Are aircraft carriers too vulnerable?

Avimimus

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The fate of the carrier rests on the effectiveness of such systems.

When has it not?

Well, arguably early carriers faced relatively low chances of detection at the distances they functioned from... and when they could be detected at long range it was usually by another carrier (at least in the Pacific). Of course, interception and anti-aircraft guns were still very important (and even showed superiority over torpedo bomber attacks).

In any case, they were benefiting from the second as well as the third option.

As for the first option... I remember reading an American simulation which showed that having widely spaced carrier (where only one was likely to be found and hit at a time) would've been much more effective for the Japanese... if Japan had built more smaller carriers or organised their carriers into forward and rear divisions... Midway might've been different. This may well be the case even if the smaller carriers were individually much more vulnerable and were also less efficient due to their smaller volume (i.e. fewer aircraft per ton of displacement).
 

Dilandu

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IMHO, but the good way to increase the survivability of the carriers would be to have many cheap, unmanned decoy boats with radar repeaters, capable of simulating the carrier & escort ships return signatures (ideally infrared too, but here would be more technical problems...). You could both confuse the enemy where your carrier really is (by simulating the fake carrier groups), and what signature exactly is your carrier (by putting decoy ships into carrier order).
 

sferrin

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The fate of the carrier rests on the effectiveness of such systems.

When has it not?

Well, arguably early carriers faced relatively low chances of detection at the distances they functioned from... and when they could be detected at long range it was usually by another carrier (at least in the Pacific). Of course, interception and anti-aircraft guns were still very important (and even showed superiority over torpedo bomber attacks).

In any case, they were benefiting from the second as well as the third option.

As for the first option... I remember reading an American simulation which showed that having widely spaced carrier (where only one was likely to be found and hit at a time) would've been much more effective for the Japanese... if Japan had built more smaller carriers or organised their carriers into forward and rear divisions... Midway might've been different. This may well be the case even if the smaller carriers were individually much more vulnerable and were also less efficient due to their smaller volume (i.e. fewer aircraft per ton of displacement).


And during the Cold War when the USSR had satellite tracking, Bear BAMS, and things like Oscars, Backfire/AS-4/15, etc. etc. etc.? I'd argue, if anything, carriers are LESS vulnerable today because of the greater ability of the CVBG to deal with the other guys "eyes".
 

Desertfox

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In the middle of the Pacific under EMCON, sure. But in the Taiwan Strait while conducting air ops? That's a whole different ball game, especially if hostilities have not commenced and you can not target their OTHR and other ISR assets, and once you start air ops AWACS has a chance at spotting you. Remember that your F/A-18s don't have long legs, nor the tanker support they used to have, that means those carriers are going to have to come in closer and have less room to hide.
 

Ronny

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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.
Yes, those I mentioned have different signature, detection probabilites and price from the carrier. But their detection and engagement range is much shorter than a carrier, their active defensive system is worse than a carrier, and weapons used to attack them are also much cheaper than weapons used to attack the carrier. For example: tank are cheaper and more numerous than carrier but RPG, Mines, AGM, Artillery are much cheaper and numerous than ballistic missiles and hypersonic missiles and a tank also have much short engage range than a carrier and weaker defensive suite. So the same argument about carrier vulnerability can also be made about a tank. So far none say tank are obsolete. On the other hand, OTHR are big and have huge signature, they don't have any form of stealth or camouflage, they aren't cheap, they are not used in overwhelming number, they have every disadvantage of a carrier with the added disadvantage of not able to move. So far, none say OTHRs are obsolete.

In the middle of the Pacific under EMCON, sure. But in the Taiwan Strait while conducting air ops? That's a whole different ball game, especially if hostilities have not commenced and you can not target their OTHR and other ISR assets, and once you start air ops AWACS has a chance at spotting you. Remember that your F/A-18s don't have long legs, nor the tanker support they used to have, that means those carriers are going to have to come in closer and have less room to hide.
Is there any reason that huge OTHR with their fixed location can't be attacked?.
1.PNG
MQ-25 tanker can increase F-35C range by 52% from 600 nm to 912 nm (1689 km)
JASSM-XR range: 1000 miles (1609 km)
HSWC range: 3000 km?
So the carrier can attack fixed targets from 3298 km with stealth cruise missiles and 4689 km with hypersonic glider.
 
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Foo Fighter

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Why would you need to target opposition assets prior to commencement of hostilities? I believe that there are a wad of action states for any ship in that region so if they happened to be approached they would act. The cat and mouse game of attack and defence has gone on for thousands of years and will continue, the balance changes slightly from time to time is all.
 

Avimimus

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And during the Cold War when the USSR had satellite tracking, Bear BAMS, and things like Oscars, Backfire/AS-4/15, etc. etc. etc.? I'd argue, if anything, carriers are LESS vulnerable today because of the greater ability of the CVBG to deal with the other guys "eyes".

I wouldn't disagree that there were some points towards the end of the Cold War where carriers were perhaps more vulnerable. However, this does suggest that their position was already a bit marginal - and I suspect that China would be several times more effective at tracking CVBGs today than the Soviets were in the 1980s... more satellites, better satellites, modern drones...

So far, none say OTHRs are obsolete.

Well actually... if we look at what we know of late Soviet doctrine - they would have expended considerable effort to take out AWACs and early warning radar systems... given the number of escorts assigned it is pretty clear that any forward position AWACs would have been lost (even assuming the Su-27 is a highly inferior aircraft and assuming they hadn't finished developing weapons like the KS-172...)

Over the horizon radars would have been hit by cruise missiles and powerful anti-radiation missiles... and most of the ones in Europe would have likely been lost on day one.
 

sferrin

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And during the Cold War when the USSR had satellite tracking, Bear BAMS, and things like Oscars, Backfire/AS-4/15, etc. etc. etc.? I'd argue, if anything, carriers are LESS vulnerable today because of the greater ability of the CVBG to deal with the other guys "eyes".

I wouldn't disagree that there were some points towards the end of the Cold War where carriers were perhaps more vulnerable. However, this does suggest that their position was already a bit marginal - and I suspect that China would be several times more effective at tracking CVBGs today than the Soviets were in the 1980s... more satellites, better satellites, modern drones...

And the US is far better equipped to deal with those now than they were. Let's not forget that SM-3 satellite kill was a software change, that took a measly six weeks to both invent and implement.
 

Ronny

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Way way off topic and one particular contributors content appears to be of highly dubious quality and veracity.
Perhaps we can all agree to stop digging this particular hole?
I don't enjoy explain self-evident thing like air friction by any means but trust me, if I don't argue with him in this thread, he will start copy that content to all threads.
 

Gobloxx

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From 1999-2004 I was an HT which stands for Hull Maintenance Technician. We did a multitude of different jobs. The primary being welding, brazing, pipefitting, sheet metal fabrication, plumbing and of course the part no recruiter openly says sewage... It can literally be a shitty job. I had no problems serving with women in fact my first ship was the USS Kitty Hawk CV-63 homeported in Yokosuka Japan, the so called 911 carrier which meant we were forever gone. Between my 2 ships in 7th fleet we did 20 years of developments in about 6 years, it got to the point I hated wearing my dress uniform because the amount of stars on my different deployment, sea service etc.. was one away from a gold star. It was the only time in my life I could make a grown man somehow feel inadequate so needless to say my life in the Navy was awful after I ran like hell away from the Hawk.

Getting back to topic we were the first platform to experiment with having a significant portion of the crew being female and in the beginning it was rough going. There was one girl I knew who we ended up letting live in the lounge we had made below our shop because they didn't do good job counting bodies and they had no room in a bearthing for her so she had to sleep on the table they used for all the various female examinations.... So our first deployment was interesting to say the least. Forget missiles the quickest way to mission kill an aircraft carrier because that's all you're going to do is mission kill a flattop I'll explain that more below. So the quickest and by far cheapest way to kill an aircraft carrier is get a bunch of females too lazy to use the custom metal bins that should also have a bag in it but then you also have folks too lazy to put said bag in bin. So you get 6-7 females and spread them out to cover all 6 or 7 I don't exactly remember how many separate CHT zones there are. So you first figure out the zones get the people spread out and have them all flush their used tampons down the toilet. The "white" mice as we began to call them slam into the impeller of the $60,000 dollar in year 2000 money. The impeller can't pass the tampon and the tampon heats up and fuses to the impeller destroying said expensive pump. Now you no longer have a sewage system and only have a very narrow margin of before that ship becomes a biological health hazard. Those pumps are not mass produced so said carrier is out of the fight for a good bit.

From experience on the Kittyhawk and my second ship the USS O'Kane DDG-77 we've had 1-2 zones disabled by said lazy folk and it's even worse on an Arleigh Burke class because it's VCHT system is something closer to space age toilets than anything else. So even 1 or 2 down causes lots of problems and on it's own will raise the stress level cause fights to break out etc... Add that to the stress of a combat cruise and it ain't fun.

Yes I stated above you're not going to sink an aircraft carrier, well you could if it was a Kittyhawk class or a Forrestal class but it was due to a design defect in those 2 classes and I believe was solved in the Nimitz class but due to Opsec I don't believe I should even dance around that too much with a vague explanation. It was one of the reasons HT's had to have a secret clearance level the other reason is we had to be able to enter any space on the ship at will. I will go into the ships Achilles heel just a bit. You're not killing any class with cruise missiles we could take those all day long. It was torpedoes the ships had and Nimitz class still do have what's called the TSPS system. Torpedo Side Protection System. As long as it's set up right you have the first void empty which catches most of the blast then a liquid filled void to catch the white hot shrapnel and residual explosive force then another empty void. If you screwed up and set it up wrong and the outer void was full then you made a water hammer and could cause more damage to the ship. So it would require more than 1 but less than 5 very heavyweight Torpedoes of which I will leave the depth out. And it's got 2 hit one spot of the ship to exploit the weakness. You could also nuke us but the Kitty Hawk class was designed to survive and fight after a near miss and the Nimitz can be a lot closer if a miss. The Hawks could be blown into 2 peices and stay afloat the Nimitz class 3 parts.

The other job we did and the one I loved the most was the Flying Squad aka the ships fire department. DC's Damage Control men maintained all the fire fighting and CBRD gear Chemical Biological Radiological and Defense. But the actual jobs were filled by HT's MR Machinery Repairman and of course DC's. I started on the back of the Number 1 attack team as the plugman and rapidly got promoted 12 times up nozzleman then again to Team Leader. Up to that time I was the youngest person to hold that position at 20 years old and most junior ranking having just made E-4, it was generally filled by an E-5 so needless to say I knew what I was doing. My job was to enter whatever affected space that was either on fire, flooding or filling up with toxic gas, find the problem and kill said problem and do it as quickly as possible. So many times the fate of the ship rests in the hands of the Flying Squad, we do our jobs right and don't screw up no one else dies and the casualty doesn't spread to another compartment. And by the time I got aboard in 1999 the Kittyhawk had been ridden hard for decades and that 1200psi steam plant was maintenance hungry and would eat through piping at a fast rate. My first cruise we had 633 casualties which is what fires, floods, toxic gas leaks steam leaks etc... were called. And when the bell was rang and away the Flying Squad followed by what was up and where we needed to go was called out over the 1MC I carried the authority of the Captain. Even if we weren't called away over the 1mc but were working as the Flying Squad I carried the authority of the Captain. It would be important to state they don't like folks running around aboard ship, you could run into people and the ship is an 89,000 ton chunk of steel so you could lose big time running into any of it. We could run so the joke was see an AO running better keep up or outrun that guy, see Flying Squad running get out of the fucking way see security running drop to the deck. So they announce everything over the 1mc and tell people to stand clear of all decks, passageways and ladder walls because we will come running from all corners of the ship to converge on the designated repair locker. You'll also hear us running and we will yell make a hole! If at that point you're still in the way you're about to have a bad day. Something very serious on the ship has happened or is about to happen and they want us to stop it before it starts the ship is more important than you who is stupidly blocking the path of the folks who will die if necessary to keep this ship alive. So we don't brake for anyone but we will mow right through you regardless of rank. My biggest "kill" was a Flag Captain whose mind was elsewhere. Once he picked himself he turned to start chewing us out quickly saw the red hats and changed his tune to sorry boys good luck! Believe it or not there would be people who somehow made it through bootcamp but still felt they were special little snow flakes and they didn't have to move and how dare us touch them. Some idiots would try and stop us by various means. And when those idiots got out of surgery they were quickly hauled up to Captians Mast for a quick reduction in rate for trying to assault the Captain. I've been told the very few people dumb enough to do that had a very surprised look on their face, but, but, but siiir I never hit you...... I know I've written a novel and I have still yet to fully explain why. But I should also state I'm a disabled vet and some of the disabilities are neurological damage, which is why I lurk more than post. My brain can't do anymore right now but I will finish sometime tomorrow.

Me all geared up. FB_IMG_1470466803054.jpg FB_IMG_1470466433210.jpg
FB_IMG_1470466803054.jpg
And on the far right in the other pic, my best friend and Nozzleman is far left.
 
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Grey Havoc

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A major problem with the Ford class CVNs is that they can't take anywhere as near much damage as the Nimitz class carriers. For example, the Ford can't take a near miss from even a small tactical nuke. The designers thought that the USN would never have to go up against a peer or even near-peer competitor ever again (even back then that was an increasingly dubious proposition).
 

TomS

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A major problem with the Ford class CVNs is that they can't take anywhere as near much damage as the Nimitz class carriers. For example, the Ford can't take a near miss from even a small tactical nuke. The designers thought that the USN would never have to go up against a peer or even near-peer competitor ever again (even back then that was an increasingly dubious proposition).

Just curious, but what is the source for this assertion? I haven't heard anything about relaxing shock, overpressure, or EMP hardening for the Ford class.
 

sferrin

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A major problem with the Ford class CVNs is that they can't take anywhere as near much damage as the Nimitz class carriers. For example, the Ford can't take a near miss from even a small tactical nuke. The designers thought that the USN would never have to go up against a peer or even near-peer competitor ever again (even back then that was an increasingly dubious proposition).

If anything I would think the opposite would be true.
 

sferrin

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I know this thread is a little old but I figured some folks might enjoy some insight from an actual expert on what it would take to kill a carrier.

As to the why am I an expert while none of you come remotely close and those fools who wrote those articles are even further off?

If you're really who you claim, your first responsibility would be to STFU. As it is, your post comes across as mostly self-aggrandizement and hot air.
 

starviking

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OK. Lots of folks are on lockdown, and lots are wondering when theirs is going to start.

It’s natural that we are getting new members.

I’m not a Mod, but there are a few aspects of the forum which are different from others.

1. Technical knowledge is Number 1
2. Technical knowledge is Number 1*

* With the proviso that operational expertise is strongly correlated with technical knowledge

So, welcome Gobloxx, but please edit your post to reflect technical/operational expertise.
 

sferrin

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OK. Lots of folks are on lockdown, and lots are wondering when theirs is going to start.

It’s natural that we are getting new members.

I’m not a Mod, but there are a few aspects of the forum which are different from others.

1. Technical knowledge is Number 1
2. Technical knowledge is Number 1*

* With the proviso that operational expertise is strongly correlated with technical knowledge

So, welcome Gobloxx, but please edit your post to reflect technical/operational expertise.

Technical knowledge is great. Spilling OPSEC or proprietary information for bragging rights is immature and could be illegal.
 

apparition13

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A major problem with the Ford class CVNs is that they can't take anywhere as near much damage as the Nimitz class carriers. For example, the Ford can't take a near miss from even a small tactical nuke. The designers thought that the USN would never have to go up against a peer or even near-peer competitor ever again (even back then that was an increasingly dubious proposition).
I thought the reason they sank America was to improve Ford class protection.
 

Foo Fighter

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Almost asking for a ban, why though?
 

Gobloxx

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As to the why am I an expert while none of you come remotely close
How to make a pompous fool of oneself in a single post. Well done!
You're right, it was really late/ early in the morning and I took real life stress online and worded things very poorly. I should have found a better way to word things and I think I'll be going back to lurking.
 

Gobloxx

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OK. Lots of folks are on lockdown, and lots are wondering when theirs is going to start.

It’s natural that we are getting new members.

I’m not a Mod, but there are a few aspects of the forum which are different from others.

1. Technical knowledge is Number 1
2. Technical knowledge is Number 1*

* With the proviso that operational expertise is strongly correlated with technical knowledge

So, welcome Gobloxx, but please edit your post to reflect technical/operational expertise.

Technical knowledge is great. Spilling OPSEC or proprietary information for bragging rights is immature and could be illegal.
I let real life spoil online. Sorry for the posts, honestly I'm a disabled veteran and a newly single parent of a mildly autistic kid, mild but enough to understand the situation at hand and help out. I let my real stress affect people from all over the world. So again sorry to everyone I guess I'm now at a point where I can't do anything right. So should I pull the entire post or leave a header so people aren't confused by seemingly responses to nothing.

I felt like I largely steered away from OPSEC violations that I didn't give enough info to help the "enemy" out. But if I'm wrong I'd gladly listen to what you have to say.

I really seem to have pissed off nearly all of my favorite posters who I have tons of threads written by you guys bookmarked. Again apologies.
 

Gobloxx

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Just putting a separate post out as a general sorry to anyone I pissed off. I've enjoyed reading many of y'alls threads over the years and several have supplied answers and wonderful depictions to questions I never thought I would find an answer to. While I did have a bit of a point about having a lot of first hand knowledge in that certain field looking back at the way I worded things sounded like I had some grudge against the members here or that I was insulted in the past and now I finally had something where I was the expert and all of you aren't. It was never my intention to annoy or insult anyone here I just decided to go into stupid mode and choose about the worst grammar I could. Well I'm sure it's safe to say I made one hell of a first and probably last impression on this forum.

Edit to add that I would like to plead for mercy from the forum as it were. I really have nothing to lose at this point so like I said I one of the responses above I'm a disabled veteran and always in a lot of pain. I'm now a single parent of a mildly autistic 7 year old who can apparently grow out of it. That's a new one to me, growing out of autism. But he's autistic enough to not understand things or how to be a helper. Needless to say my life is unending stress and despair I can't see myself doing this alone for the rest of my life. This forum is where I spend my time when I want to relax and not read on autism. I really don't want to lose my favorite place to spend time. If it comes down to not being banned but losing the ability to post then so be it.
 
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starviking

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Gobloxx,

Edit or pull the post is fine by me. Considering your home situation, pull might be easier, but it's up to you (unless Mods get involved...).

Might be best to start small with this forum, a few small comments, will help you get a feel for what the form is here.

Also, you might want to take a look at the Navweaps Forums: there is a big veteran base there, and even a "Politics of War" forum if you really want to let off steam (a little...)
 

dan_inbox

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You're right, it was really late/ early in the morning and I took real life stress online and worded things very poorly. I should have found a better way to word things and I think I'll be going back to lurking.
Hey, it happens to us all to screw up once in a while. No need to go hide into lurking, just gather yourself and learn from the mistake: share your experiences and learnings without the overbearing tone, they'll be welcome.
 

Archibald

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Wow, hypocrisy running strong here. No surprise some members are on my IGNORE list. Such a useful asset. :rolleyes::rolleyes:
 

Jemiba

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Well, this post was reported, and tone and wording may have been less than perfect, nevertheless I thought it
to be a good insight into the life of an USN aircraft carrier. I let it through, so this is less Gobloxx fault, than mine !

About tone, we occasionally have different kinds here, too, so I would say "Let him who is without sin cast the
first stone.", just to cite a well known book. And his excuse is more, than we have often seen in other cases here !

And watching discussions getting out of control again and again (and nearly always between the same participants !),
I fully agree with Archibald and have recommended the use of the ignore function often enough before.

I would propose "back on topic", not to forget: Welcome Gobloxx !
 

Grey Havoc

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If anything I would think the opposite would be true.

One would think so, but unfortunately no. Back in the 2000s when they were designing the CVN 78 class, the Navy decided that the new carriers could be built to a much less robust standard than the Nimitz class (including a non-reinforced keel) in order to save money for other 'more important' priorities, since no country would be able to ever again face the United States head on (asymmetrical warfare and counter-terrorism was all the rage back then), as well as supposedly speed up construction. This included deliberately downgraded damage control capabilities (a shortcoming I should note that is common to nearly every single western naval design from that period, when COTS and 'spin-on' were still all the rage). And forget about even token nuclear blast resistance (some thought was given to protection against solid state EMI/EMP generators, but ultimately not proceeded with because of cost considerations and the then prevalent 'Transformational' dogmas). I believe that there is at least one GAO report floating around that examines those dubious assumptions behind this decision and others in detail (some of which dated back to early concept & planning studies in the late '90s, when the 'End of History' theory was still very much in favour). That however has come back to haunt the USN big time; not only can't the Gerald R. Ford class carriers take a near miss at distance from the smallest of nukes, it turns out they likely can't absorb even light to moderate damage from conventional weapons (at present it is very easy in theory to mission kill a Ford and probably not much more effort to sink her altogether). Hence for example the Navy's increasingly desperate attempts to hand wave away the FSST requirements for the class. And that is just one aspect of the new carrier's many, many, woes. With both her survivability and seaworthiness now in serious question, it is not for nothing that the first of class has gotten nicknames such as the 'berthing barge' and 'Big Crappy Ship'. Apparent (and I use that word advisably) mismanagement by Huntington Ingalls of the program is just icing on the cake.

To sum it up, the United States Navy wanted a supercarrier on the cheap (relatively speaking), and they thought it would never have to get near, or God forbid, in, a real fight.
 
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Archibald

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Well the French Mistral amphibs have been built to civilian standards and too little self defense weapons. There were serious worries for them when they operated near Lebanon some years ago - because of this
 

Archibald

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If anything I would think the opposite would be true.

One would think so, but unfortunately no. Back in the 2000s when they were designing the CVN 78 class, the Navy decided that the new carriers could be built to a much less robust standard than the Nimitz class (including a non-reinforced keel) in order to save money for other 'more important' priorities, since no country would be able to ever again face the United States head on (asymmetrical warfare and counter-terrorism was all the rage back then), as well as supposedly speed up construction. This included deliberately downgraded damage control capabilities (a shortcoming I should note that is common to nearly every single western naval design from that period, when COTS and 'spin-on' were still all the rage). And forget about even token nuclear blast resistance (some thought was given to protection against solid state EMI/EMP generators, but ultimately not proceeded with because of cost considerations and the then prevalent 'Transformational' dogmas). I believe that there is at least one GAO report floating around that examines those dubious assumptions behind this decision and others in detail (some of which dated back to early concept & planning studies in the late '90s, when the 'End of History' theory was still very much in favour). That however has come back to haunt the USN big time; not only can't the Gerald R. Ford class carriers take a near miss at distance from the smallest of nukes, it turns out they likely can't absorb even light to moderate damage from conventional weapons (at present it is very easy in theory to mission kill a Ford and probably not much more effort to sink her altogether). Hence for example the Navy's increasingly desperate attempts to hand wave away the FSST requirements for the class. And that is just one aspect of the new carrier's many, many, woes. With both her survivability and seaworthiness now in serious question, it is not for nothing that the first of class has gotten nicknames such as the 'berthing barge' and 'Big Crappy Ship'. Apparent (and I use that word advisably) mismanagement by Huntington Ingalls of the program is just icing on the cake.

To sum it up, the United States Navy wanted a supercarrier on the cheap (relatively speaking), and they thought it would never have to get near, or God forbid, in, a real fight.

Frack. WTH is happening to the USN those days ? I knew the LCS ended as a piece of junk, but Gerald Ford supercarrier, really ?
 

sferrin

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If anything I would think the opposite would be true.

One would think so, but unfortunately no. Back in the 2000s when they were designing the CVN 78 class, the Navy decided that the new carriers could be built to a much less robust standard than the Nimitz class (including a non-reinforced keel) in order to save money for other 'more important' priorities, since no country would be able to ever again face the United States head on (asymmetrical warfare and counter-terrorism was all the rage back then), as well as supposedly speed up construction. This included deliberately downgraded damage control capabilities (a shortcoming I should note that is common to nearly every single western naval design from that period, when COTS and 'spin-on' were still all the rage). And forget about even token nuclear blast resistance (some thought was given to protection against solid state EMI/EMP generators, but ultimately not proceeded with because of cost considerations and the then prevalent 'Transformational' dogmas). I believe that there is at least one GAO report floating around that examines those dubious assumptions behind this decision and others in detail (some of which dated back to early concept & planning studies in the late '90s, when the 'End of History' theory was still very much in favour). That however has come back to haunt the USN big time; not only can't the Gerald R. Ford class carriers take a near miss at distance from the smallest of nukes, it turns out they likely can't absorb even light to moderate damage from conventional weapons (at present it is very easy in theory to mission kill a Ford and probably not much more effort to sink her altogether). Hence for example the Navy's increasingly desperate attempts to hand wave away the FSST requirements for the class. And that is just one aspect of the new carrier's many, many, woes. With both her survivability and seaworthiness now in serious question, it is not for nothing that the first of class has gotten nicknames such as the 'berthing barge' and 'Big Crappy Ship'. Apparent (and I use that word advisably) mismanagement by Huntington Ingalls of the program is just icing on the cake.

To sum it up, the United States Navy wanted a supercarrier on the cheap (relatively speaking), and they thought it would never have to get near, or God forbid, in, a real fight.

Yesh. Short of this being some kind of psyops deception thing, I'm less concerned about ending the class. (Provided it's replaced with a bonified nuclear CVN.)
 

kaiserd

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If anything I would think the opposite would be true.

One would think so, but unfortunately no. Back in the 2000s when they were designing the CVN 78 class, the Navy decided that the new carriers could be built to a much less robust standard than the Nimitz class (including a non-reinforced keel) in order to save money for other 'more important' priorities, since no country would be able to ever again face the United States head on (asymmetrical warfare and counter-terrorism was all the rage back then), as well as supposedly speed up construction. This included deliberately downgraded damage control capabilities (a shortcoming I should note that is common to nearly every single western naval design from that period, when COTS and 'spin-on' were still all the rage). And forget about even token nuclear blast resistance (some thought was given to protection against solid state EMI/EMP generators, but ultimately not proceeded with because of cost considerations and the then prevalent 'Transformational' dogmas). I believe that there is at least one GAO report floating around that examines those dubious assumptions behind this decision and others in detail (some of which dated back to early concept & planning studies in the late '90s, when the 'End of History' theory was still very much in favour). That however has come back to haunt the USN big time; not only can't the Gerald R. Ford class carriers take a near miss at distance from the smallest of nukes, it turns out they likely can't absorb even light to moderate damage from conventional weapons (at present it is very easy in theory to mission kill a Ford and probably not much more effort to sink her altogether). Hence for example the Navy's increasingly desperate attempts to hand wave away the FSST requirements for the class. And that is just one aspect of the new carrier's many, many, woes. With both her survivability and seaworthiness now in serious question, it is not for nothing that the first of class has gotten nicknames such as the 'berthing barge' and 'Big Crappy Ship'. Apparent (and I use that word advisably) mismanagement by Huntington Ingalls of the program is just icing on the cake.

To sum it up, the United States Navy wanted a supercarrier on the cheap (relatively speaking), and they thought it would never have to get near, or God forbid, in, a real fight.

Greatly appreciated if you would cite your specific sources for your comments above.
Thanks.
 

Grey Havoc

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Unfortunately, the problems appear deeply rooted in the overall design, not just in the way the construction of the first ship was handled. EMALS for example is still not fixed, despite repeated promises and statements. One of it's major problems is that if one catapult is knocked out, by enemy action or otherwise, the entire EMALS system is knocked out with it, no bypasses or backups available what so ever. And major EMALS repairs still can't be carried out at sea. Classic mission kill. Also, there are ongoing concerns that if EMALS takes enough damage, it could literally explode in the worst case scenario (think a super sized capacitor bomb and you will get a idea for the potential carnage, even without the Ford Class's deficient damage containment and control arrangements). And don't even get me started on the weapons elevators and aircraft lifts...

Greatly appreciated if you would cite your specific sources for your comments above.
Thanks.

The report about the deletion of the reinforced keel and other design short cuts you mean? It was a fair time ago (two computers and three hard drives back) when I came across that. I'll see if I can find it again.
 

Grey Havoc

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From late last year, some of the program's other woes:


 

jsport

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