|The US Navy's large CVN can carry out a wide range of taskings and have the numbers of aircraft on each carrier to be a formidable force. However, the costs of building, maintaining, and operating these ships that require large manpower quantities, and when tied to threats of shrinking budgets, etc. it may force the navy to look to other options based on new technology.
Primarily this has to do with the naval variant of the Lightning II with its vertical take off and landing capability. These aircraft can fly off LHA/LHD vessels, but the design of the amphib's dramatically sees a fall off in the number of aircraft these vessels can operate. Therefore it would seem somewhat expedient, if not practical, to move in a direction that would see smaller carriers built that would be midway in size and capability between the LHA/LHD and the larger CVN. This may bring about savings in construction, crew sizes, operating costs, etc. yet still give the navy a larger punch then what a LHA/LHD could deliver with just a dozen or so Lightnings. What if the navy built a vessel that was 100-200 or more feet shorter than the CVN but could still operate 48 Lightnings and other assorted aircraft?