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Carrier Alternative Weekly

November 26, 2009

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76),FS Charles De Gaulle (R-92),FS Cassard (D-614), guided missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG 69), USS McCampbell (DDG 85) conduct joint operations in the Persian Gulf.

 “I do not have a specific need for an aircraft carrier.”

This amazing statement from a US Admiral is via David Axe, as spoken by the commander of the 4th Fleet Rear Admiral Joseph Kernan, also a former Navy SEAL:

What does 4th Fleet not need? “I do not have a specific need for an aircraft carrier,” Kernan said. His words are a compelling window into the future of naval forces. As maritime security and humanitarian operations become more urgent and widespread, the argument for aircraft carriers grows weaker, while that for cheaper, more numerous amphibious ships and shallow-water vessels — plus surveillance drones — grows stronger.

Just astounding. What does the Admiral require? How about “the Littoral Combat Ship, the Joint High-Speed Vessel and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets.” The latter meaning drones, says Axe.

*****

Japan Unveils Even Bigger Aircraft Carrier Helicopter Destroyer

Plans are underway for a new 20,000 ton “helicopter destroyer” for the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, to complement the recently commissioned 15,000 ton Hyuga, according to Asahi:

The planned helicopter destroyer will have a length of 248 meters, a displacement of 19,500 tons and a capability to transport up to 14 helicopters, 4,000 people and 50 trucks. It would also be able to refuel other ships.
To the untrained eye, the helicopter destroyer looks like an aircraft carrier…

Also to the trained nose, we smell conflict brewing in the Western Pacific. We also find it interesting the Japanese are referring to land wars to justify the giant ship, just as the USN does with its nuclear attack carriers:

As in the Vietnam War and the war in Iraq, aircraft carriers have been a main maritime base of attack for the U.S. military.

Yet, the vessel most required of navies in this new era seems to be small patrol ships to combat piracy.

*****

Neighbors Fret Over Franco/Russian Carrier Deal

Often maligned by proponents of Big Deck aviation ships, the small carriers can stir up considerable trouble, in disproportion to their size, as proved with recent Japanese ships, and with a planned sale of a French helicopter carrier to Russia. Here is the UPI:

But selling Russia Mistral-class ships during the economic slowdown may appear a deft diplomatic move, analysts say.
“Is Paris prepared not only to overlook but to reward aggression, ignore the shredding of a cease-fire crafted and signed by its president, accept the help of Georgia soldiers in Afghanistan but enforce an unacknowledged arms embargo against Georgia and meanwhile sell advanced arms to Russia?” questioned the Georgia Daily.
As a NATO member, France may be pressured by the United States to cancel any prospects of a deal in arms and technology that could be used against Georgia.
Estonia, meantime, has also warned that it may be forced to “take security measures” because Russia would have a “considerable advantage in the Baltic Sea,” the Estonia Free Press reported.

As we often say, any aviation capable warship can be an asset to a Navy, and as we see from the concerns of the small countries around Russia, which she once held captive, small carriers are a major force to be reckoned with.

*****

Reaper’s versus the Pirates

The Navy now are using Reaper drones in the maritime reconnaissance role in the War on Piracy. With its greater persistence, we can see the craft substituting for carrier aircraft from land bases, without expensive escorts, able to operate over a vast distance without refueling. From Strategypage we read:

By carrying no weapons at all, which is how the ones in the Seychelles will operate, they can stay in the air for over 24 hours at a time. The U.S. Air Force is sending 75 airmen to the Seychelles to maintain the two or three Reapers that will be based there. The operators, based in the United States, control the Reapers via a satellite link. This will be the first time the Reaper has been used for maritime reconnaissance. The manufacturer has been pushing the Reaper (which is three times heavier than the Predator) as a maritime reconnaissance aircraft, and this will be realistic test. The reason for doing it now is because the monsoon (rainy) season is over. That means the weather is clear and the seas are calm in the region. This is perfect pirate weather, as they can spot large merchant ships, and go after them in their speed boats.

A fully equipped, for maritime patrol, Reaper costs over $20 million each. Such a reaper can spot ships below night and day, and has cameras that can zoom in on any ship or speedboat for a detailed video close up. A P-3 aircraft can only stay in the air for half as long as a Reaper, but carriers more sensors and weapons. A P-3 also requires a larger ground crew, and more maintenance after each flight.

We can also see the drones standing in for Navy helicopters on occasion, operating with non-aviation ships like patrol vessels or corvettes. While there are such substitutes available for aviation ships, as we see with the Reaper and its unmatched range, we see no such stand-in for warships in the sea control mission, anymore than we will ever lose a requirement for boots on the ground!

*****

“the last of the big carriers”

Again we hear from Strategypage on something which makes so much sense. Concerning aircraft carriers, less would be more:

While the navy would prefer to design and build the first generation UCAVs for use on existing carriers, these smaller and cheaper aircraft go together well with smaller and cheaper carriers. This means the Ford class may be the last of the big carriers. That’s because UCAVs mean you can get more aircraft on a carrier, and that creates a traffic jam type situation. Moreover, the widespread use of smart bombs means you need fewer bombers over the target. A 50-60,000 ton carrier, with three dozen F-35Bs, UCAVs, UAVs and support aircraft, can be as effective as a Nimitz with 70 F-18s and support aircraft. Thus the Ford class may not completely replace the Nimitz class on a one-for-one basis. The sharply rising cost of building American warships may force the adoption of a smaller, cheaper, carrier class. Much like the Seawolf subs were replaced by the Virginias and the DDG-1000 is being replaced by, well, something smaller and more affordable.

I think Mr Dunnigan and company just committed heresy, but the truth will set the Navy and its stretched thin budget free.

*****

 Single Carrier Seeking Fighter

We continue to watch with interest India’s uphill attempts to replace its aged naval air wing with newer vessels. Ongoing for decades has been their struggle to replace older VSTOL ships purchased from Britain with a truly modern fixed-wing vessel. Here is more on this story from the Times of India:

With the development of the naval version of the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) floundering, the Navy has launched a hunt for a new fighter to operate from its aircraft carriers in the pipeline. Navy has issued an RFI (request for information) to several global aviation majors, including American Boeing, French Dassault and Russian MiG companies, for ‘an alternate deck-based aircraft’.

‘‘Information is being sought to acquire over 40 fighters for the 40,000-tonne IAC-I (indigenous aircraft carrier), being built at the Cochin shipyard and expected to roll out by 2014-2015 now, and IAC-II, which will follow later,’’ said a source.

As reported by TOI earlier, lack of long-term strategic planning has meant that the 28,000-tonne aging carrier INS Viraat is fast running out of its Sea Harrier jump-jets, even as the first lot of MiG-29Ks for the 44,570-tonne Admiral Gorshkov will begin arriving in a few days but the carrier itself will come from Russia only in early-2013.

They may actually/eventually pull this off. But after decades of distraction, billions of dollars spent, we have to question whether it will be worth it all, when there are so many other alternatives to fixed-wing airpower? Not that such vessels aren’t useful, but we have to wonder if its worth stretching a nation’s resources to the limit, when the major threat at sea seems to be pirates in speed boats, terrorists who attack from the sea, or submarines which have little to fear from Big Decks, though the opposite isn’t true.

What does India really require? Lets hear from one of their own, defense analyst Maroof Raza, also writing in the Times:

What we need immediately to prevent a Mumbai-II are not two or more aircraft carriers and 126 new fighter jets, but new maritime reconnaissance aircraft – like Northrop Grumman’s Nimrod MRA4 or the Boeing P81 multi-mission aircraft – and more ‘eyes in the skies’ with AWACS and remotely flown UAVs, as well as replacements for our aging fleet of AN32 and IL76 transport aircraft. More than longer range artillery guns, the army needs to replace its old war horses like the HSA316B Chetak and the HS315B Cheetah helicopters. But above all, we must modernize the cutting edge of our sword – the infantry units – as a multi-terrain force to fight tomorrow’s dirty wars. And we must do that fast, because terrorists aren’t going to wait eternally before they hit us again.

*****

27 Comments leave one →
  1. D. E. Reddick permalink
    November 30, 2009 3:58 pm

    There’s yet another, new thread about the JMSDF 22DDH helicopter (carrier) ‘destroyer’ at MilitaryPhotos.net. Three different images of the projected 22DDH are provided in post # 8 of the thread, with two of them providing a comparison to the currently deployed 16DDH Hyuga-class helicopter destroyers.

    While the smaller Hyuga mounts a 16-cell MK 41 VLS with sixteen ESSM plus twelve ASROC and two 20 mm Phalanx CIWS, the newer and larger ship is shown having no VLS and four CIWS. On a ship the size and value of the newly projected 22DDH I would have thought to see at least a 32-cell MK 41 VLS for increased numbers of ESSM and two RAM launchers. The new design seems woefully under-armed for what I would estimate to be its value to the JMSDF.

    http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=169760

  2. B.Smitty permalink
    November 29, 2009 1:09 pm

    Tarl said, “On the other hand, if you have long-range UCAVs like the X-47B, then one carrier can strike both locations simultaneously.

    With working air refueling, UCAVs from carriers could strike targets several thousand miles away.

    From here,

    For example, a carrier at Pearl Harbor ordered to respond to a developing crisis in the Taiwan Strait could immediately set sail and launch a flight of UCASs. These aircraft would arrive over the Strait (approximately 4,450 nm distant) in just over 10 hours given a 450 knot cruising speed and two aerial refuelings. Furthermore, the aircraft could persist over the Strait, even in the face of advanced Chinese air defense systems, for over five hours before having to be refueled again. By launching and recovering successive flights of UCASs, a carrier could maintain a persistent presence over the Strait days prior to current carriers, and increase the density of its coverage as it closed the range.

    You can’t do this with a Fire Scout or F-35.

  3. Tarl permalink
    November 29, 2009 11:11 am

    Proven that operationally in combat already have you? {smirk}
    Your teleportation technology must be really superior. {guffaw}

    Hmmm, not much brain behind that smirk, is there? In case you haven’t been following the news, UCAVs have proven themselves operationally in combat over the past decade, they’re hardly teleportation technology. The X-47B is going to take off and land from a carrier sometime in the next couple of years, so that’s hardly teleportation technology either.

    If you want to strike two widely separated locations simultaneously (e.g. Afghanistan and Sudan as we did in 1998), and all you have are short-ranged manned aircraft, you need two carriers on station. On the other hand, if you have long-range UCAVs like the X-47B, then one carrier can strike both locations simultaneously. Ergo, the carrier is, in effect, in two places at once. If you have longer-ranged aircraft, you need fewer bases, and this is as true for sea-based aircraft as it is for land-based aircraft. (Duuuurrr, figure it out already.)

  4. B.Smitty permalink
    November 29, 2009 9:22 am

    Tarl said, “The pirate situation proves nothing more than our own political weakness.

    More like political indifference.

  5. Heretic permalink
    November 29, 2009 9:20 am

    With refuelable, long-range UCAVs, the carrier is already in two (or more) places at once.

    {hysterical laughter echoes off the padded walls}

    Proven that operationally in combat already have you? {smirk}
    Your teleportation technology must be really superior. {guffaw}

    “So certain are you. Always with you it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say? You must unlearn, what you have learned…”

  6. Tarl permalink
    November 29, 2009 1:19 am

    This is such a last-century argument.

    This is such a weak response to it. PGMs, UAVs, SSNs, and ASCMs are from “last century” – should they be thrown out, too?

    Why concentrate all your firepower on a few platforms when you could spread among other ships, especially when the aircraft are so much more capable than the 1950s when the supercarriers were first deployed?

    For one thing, it is a lot cheaper to man and operate one CSG based on one large carrier than two CSGs based on two medium-sized carriers (or whatever you call the 50-60,000 ton class). For another, it is precisely because the aircraft are more capable that you don’t need more than one carrier. With refuelable, long-range UCAVs, the carrier is already in two (or more) places at once.

    We need more Fords, less Ferraris, as proven with the pirates running rings around us,

    The pirate situation proves nothing more than our own political weakness. Take, sink, burn and destroy the pirates and their bases, and the problem goes away. If the British could do this with sailing ships, we can certainly do this with CVNs. We do not need a bunch of corvettes floundering around off the coast of Somalia, what we need to do is grow some cojos (or go away and forget about the pirates).

    as well as ongoing difficulties building planes for our 100-aircraft giants.

    It is not the carriers that are the source of the problem, it is the aircraft program, and the F-35 problem will not go away if we switch to smaller carriers.

    It isn’t necessary, and no longer affordable, as we see with ongoing decline in the number of Big Ships.

    I don’t agree that big carriers with UCAVs are “unaffordable”. But even if one accepts this, then again, two CSGs with “medium” carriers will cost more and be less affordable than one CSG with a large carrier.

    Build small or die.

    Build small and die is more like it.

  7. Joe permalink
    November 28, 2009 5:42 pm

    It makes no sense to send $2 billion Burkes to chase after dimestore pirates…but as to the pirates themselves, I give props and quote what I had silently amened from poster Byron the other day about the situation:

    Everyone is citing Naval history in the fight against pirates; what they fail to mention, is that all succesful anti-pirate operations required destruction of the pirates land base to finish the campaign.

    And regardless of the size of the decks they’re building, the Navy has the opportunity to put on all of its carriers just about the cheapest manned fighter (F-18 SH) in Western airpower. Boeing has offered the Navy AESA-equipped SHornets for $50M per, and if we got smart and rolled into that buy the needs of the ANG and replacement of its aged F-16s, the price would likely be even lower.

    And that makes “Ford vs Ferrari” sense whether you are talking modified LHA-6s, Ford-class carriers, or even Cavour-class decks.

  8. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 28, 2009 1:45 pm

    Tarl said “And a Nimitz with 100 UCAVs is even more effective than a 50,000 ton aircraft with 36 aircraft! ”

    This is such a last-century argument. Why concentrate all your firepower on a few platforms when you could spread among other ships, especially when the aircraft are so much more capable than the 1950s when the supercarriers were first deployed? We need more Fords, less Ferraris, as proven with the pirates running rings around us, as well as ongoing difficulties building planes for our 100-aircraft giants. It isn’t necessary, and no longer affordable, as we see with ongoing decline in the number of Big Ships.

    Build small or die.

  9. Tarl permalink
    November 28, 2009 12:23 pm

    Actually, a “traffic jam situation” argues for more decks to fly from rather than a bigger, singluar, carrier.

    Or a high sortie rate on the big carrier.

    Anyway, if you’re operating long-endurance UCAVs, you are not going to have a traffic jam in the first place, because they can stay up long enough that you can space them out. They don’t have to all take off or land at the same time.

    *IF* I can get 3 catapults on a CVLN for half the price of a CVN with 4 catapults … by buying 2 CVLNs for the price of 1 CVN

    A 50-60,000 ton carrier isn’t going to cost half the price of a CVN.

  10. ProwlerAMDO permalink
    November 28, 2009 11:59 am

    Heretic

    That would sort of be the idea. Although Midway only had two at about ~74K tons at decommissioning, and I think De Gaulle has only one at around ~42K tons. With good design hopefully you could get three on a CVLN that’s 2/3rd cost of the big decks once you build more of them due to amortizing the development costs over a longer production run. (Also think you could just put 1 A1B reactor in each and use all the same tech, i.e. EM catapults, from the big decks to lower non-recurring development costs for the class.) This would give you more decks overall, which would allow the flexibility of using the CVLN’s to patrol the Gulf or HOA or Korea etc. and save the big decks for more important missions. You could also increase carrier coverage worldwide, something that would help in deploying ISR assets and strike assets from the deck against remoter parts of Africa and Middle East to do “predator strike” like ops against Islamic extremists there. I’d rather put a CVLN into Apra than a Ford or Nimitz too due to the vulnerability, and due the op tempo in HOA/Gulf wonder if you could forward base one in Naples. Also, since a flight deck is pretty much maxed out in a 12 hour a day cycle in a battlegroup concept in a state on state war you could pair a CVN and CVLN with the CVN taking the primary heavy sortie rate portion of the day to hit the enemy and the CVLN providing CAP and supplementary strikes for the other 12 hours.

    But, because you are losing the economy of scale of the big decks, although you’d have more decks per dollar overall you would have less aircraft per dollar in the end.

  11. Heretic permalink
    November 28, 2009 9:24 am

    Uh, whut? A “traffic jam situation” argues for a larger carrier not a smaller one.

    Actually, a “traffic jam situation” argues for more decks to fly from rather than a bigger, singluar, carrier. *IF* I can get 3 catapults on a CVLN for half the price of a CVN with 4 catapults … by buying 2 CVLNs for the price of 1 CVN I’ve got 6 catapults and 2 landing decks, versus 4 catapults and 1 landing deck.

    The term you’re looking for is “Bang For Buck” I do believe.

  12. leesea permalink
    November 28, 2009 1:13 am

    Mike you really must be more careful in citing ANYTHING David Axe says about naval matters and maritime affairs – he is a lowly landlubber.

    Beside RADM Kernan LEFT C4F about 9 months ago, so the conversation at least should have been noted as old dope!

    The carriers do deploy for operations in the that AOR some with previous UNITAS exercisesBUT none recently to my memory? There were some LPHs in the old CARGs way back when I did those.

  13. Tarl permalink
    November 27, 2009 8:05 pm

    One can’t generalize from “we don’t a CVN for operations in Latin America” to “we don’t need CVNs anywhere”. The Admiral operating in Latin American waters better not need a CVN, because he’s not going to get one. They are quite busy elsewhere!

    any aviation capable warship can be an asset to a Navy,

    As, when, and where the USN permits it.

    I can’t recall the Navy ever deploying a carrier to the 4th Fleet AOR other than to switch east coast and west coast basing

    Cuban Missile Crisis and Grenada.

    Regarding the strategypage article:

    Combat UAVs (UCAVs) weight about 20 percent less than manned aircraft, and cost 20-30 percent less.

    I don’t know where he’s getting that idea from, but it’s not true. UCAVs weigh whatever you want them to weigh, there is nothing inherently “lighter” about them. The X-47B weighs about the same as an F-35 (45,000lbs loaded).

    This means the Ford class may be the last of the big carriers. That’s because UCAVs mean you can get more aircraft on a carrier, and that creates a traffic jam type situation.

    Uh, whut? A “traffic jam situation” argues for a larger carrier not a smaller one.

    A 50-60,000 ton carrier, with three dozen F-35Bs, UCAVs, UAVs and support aircraft, can be as effective as a Nimitz with 70 F-18s and support aircraft.

    And a Nimitz with 100 UCAVs is even more effective than a 50,000 ton aircraft with 36 aircraft! Smaller carrier with UCAVs good, larger carrier with more UCAVs even better. Duh!

    When all is said and done, I doubt a 60,000 ton CV would be appreciably “cheaper” than a 90,000 ton CVN.

  14. ProwlerAMDO permalink
    November 27, 2009 1:18 pm

    Mike

    You make some interesting points. Personally if I had my druthers Somalia and patrolling off the Koreas would be the force sizing scenarios for the type of smaller carriers you generally advocate, although I’m still thinking catapult equipped so they can fly the longer range UCAV’s and JSF’s to supplement a core of a few remaining big decks in case of a state on state shooting war, i.e. Midway sized or De Gaulle sized. Having been onboard CVN’s in the Gulf during the GWOT they are overkill for those missions. We could swap some CVN’s and maybe some LHA’s for some, oh, call them CVL’s or CVLN’s for Light.

    As for India though I don’t think it’s an either/or situation. Coast Guards are generally very cheap and don’t necessarily require you to “give up the ship” (pun intended) on pursuing a carrier or two. And to be honest the war on terror is primarily a doctrinal and national will problem vice a technology and force structure one. Force structure wise we need more infantry (and more importantly, the national will to win) and the Navy contributes little beyond some SpecOps, EW and ISR. To win the war we need more of a focus on COIN and local governance and less on technology. My fear is that the American techno-centric way of thinking about war will lead us down the Chimera of believing technological changes to our forces will lead to success in the war vice far more important cultural, training, personnel and doctrinal changes, which almost literally don’t cost anything. In other words I wouldn’t use the argument that carriers aren’t being used much in the war on terror as an argument against them. It’s both irrelevant (not the mission they’re held in reserve for, i.e. we haven’t used our nuclear arsenal in the war on terror either, should we get rid of it?) and dangerously off point since it carries the specter of poisoning our thinking away from where we really need to make changes.

    I do like your argument for a more dispersed set of smaller carriers to apply swarming tactics (if I understand it correctly.) But there’s an important caveat there I don’t think has been mentioned. For bombs on target any way you cut it a large deck is more cost efficient. Smaller decks means fewer number of aircraft per I-level on each ship, per crewman on each ship, per ton of ship acquired, etc. Yes, it’s more vulnerable and carries the threat of putting your eggs in one (or too few) baskets with the big decks, but if it ever came to blows with China or Iran numbers would matter and it would disingenuous to argue that a carrier force of smaller decks would be more cost efficient. It would not be. We could save money overall with a force of smaller decks, it would probably be more flexible, but we would have even less capability per dollar at the end of the day.

  15. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 27, 2009 9:20 am

    So is this the only place where this statement wouldn’t be true? How about currently off Somalia? Then there are recent actions between NK and the South. Also, in the recent Mumbai attacks on India, from the sea, a CV might not have been much help. Now they are beefing up their coast guard and rightly so.

    Looking at the Big Picture, the Admiral’s opinion seems to be the trend.

  16. Matt permalink
    November 27, 2009 7:54 am

    Mike – I don’t think one can infer anything global from C4F’s statement. Except for an occassional exercise (UNITAS, etc.) I don’t think we’ve ever deployed a CVN to that area.

    C4F is definitely a “one-off” case There is no peer competitor in the region,and the majority of its missions will likely counter-drug, HA/DR, and showing the flag. Heck, it wasn’t even a fleet until last year. Of course they don’t need a CVN. They probably don’t need an SSN or DDG either. It’s probably the one theater where LCS (sort of) makes sense.

  17. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 27, 2009 5:23 am

    “what is the mix of manned/unmanned that you would promote?”

    Obviously the manned would outnumber the manned first because we are just not there yet concerning training. That is too bad becasue the Navy introduced UAVs at sea with the Iowa battleships and in combat in 1991. The Army and Air Force has been there throughout this decade.

    But please don’t get too caught up with platforms. These days, rather than how many planes we can get to sea, it is how many precision weapons we can deploy effectively. The planes themselves have become motherships in their own right, which has decreased the importance of Big Decks, just at the time when the Navy has whole-heartedly rejected smaller alternatives, then wonder why they have stretched thin force structures and even a modest 313 ship navy an unattainable goal.

    Instead of a handful of Big Decks, with power concentrated, you have a dispersal of very effective airpower with one bomb one hit, technology we didn’t have in the 50s and 60s when the supercarriers were first deployed. Now you are everywhere, giving your adversaries something to worry about, instead of you worrying they will sink your handful of targets.

  18. Joe permalink
    November 26, 2009 7:17 pm

    Mike,

    When you say A 50-60,000 ton carrier, with three dozen F-35Bs, UCAVs, UAVs and support aircraft, can be as effective as a Nimitz with 70 F-18s and support aircraft, what is the mix of manned/unmanned that you would promote? Which current or planned UCAVs do you have in mind that would max out this mix?

  19. Armchair Commodore permalink
    November 26, 2009 6:52 pm

    Mr. Burleson,
    With all due respect I must agree with Prowler. While I completely agree that the role of the carrier must be re-assessed and adapted for the 21st century there is nothing astonishing about COM 4th Fleet’s statement. 4th Fleet is a different type of command requiring more of the assets you promote on this site. This was known going in and is part of the establishment of 4th Fleet. 4th Fleet is a different type of animal that requires a new force structure. Please do not overstate this comment from 4th Fleet, doing so actually dilutes your argument.

  20. D. E. Reddick permalink
    November 26, 2009 2:48 pm

    Michael,

    So, BAE is now a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman? ;-)

  21. m.ridgard permalink
    November 26, 2009 2:13 pm

    Defence analyst Maroof Raza writing in the Times of India states,we could do with something like Northrop Grummans Nimrod MRA4.
    I’m sure with his knowledge of military aircraft he would without doubt be able to secure himself a job with the Times of London,they also have defence ‘experts’ who are well known for their ‘in depth’ grasp of all affairs military.

  22. ProwlerAMDO permalink
    November 26, 2009 1:54 pm

    Mike,

    I’m unfortunately not familiar with your background but have you served in the Navy? I can’t recall the Navy ever deploying a carrier to the 4th Fleet AOR other than to switch east coast and west coast basing (actually, since 4th Fleet is a few years old I’m talking about South America vice strictly the “4th Fleet.”) So I fail to see the notability here. It’s no change whatsoever. The sun also continues to rise in the east.

    Also, the Navy makes significant investments in subs, special forces, the LCS (I agree with you that it sucks though) and other capabilities. I seriously think you’re making a straw man of carrier advocates and the Navy in general and that does a dis-service to your level of intelligence and to actual debate on what number and mix of types of carriers, if any, is right for the current environment.

  23. November 26, 2009 1:48 pm

    “Northrop Grumman’s Nimrod MRA4”

    ?

    There is a theory in Security Studies that states like ape more powerful states. Somewhere in the Indian collective mind there is something that says to be like the US we need aircraft carriers.

    Or perhaps they see a need to be able interdict Chinese trade across the Indian Ocean should the two emerging super powers come to blows?

  24. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 26, 2009 1:27 pm

    Prowler, for the US Navy, this is a profound moment, who thinks the only tool for all eventualities are hammers only (and not the Walmart kind, but the gold-plated $800 ones!).

    Yeah, even for the Southern Command, this is a notable occasion.

  25. ProwlerAMDO permalink
    November 26, 2009 1:18 pm

    Good God! 4th Fleet’s area of responsibility is SOUTH AMERICA!!! This isn’t “amazing” at all nor an indication of the future. Why not ask the Coast Guard whether they need a carrier while you’re at it? I read this blog occasionally and post even less, but the any and every argument against carriers hyped to the n-th degree is getting a little long in the tooth. Seriously, you’re smarter and better than this!

    On another note, Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  26. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 26, 2009 12:57 pm

    Thanks DE, and Happy Holiday!

    Yeah, Military photos always has good stuff.

  27. D. E. Reddick permalink
    November 26, 2009 12:25 pm

    Mike,

    There’s a thread about the projected JMSDF 22DDH helicopter destroyer at MilitaryPhotos.net. It includes a discussion regarding its function and confirmation that it remains in the budget of the new Japanese government. And in post #4 there is a new image of of what these huge destroyers will look like, once built. This image is different from the one included in an earlier thread where we also discussed this projected class of ship.

    Larger Hyuga Class Carrier on the way!

    http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=169355

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