Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Floating Coffins

"Over the next few decades the Pentagon is planning to spend more than $50 billion on its Gerald R. Ford class of aircraft carriers. ... Since aircraft carriers are near helpless without a protective ring of about ten destroyers, frigates and cruisers, the military wants to invest in newer versions of these too, at a cost of an additional $50 billion. ... Why won't the next Administration get rid of this white elephant? President-elect Obama simply has too little military expertise to take on the carrier champions, even though his senior adviser on strategic affairs, former Navy secretary Richard Danzig, has in the past called for reducing carrier crew sizes. ... Swarms of small Chinese vessels and aircraft armed to the teeth with smart weapons would quickly sink a carrier. ... In a world of such weapons, aircraft carriers should paint over their identifying numbers and replace them with bull's-eyes. They have had a good 70-year run as capital ships, but their time is over. ... In terms of so-called irregular warfare, the most common form of conflict over the past 60 years, carriers have an insignificant role to play. Air Force planes, small or large missiles and artillery make more effective substitutes", my emphasis, John Arquilla (JA) at Forbes, 8 December 2008.

I agree with JA. I see no future role for aircraft carriers except as targets for enemy missiles and aircraft. I don't see how a carrier could survive a battle with a competent potential enemy like China.

6 comments:

BlackLion said...

I agree that aircraft carriers are outdated in modern warfare.

However, a war with china would end in nuclear fallout and thus npv on investments in irregular warfare against nuclear armed nations would be effectively zero (if not severely negative).

I think a greater npv investment would be diplomatic relations rather than small scale/versatile armaments.

Anonymous said...

O-Man has got a steep learning curve... hoping he goes down the right paths... nation's peril...

Independent Accountant said...

BL:
I don't follow you. If we go to war with China, I have no idea what might happen. We may throw ICBMs at each other, or might not. Are you saying our irregular warfare efforts will prove useless against China and Russia? If so, I agree.

Edgar Alpo said...

Aircraft carriers aren't built to fight formidible powers, they are meant to exploit weak resource rich countries. The fact that they are big targets is well understood. The PTB hope and pray every night that someone will sink one of those big jobs. The people would demand war, and the PTB would stand ready to give it to them.

Independent Accountant said...

BS:
You may be right. Lincoln wanted to resupply Fort Sumpter. He sent an uncoded to message to the fort about this. Before the supplies could reach the fort, the South attacked. Lincoln had his "causus belli". In 1898 the Maine exploded in Havana harbor. No one knows why. It didn't matter. Hearst used the Maine to lever the US into war with Spain. An aircraft carrier exploding off say the coast of Brazil, could be used that way too by some unscrupulous President. There are such people?

Edgar Alpo said...

There are such people?

Behind every Bush and Greenie tree my friend. ;)