on ground, use of carrier is only needed if you have no air bases within 1500 miles.
Since the begining of the century sea power was really needeed 3 times:
In WW1 (air power did not exist as real threat)
In WW2 to preserve for subs threat and Pacific operations
In Falkland to ship an intervention force as theater was clearly out of range of air forces for British.
In fact role of seapower was only demining and control of sea traffic to check commerce ships (which was or could be done by cheap ships).
Europe in those conditions has clearly difficulties to formulate a naval strategy.Indeed there is no potential threat to sea shipping as Europe is united and air base aviation is clearly enough to control all mediterranean sea and a large part of nothern Atlantic and Indian ocean.The only threat are subs but there is plenty of ASW frigates and SSN/SSK in Europe and threat is clearly limited.
For power projections, all majors (but Falkland) interventions from WW2 did not need naval air power:
Korea could be sustained from land bases,as Vietnam, as Suez intervention , as GW1/2.Even in WW2 naval air power was really needed only in Pacific (due to distances).
Gemran were able to challenge allies in Mediterranean without local seapower and invade North Africa and Greec Islands.
In most conflicts, needs of allies allow air forces from main powers to be locally based in a country close to operation :
Inded if a country challenge a local equilibrium, other countries would ask to majors powers to help them to reestablish status quo in the context of today international law and UNO prohibition of war.
Then carrier air power is useless in most cases as air force can base locally.
The SSK/SSN threat is still weak and depend of advanced tech level which is not affordable to everybody.A subpar submarine too noisy is dead today.
Also torpedo threat maybe countered in close future (or even today).
Indeed there is no impossibility to deploy antitorpedo defenses.
Why a torpedo would be more difficult to challenge than a supersonic sea skimmer? Decoys exist and maybe already active defenses in some countries (an antitorpedo missile/depthcharge/supercavitating device)
SO maybe SSK are not in the future a possible challenger to commerce and warships.
USA maintain an heavy force of carriers but people could wonder for what as USA have even land bases close to China (Guam, Japan, Korea, Phillipines...).
SO what is your view of future of naval power?
What means should be needeed and which would be the proper balance?