|Guys, here is an eye-opening article on the threats facing the US Navy – it concludes that, with the proliferation of advanced anti-ship missiles and torpedoes, the super carrier has been compromised to such a degree that they simply are no longer viable. Furthermore, the author states a bold prediction: “If the U.S. Navy keeps building gigantic surface aircraft carriers and daring people to sink them, odds are, eventually, someone will take us up on it and do just that. My personal prediction is that this will happen within the next 10-20 years. Within 10-20 years, one of our aircraft carriers will get sent to the bottom by enemy missiles or torpedos (or both)--or possibly even UAVs/UAS. This scenario could even happen within the next five years.”
Summary of key judgments:
-“….the latest ship-killing unmanned weapon systems like supercavitating torpedoes and supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles being produced and/or developed by other countries that can probably sink the CVN-21, even if it is protected by its own highly-advanced, highly-lethal systems like fighter aircraft (primarily F/A-18s), ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare i.e. "sub-hunting") aircraft, the Raytheon Ship Self-Defense System (SSDS), Aegis-radar-equipped and highly-weaponized cruisers and destroyers, submarines, etc. That's not to mention unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) a.k.a. unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) being produced and developed by other countries that can also potentially wreak a lot of havoc and destruction on surface ships. And, at the end of the day, that's what the CVN-21 will be, a large, hulking, incredibly expensive (albeit very sexy) surface ship.”
-Proliferation of such high-tech anti-ship missiles limits where carrier’s can safely or reasonably operate (thus limiting their effectiveness), “In the tactical shooting a.k.a. defensive shooting world, there's an old saying: "Action beats reaction." In other words, the actor always has the time advantage over the reactor. Time is the reactor's enemy, which means it will be our ships' enemy, if any of the now multiple countries who have supersonic anti-ship missiles and high-speed supercavitating torpedoes decide to launch them on us. Make no mistake, the first ships they'll launch against will be our aircraft carriers, and they'll probably launch a large number of these missiles at one time.”
-“Let's give the U.S. Navy the benefit of the doubt, and say that it can stop 90% of the enemy missiles and/or torpedos streaking towards the carrier(s). The result's going to be the same. Understand that if just one of these missiles or torpedos hits the carrier, it's probably done. Even if it doesn't sink, it will most likely be taken out of operation. So, in effect, no more carrier. Let's say it takes two hits to destroy the carrier. All the enemy will have to do is fire at least 20 missiles at once, get its two hits on the carrier, and no more carrier. What if the enemy launches 20 missiles and 20 torpedos at the carrier at the same time? Get the picture? 20 anti-ship missiles and 20 torpedos might read like a big investment, but it's nowhere near the investement of a $5-$13.7 billion aircraft carrier. Not even close.”
- Current defense systems are not enough, “I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "So what?" Even if the Iranians get one of those super-duper missiles, the U.S. Navy's got SeaRAM, which can defeat those nasty Mach 2.5 (approx.) anti-ship missiles. The SeaRAM Anti-Ship Missile Defense System can defeat it. It's our salvation. Well, not so fast. Ya' see, that little theory depends on two things: 1) that the enemy missile threat will be detected in time and SeaRAM will have a 100% kill rate, and 2) the 11-missile RAM launcher won't run out of missiles before the enemy does.”
-Bottom line, if we get into any kind of serious beef with ANY country that has a decent arsenal of these weapons, our aircraft carriers will most likely be destroyed and sunk within minutes. They're just too big, too slow, and too visible to survive, even with all their onboard and offboard networked defenses. The fact is that high-speed, sophisticated precision anti-ship weapons technology is cheaper and can therefore outpace our ability to protect our big, slow carriers. In the end, war is a financial transaction. Russian helicopters cost a lot more to produce, field and replace than Stinger missiles, and U.S. Aircraft carriers cost A LOT more to produce, field and replace than even the most sophisticated anti-ship weapons.