Are aircraft carriers too vulnerable?

Ronny

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No offense but that read is quite silly overall.
Why does the carrier park 300 km from the shore?. Since when Zircon has plasma stealth and why doesn't that affect its own seeker?. I read the explaination but that doesn't make a whole a lot of sense, if the sensor frequency is above 300 Ghz isn't that asking the atmosphere to fully absorbed it?. The explaination between Kallib and GQM-163 doesn't make sense too, I won't touch the dubious altitude explaination but the glaring issue is why doesn't the carrier use AEW&C?. That whole post look like a little advertising of Russian weapons such as why this and that is better than US counterpart, but there isn't much thought given on defense side
 

apparition13

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They have always been vulnerable; but they are more vulnerable now than they ever have been.

The reason they replaced battleships is because the carrier's 'guns' (aircraft with bombs and torpedoes) vastly outranged the battleship's guns. They could attack while being immune to counterattack. They were still vulnerable to other carriers, land based aircraft, and subs. And surface ships if they got the jump on the carriers, but with a couple notable exceptions that wasn't likely given their recon ability.

The situation now is reversed. Land based ballistic missiles and cruise missile armed bombers can attack from outside the carrier's detection range, from bases outside the range of task force's strike aircraft. The carrier task force is vulnerable, the air bases and mobile missile launchers are invulnerable, at least until the task force can close into attack range, and that could involve running a missile gauntlet for two or three days, by which time even if the ships survive they could well be out of anti-missile missiles. And as long as warfare remains in a missile era, that isn't likely to change since a big, slow ship is much easier to target than a small, fast, evasive missile.

Now if lasers and electro-magentic guns and particle beams (oh my) achieve their potential, carriers could regain their relative immunity. Of course at that point peers would also have those, so the carriers' aircraft would also be rendered useless. Which means I'm not sure what they would have to offer other than ASW, and AEW for mid-ocean escort. And you could fill a neo-panamax tanker with foam and slap a deck on it to make a CVE that might cost a tenth of a Ford class. Cross a Bell-280 with an E-2D and an S-3 and hey presto, VSTOL ASW and AEW - who needs catapults and wires.

I seem to have just talked myself into thinking the day of the carrier is over, at least where peer opponents are concerned.
 

Foo Fighter

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There is a continuous development race between attack and defence that has been going on since Chess at least. As has been pointed out, carriers have their defensive screen. This screen will evolve.
 

panzerfeist1

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No offense but that read is quite silly overall.
Why does the carrier park 300 km from the shore?. Since when Zircon has plasma stealth and why doesn't that affect its own seeker?. I read the explaination but that doesn't make a whole a lot of sense, if the sensor frequency is above 300 Ghz isn't that asking the atmosphere to fully absorbed it?. The explaination between Kallib and GQM-163 doesn't make sense too, I won't touch the dubious altitude explaination but the glaring issue is why doesn't the carrier use AEW&C?. That whole post look like a little advertising of Russian weapons such as why this and that is better than US counterpart, but there isn't much thought given on defense side

I believe we already went over this on another forum, don't tell me you have had a memory dump? Doesn't preprogrammed coordinates with INS against a slow moving target ring a bell? Or that plasma covered objects can still transmit RF waves as long as the radio frequency on those waves have a higher frequency than the covered plasma frequency that transmission can still occur? 300km is for the iskander range want to go above 1000km look at zircon or kinzhal in that explanation. AEWC can be targeted by enemy interceptors F-35s have a better chance with stealth and their radar coverage which was explained in that post as well. Kalibr missiles have longer low altitude ranges than short range coyotes how does this not make sense?
 

kaiserd

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Mentions of “plasma stealth” give me horrible 90’s flashbacks to omnipresent sad fanatical Russian fan boys and their sad need to believe very convenient utter nonsense.
Anything more to it in this instance?
 

Ronny

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I believe we already went over this on another forum, don't tell me you have had a memory dump? Doesn't preprogrammed coordinates with INS against a slow moving target ring a bell? Or that plasma covered objects can still transmit RF waves as long as the radio frequency on those waves have a higher frequency than the covered plasma frequency that transmission can still occur? 300km is for the iskander range want to go above 1000km look at zircon or kinzhal in that explanation. AEWC can be targeted by enemy interceptors F-35s have a better chance with stealth and their radar coverage which was explained in that post as well. Kalibr missiles have longer low altitude ranges than short range coyotes how does this not make sense?
We discussed similar topic in SB but you couldn't convince member there so we eventually decided to stop.
At speed from Mach 8- Mach 9, Zircon can cover 1000 km in 5.5-6 minutes, in the same time Nimitz can travel 5.6 km, so if your only guidance method is INS, you will miss a slow moving target.
Plasma covered object can still transmit radio wave with frequency higher than the value blocked by the plasma shield, but I can remember very clearly that, in our previous discussion we did discuss the possibility, I said this:
DE56BF6C-26AF-4060-A146-8DA69CF619D0.gif

Avangard's skin can withstand 3632 Fahrenheit
https://www.polygraph.info/a/fact-check-putin-avangard-hypersonic-weapon/29679968.html

3,632 degrees Fahrenheit = 2273.15 degrees Kelvin
At 2273 degrees Kelvin your plasma cover can only absorb frequency 5 MHz or lower which mean it is useless against most radar
On the otherhand, if the surface temperature of Avangard reach 15136.2435 kelvins like you claimed, it will be destroyed by friction and never reach destination because the material can only withstand 2273 degree Kelvin. Second of all, if the temperature reach 15000 Kelvin then your missile will be blind because the plasma sheath will now absorb all radiation from 1 Mhz to 350 Ghz.
Interesting choices we have:
- If the surface temperature is 2273 degrees Kelvin plasma stealth doesn't work.
or
-If the surface temperature is 15136 degrees Kelvin, Avangard is destroyed by heat because its skin can't withstand 15136.2435 kelvins and it is also blind.

About Zircon, at 4000 Kelvin, the plasma sheath only absorb frequency of 1 Ghz or lower, making it useless versus most fire control radars. Also, a missile can reach Mach 8 at 30 000 meters is no indicator that it can reach the same speed at 1000 meter flight ceiling. Because air at low altitude is a lot denser
Why a carrier with attack range greater than 1000 km thanks to its aircraft would want to get closer than 1000 km to a destroyer or battleship with Zircon? or 300 km from the shore?.
What interceptor can attack AEW&C from 1000 km? and if the interceptor go closer than that to take out AEW&C why doesn't F-35 screen or arleigh burke group shot it down?.
Kalibr has longer range than GQM-163 because the later is a target used for testing of defensive system. GQM-163 are engaged in terminal phase instead of when it climb up. Nevertheless, I don't think the explaination make sense because you ignore the main strength of aircraft carrier, which is the great radar horizon provided by its air wing.
 
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zen

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Just a warning that plasma can be induced to emit radio waves.....
So it's a risky system for defeating radar
 

sferrin

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They have always been vulnerable; but they are more vulnerable now than they ever have been.

Hardly. Japan lost four carriers in a single afternoon. Did the world start wringing it's collective panties and stop building carriers? Nope. Hmmmm.
 

apparition13

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They have always been vulnerable; but they are more vulnerable now than they ever have been.

Hardly. Japan lost four carriers in a single afternoon. Did the world start wringing it's collective panties and stop building carriers? Nope. Hmmmm.

You left out the next paragraph:

The reason they replaced battleships is because the carrier's 'guns' (aircraft with bombs and torpedoes) vastly outranged the battleship's guns. They could attack while being immune to counterattack. They were still vulnerable to other carriers, land based aircraft, and subs. And surface ships if they got the jump on the carriers, but with a couple notable exceptions that wasn't likely given their recon ability.

Think of it this way. Battleship vs. battleship is a relatively even fight, it's in the same domain. Carrier vs. carrier is a relatively even fight, it's in the same domain. Battleship vs. carrier is an uneven fight; the carrier can sink the battleship before it knows there is a carrier around.

The analogy I'm making is that the increasing range of cruise missiles means bombers and ships can attack from outside the range of E-2 coverage. Add in the 'out of context' problem of anti-shipping ballistic missiles, and it means that, just like carriers could attack battleships from outside the range of a battleship's counterattack and sensor range, missiles can attack carriers from outside the carriers' strike range and sensor range. Musashi took an awful lot of hits to go down, and it could shoot down some of the attacking aircraft, but it couldn't do anything to stop the torpedo and dive bombers at their source. The carrier trying to fight anti-shipping ballistic and bombers and ships launching long range cruise missile is like the battleship trying to fight carriers; it may be well defended but since it can't counterattack its attacker, its defenses will eventually fail against volume of fire.
 

zen

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To attack the CV and it's attendant group, one needs to first know it's out there. Intelligence and signals listening are your requirements
Then you need to search for it, OTHR, MPA, surface 'assets' etc....are needed and they must have the relevant communications to get that data back Command.
Command must exist, then it must have the communications to send and receive, then it must have the facility to plan the attack.
Because planning is how you carry it out.
Then you must have the facilities to launch that attack.
Airfields for aircraft to carry AShM with attendance of maintenance staff, fuel, food, spares etc....
Roads and pre-cleared sites for landbased systems to arrive at, set up and launch. Said landbased systems need bases, maintenance, food, fuel spares etc....
Aircraft have to be able to carry the weapons, fitted to carry the weapons, cleared for use of those weapons, personnel trained to use those weapons.
similarly with landbased vehicles.
Finally we have the actual weapon.

So to perform that anti-ship strike, a awful lot of stuff has to happen, an awful lot of communications have to happen and frankly everybody has to be trained, trained quite a lot to carry off the strike swiftly and effectively.
Which means if I have the assets in situ to report to me that this is going on, I can communicate to the CVBG to get ready.
If my SIGINT and ELINT assets hear all that comms traffic and locate it, then I can tell what's about to happen.

So this attack isn't going to be a complete surprise.

And the sheer footprint of personnel, facilities and equipment is not trivial.
And most of that is static, fixed in location and thus easily targetable for both pre-emptive and retaliatory actions.
This bigger the attack, the more facilities and personnel and stores and frankly training it all needs.

Mass attack on a CVBG....you'll have been rigorously training for that for years. Your facilities won't be something you just knocked up last weekend. I will know you have trained for it, I will know where all your facilities are.
And I will have been planning and preparing my counter to it for an equally long time............

In essence the CVBG represents the scale of facilities needed whether on land or on sea.
 

sferrin

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Avimimus

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Well, we have:
- Throwing increasingly large numbers of subsonic (or even supersonic) missiles from aircraft
- 24x7,000kg submarine launched cruise missiles (Project 949)
- Ballistic missiles (maybe a half dozen 15,000kg missiles from a battery)
- Possibly a 2m diameter nuclear powered torpedo (mention as a secondary use for 'Poseidon'/'Status-6')
- 4x4,500kg 650mm torpedoes from an attack submarine (no longer in service)
- Space-based anti-carrier weapon systems (never finished).
- Hypersonic maneuvering warheads (still in development)

This shows a pretty strong desire to counter Carriers... one would think that, with this amount of effort and this variety of systems - something would get through. In addition, we live in an era of excellent optical and radar detection systems which make locating a carrier increasingly inevitable.

I think the idea that a carrier is defensible against a well equipped adversary may have had its day. The only hope for protecting these high value targets would be the introduction of large numbers of direct energy weapons... which might be able to shift the balance back.

That said: Are carriers obsolete? No. They are still useful for force projection - allowing deployment of a ready-made airbase to any coastal area in the world. This is why a lot of countries operate one or two carriers (not to mention additional helicopter carriers to support landings or hunt submarines). I thus suspect carriers will get smaller and more specialised by the end of the century.
 

apparition13

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They have always been vulnerable; but they are more vulnerable now than they ever have been.

Hardly. Japan lost four carriers in a single afternoon. Did the world start wringing it's collective panties and stop building carriers? Nope. Hmmmm.

You left out the next paragraph:

Because it was irrelevant.
That's an unsupported assertion. I've made an argument, explain how you think it's irrelevant. And 'because it was irrelevant' isn't sufficient, it's a cop-out.
 

Ronny

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Well, we have:
- Throwing increasingly large numbers of subsonic (or even supersonic) missiles from aircraft
- 24x7,000kg submarine launched cruise missiles (Project 949)
- Ballistic missiles (maybe a half dozen 15,000kg missiles from a battery)
- Possibly a 2m diameter nuclear powered torpedo (mention as a secondary use for 'Poseidon'/'Status-6')
- 4x4,500kg 650mm torpedoes from an attack submarine (no longer in service)
- Space-based anti-carrier weapon systems (never finished).
- Hypersonic maneuvering warheads (still in development)
This shows a pretty strong desire to counter Carriers... one would think that, with this amount of effort and this variety of systems - something would get through. In addition, we live in an era of excellent optical and radar detection systems which make locating a carrier increasingly inevitable.
_ Subsonic/supersonic missiles from aircraft can be used to attack airfield/destroyer/battle cruiser /OTHR.
_ Ballistic missiles can be used to attack airfield/destroyer/battle cruiser /OTHR
_ Hypersonic maneuvering warheads can be used to attack airfield/destroyer/battle cruiser /OTHR
_ ASAT can be used to attack satellites.
_ Torpedoes and Mine can be used to attack submarine/destroyer/battlecruiser
So if aircraft carrier is obsolete because there are many lethal weapon to attack it, the same argument can be made to OTHR, satellites, any other kind of surface ship, airbase.
 

GARGEAN

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"Everything will work properly on our side. Barely anything will work properly on enemy side. We will anyways be vigilant. Enemy will always be surprised".
This is not discussion. This is mantra. Meanwhile in real world huge sophisticated warships, US ones more than included, routinely collide with freighters.
 

Ronny

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"Everything will work properly on our side. Barely anything will work properly on enemy side. We will anyways be vigilant. Enemy will always be surprised".
The same argument can be made about the anti carrier side . The carrier fleet always not prepare, they always do nothing to OTHR, airbase and satellites. Subsonic cruise missiles, supersonic missiles, ballistic missiles, hypersonic missiles are never used against OTHR and airbase or other kinds of surface ships.
 

Foo Fighter

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Getting a bit dizzy with all this round and round.
 

sferrin

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They have always been vulnerable; but they are more vulnerable now than they ever have been.

Hardly. Japan lost four carriers in a single afternoon. Did the world start wringing it's collective panties and stop building carriers? Nope. Hmmmm.

You left out the next paragraph:

Because it was irrelevant.
That's an unsupported assertion. I've made an argument, explain how you think it's irrelevant. And 'because it was irrelevant' isn't sufficient, it's a cop-out.
What would be an equally cost effective replacement for a carrier? Right then. Your argument is irrelevant because carriers have ALWAYS been at risk (as have every other weapons system on the planet). Battleships didn't get replaced because they were vulnerable. They got replaced because something better came along.
 

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I'd argue that battleships vs carriers is more like apples and oranges, simply because carriers have inherently more flexibility built in. Battleships had one job and one job only, and when that job was replaced so where they. That said offensive weapons could progress beyond the defensive capabilities of a carrier group relegating carriers to secondary roles.

With the advent of sub-launched drones and hypersonic weapons, one could argue that SSGNs could feasibly become that better system that replaces carriers.
 

sferrin

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I'd argue that battleships vs carriers is more like apples and oranges, simply because carriers have inherently more flexibility built in. Battleships had one job and one job only, and when that job was replaced so where they. That said offensive weapons could progress beyond the defensive capabilities of a carrier group relegating carriers to secondary roles.

With the advent of sub-launched drones and hypersonic weapons, one could argue that SSGNs could feasibly become that better system that replaces carriers.

Sub-launch /retrieval of drones. . . Difficult to imaging how large such a sub would have to be to equal the capability of a CVN. It certainly wouldn't be cheap. A sub-launched E-2D? Yikes.

On the other hand I'd always thought, and least for offensive missions, that a nuclear powered cruiser (somewhat north of a Kirov) with some LARGE rail/coil guns could replace the carrier but then what do you do about the air-control (not merely defense) and quick reaction ASW missions?
 
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Desertfox

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The thing is, an SSGN does not need the capabilities of a CVN. No need for ASW or SAR helicopters, no need for AWACS, air-defense, air-to-air-refueling, or EW, and most importantly, no need for a huge number of escorts. Costwise you could have 4 Colombia class SSGNs for the equivalent of 1 CVN (not including the escorts). At least for offensive operations in a contested A2AD environment, against a peer-opponent, SSGNs seem to be the better option going forward.

A new cruiser with large magazines capable of handling HGVs would be quite useful, but not something Kirov-sized. At that point you are having the same problems of a CVN of putting too many eggs in one big basket. A cruiser in the 15,000 ton range where you can build many of them would be better by giving the enemy more, and less valuable targets.
 

apparition13

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What would be an equally cost effective replacement for a carrier? Right then. Your argument is irrelevant because carriers have ALWAYS been at risk (as have every other weapons system on the planet). Battleships didn't get replaced because they were vulnerable. They got replaced because something better came along.
Let's see, a carrier strike group is something like $20-30 billion? And there are 11 of them? Let's go with $20 as working number.

Strike, sea control (anti-fleet), commerce raiding missions: For the price of one CSG you could get 50 B-1s, let's call them PB-1s. Load them up with 20-30 cruise missile apiece, and that's 1000-1500 cruise missile on a single full inventory strike. Get at least three CSGs worth, so 150 PB-1s. (Or you could get about 40 B-21s (PB-21s) per CSG at the price of less missile but a gain in stealth). Those could prove useful. Either way, you wind up with the firepower to sink anything your satellites can find, and hit ports and air bases from too far away for them to intercept your bomber "alpha strike".

Blockade and commerce raiding missions: for the price of one CSG you could get 40 A26/Blekinge class AIP submarines. Two CSGs worth would be 80, which I suspect could do a decent blockade job. Or you could just load the PB-1s up with anti-shipping missiles and sink everything in the region.

Mid-Ocean escort: personally I like the idea of CVEs made from neo-panamax tanker hulls, but for the price of one CSG you could get a dozen or so Cavours. Develop ASW and AEW versions of the Osprey or better yet the V-280 (no deck heating since the engines don't rotate, only the props do), add in a handful of F-35Bs, and you have naval rather than civilian built ships with built in self-defense capability. They would need escorts, so 20 Sejong the Greats at a billion apiece, and 40 Iver Huitfeldt's at around half that would, when combined with the Cavours, make decent escort groups. They would also work for "gunboat diplomacy" missions and in low threat environments. So that's 12 or so escort groups for the price of 3 CSGs.

So far that's eight CSG equivalents, resulting in 150 PB-1s (or 120 PB-21s), 80 AIP submarines, and 12 CVE escort groups built around Cavours. If a CSG is 30 billion, add 50% to those numbers. So that's strike, sea control, commerce raiding, blockade, show the flag/gunboat diplomacy, and mid ocean escort covered, and I still have 3 CSG equivalents to spend.

At least until ranges increase to the point that anything on the surface anywhere in the world can be threatend, at which time the Cavours would also prove useless and it would be time to develop large capacity submarine transports. But by that point directed energy weapons and electro-magnetic launcher/guns may reach the point that missiles (and by extension aircraft) would prove useless, and who know where that would lead.
 

sferrin

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The thing is, an SSGN does not need the capabilities of a CVN. No need for ASW or SAR helicopters, no need for AWACS, air-defense, air-to-air-refueling, or EW, and most importantly, no need for a huge number of escorts. Costwise you could have 4 Colombia class SSGNs for the equivalent of 1 CVN (not including the escorts). At least for offensive operations in a contested A2AD environment, against a peer-opponent, SSGNs seem to be the better option going forward.

A new cruiser with large magazines capable of handling HGVs would be quite useful, but not something Kirov-sized. At that point you are having the same problems of a CVN of putting too many eggs in one big basket. A cruiser in the 15,000 ton range where you can build many of them would be better by giving the enemy more, and less valuable targets.


And how do you control the air with an SSGN? How do you control the sea with an SSGN. How do you make the same political statement with an SSGN? How do you support troops with an SSGN?
 

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If you cared to read my two posts, you'd see I did say that carriers have the flexibility to stick around (unlike battleships) and would still be capable of accomplishing secondary missions. I also said that SSGNs where the best option specifically for offensive operations in a high-threat environment, the tip of the spear if you will. The carriers would not go away, you would just not lead with them, the SSGNs would clear the path allowing the carriers to operate more effectively. An SSGN has much great chances of surviving in say the Taiwan Straits than a CBG.
 

apparition13

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Getting a bit dizzy with all this round and round.
Let me give you another spin by temporarily switching sides.

Scenario: Taiwan straits crisis, mark 4ish. There's no point deploying a single carrier strike group, it's too vulnerable. But a Task force?

There are five carriers in the Pacific, one in Japan and four on the west coast. There are also 12 Ticos, 40 Burkes, and 11 LCSs (2 Freedoms and all 9 Independences). Admiral Marc Mitscher's ideal carrier task force was 4 carriers, 8 battleships and/or cruisers for close in air defense, and 24 destroyers as a screen. He would have liked more carriers, but that was the maximum number that air traffic control could handle. Since air defense missiles mean the escorts and carriers don't have to be packed in so close to each other a five carrier task force is viable. Using his 1/2/6 ratio, that would be five carriers, 10 Ticos, 30 Burkes, and we'll pretend the ASW modules for the LCSs work and are deployed so let's throw them into the mix too. Plant one next to a carrier for close in ASW. That leaves 2 Ticos and 10 Burkes for general escort duty.

Our task force has 240 combat aircraft, but since it's potentially a wartime deployment let's add an additional squadron to each bringing the total to 300 (although I'd be a lot happier if they were A-12s and NATFs with AIM-152s with an S-3 replacement rather than F-18s and F-35s without an S-3 replacement). Ten Ticos X 128 (or is it still 122?) and 30 Burkes X 96 yields 4160 mk41 cells. I just read the PRC is estimated to have around 200 anti-shipping ballistic missiles, which they are building at a rate of 10 per year. Both numbers, especially the build rate, seem low, but lets go with it. Add in another 1000 or so cruise missiles, and 4160 seems to be enough cells to carry enough SM-3s, SM-6s, and ESSMs to deal with that inventory. Which means the Task Force can fight it's way in and relieve Taiwan, and by the time its magazines are running low a Task Force made up the five Atlantic carriers might be able to arrive to relieve them so they can go reload. Rinse and repeat.

At least for now. In ten years when the inventory has doubled/tripled/whatever? Maybe not.
 

zen

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50 B-1 of which only about 25-30 would be available and to sustain presence in theatre 24/7 would likely cut that down to 5-10 aircraft depending on the distance from an airfield they can be operated from.
IF said airfield is not inside CONUS, then logistics supply is a mixture of airbridge sucking up airlift capacity to sustain it, or by....wait for it.....by ship, port and truck.
 

apparition13

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If you cared to read my two posts, you'd see I did say that carriers have the flexibility to stick around (unlike battleships) and would still be capable of accomplishing secondary missions. I also said that SSGNs where the best option specifically for offensive operations in a high-threat environment, the tip of the spear if you will. The carriers would not go away, you would just not lead with them, the SSGNs would clear the path allowing the carriers to operate more effectively. An SSGN has much great chances of surviving in say the Taiwan Straits than a CBG.
I considered that. Columbias are estimated to be around 5B each, or around 4 for the cost of a CSG. The D-5 missile tubes can hold 7 tomahawks, although there is room to double stack them if launching two stacks can be worked out. Single stacked thats 112, double 224, for 448/896 total. Wiki estimates the 2018 cost of an Ohio at around 3B, so let's say 7 per CSG equivalent. That's 24 tubes, or 168, 336 double stacked, for 1176/2352 per CSG equivalent. Fifty PB-1s could deliver that amount of ordinance in a maximum of 3-4 days for the double stacked Ohio, and keep doing it while the SSGNs would have to spend at least a couple of weeks to go back to port to reload and then return to the battle area. As much as I like SSGNs, bombers seem to me to be the better launch platform
 

apparition13

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50 B-1 of which only about 25-30 would be available and to sustain presence in theatre 24/7 would likely cut that down to 5-10 aircraft depending on the distance from an airfield they can be operated from.
IF said airfield is not inside CONUS, then logistics supply is a mixture of airbridge sucking up airlift capacity to sustain it, or by....wait for it.....by ship, port and truck.
150 PB-1s, based in CONUS, with a capability of one sortie per two days. That's a big enough number that spare part supplies could be maintained more efficiently and economically which should raise availablity, so I'm guessing 50 or so could sortie each day assuming a 2/3rds ready rate. That's 22 missiles per bomber (8 internal, 14 on pylons) if the 3 bays are kept, 30 (16 internal, 14 on pylons) if the Rockwell proposal for replacing the 3 SRAM sized bays with 2 ALCM sized bays is adopted, which would be the option I would go for. You can see what it would look like under the fixed wing B-1 proposals in the B-1 projects thread. Look at post 6 here: https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/threads/rockwell-fixed-wing-b-1-proposals.411/

By the way, since the fixed wing B-1 was estimated to cost quite a bit less than the swing wing B-1, more could be acquired and, since they would be structurally simpler, more could be available.
 

Avimimus

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Well, we have:
- Throwing increasingly large numbers of subsonic (or even supersonic) missiles from aircraft
- 24x7,000kg submarine launched cruise missiles (Project 949)
- Ballistic missiles (maybe a half dozen 15,000kg missiles from a battery)
- Possibly a 2m diameter nuclear powered torpedo (mention as a secondary use for 'Poseidon'/'Status-6')
- 4x4,500kg 650mm torpedoes from an attack submarine (no longer in service)
- Space-based anti-carrier weapon systems (never finished).
- Hypersonic maneuvering warheads (still in development)
This shows a pretty strong desire to counter Carriers... one would think that, with this amount of effort and this variety of systems - something would get through. In addition, we live in an era of excellent optical and radar detection systems which make locating a carrier increasingly inevitable.
_ Subsonic/supersonic missiles from aircraft can be used to attack airfield/destroyer/battle cruiser /OTHR.
_ Ballistic missiles can be used to attack airfield/destroyer/battle cruiser /OTHR
_ Hypersonic maneuvering warheads can be used to attack airfield/destroyer/battle cruiser /OTHR
_ ASAT can be used to attack satellites.
_ Torpedoes and Mine can be used to attack submarine/destroyer/battlecruiser
So if aircraft carrier is obsolete because there are many lethal weapon to attack it, the same argument can be made to OTHR, satellites, any other kind of surface ship, airbase.

Many other types of target a rather smaller, easier to disperse, and well... don't sink. I mean, when you factor in the cost of the airwing - we're talking about a $20,000,000,000 point target.
 

Ronny

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Many other types of target a rather smaller, easier to disperse, and well... don't sink. I mean, when you factor in the cost of the airwing - we're talking about a $20,000,000,000 point target.
I don't think OTHRs are small. And they are not easy to disperse, consider that their size make them stick out like a sore thumb and they can't move like a carrier. Some missiles hitting it still mess it up whether it can sink or not. Other surface ships are smaller than aircraft carriers but not enough to make them any less vulnerable if they are attacked. Most airfields are bigger than a carrier and they are stationary, while they can't sink, the run way will be messed up real good soon, aircraft carrier and destroyers can at least stay away from the danger zone while OTHR, airfield, satellites have no choice but to stay where they are and take it.

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apparition13

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Could somebody explain why China, owner of all the world's uber-terrifying "carrier killers", is turning out aircraft carriers as fast as it possibly can?
They are a prestige item. "Only first rate powers have carriers. We are a first rate power. So we must have carriers."

They could prove useful for intimidating not so close countries. They are modern gunboats.
 

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Tanks can be attacked by anti tank missiles and artillery from outside their attack range, surface to air missile and radar batteries can be attacked by cruise and hypersonic missile from outside their attack range, submarines can be attacked by helicopter and maritime surveillance plane outside their attack range. So far none of them are obsolete. Because there isn't anything that can do their job just as well.
 

sferrin

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Could somebody explain why China, owner of all the world's uber-terrifying "carrier killers", is turning out aircraft carriers as fast as it possibly can?
They are a prestige item. "Only first rate powers have carriers. We are a first rate power. So we must have carriers."

They could prove useful for intimidating not so close countries. They are modern gunboats.
Wow.
 

sferrin

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Tanks can be attacked by anti tank missiles and artillery from outside their attack range, surface to air missile and radar batteries can be attacked by cruise and hypersonic missile from outside their attack range, submarines can be attacked by helicopter and maritime surveillance plane outside their attack range. So far none of them are obsolete. Because there isn't anything that can do their job just as well.

Whoa, whoa, hey now. Don't you go dragging reality into the discussion. We have thousands of B-1Bs we want to buy.
 

Avimimus

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Tanks can be attacked by anti tank missiles and artillery from outside their attack range, surface to air missile and radar batteries can be attacked by cruise and hypersonic missile from outside their attack range, submarines can be attacked by helicopter and maritime surveillance plane outside their attack range. So far none of them are obsolete. Because there isn't anything that can do their job just as well.

All of the weapon systems you list have different signatures, different detection probabilities, and many of them are much cheaper (and thus can be decentralised). Submarines even seem to have be gaining an advantage over acquisition systems in recent decades (although UUVs will likely change this).

Nevertheless, there are constant improvements being made to the quality of acquisition systems and guided weapons.

The result is that all of these targets are under increasing pressure... and there are three types of solution they can employ:
- Overwhelming numbers (i.e. only going up against smaller or less well-equipped enemy forces, or otherwise, presenting more targets than your enemy can effectively attack)
- Increasing stealth (i.e. increasing the probability of getting the first shot)
- Active defenses (i.e. shooting down the guided weapons)

Of these possible approaches the fleet carrier only has the last option. This means investing a lot in missile interceptors, and probably in nuclear powered ships equipped with direct energy weapons. The fate of the carrier rests on the effectiveness of such systems.
 

Foo Fighter

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"Whoa, whoa, hey now. Don't you go dragging reality into the discussion. We have thousands of B-1Bs we want to buy".

You mean we are supposed to be thinking of reality? I have to go rest in a dark room with a pint of something soothing, I'm thinking gin with one ice cube and a slice of cucumber.....
 

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