DC Think Tank Admits That U.S. Aircraft Carriers Are Obsolete

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nimitz aircraft carrier public domain

Without the aircraft carrier, the US Military has no substantial edge over most countries. At a cost of $4.5 billion each, the ten nuclear powered Nimitz class carriers within our fleet, give Washington the ability to project its power to any coastal nation on the planet at a moments notice.

Without these vessels, the United States military would still be formidable, but it wouldn’t be the world-class offensive force that has dominated this planet since the end of the Cold War. There would be plenty of countries out there that our government would no longer be able to strike with impunity. Alternatively, there may be plenty of countries that can, or will soon be able to effectively counter our aircraft carriers.

At least, that’s what a national security think tank known as the Center for a New American Security seems to believe. They won’t come out and say it in plain English, but in a recent report they admitted that our aircraft carriers are basically obsolete. They simply don’t stack up to the defensive capabilities of countries like China…

The report, titled “Red Alert: The Growing Threat to U.S. Aircraft Carriers,” focuses on China’s burgeoning military posture in the Pacific and on a term that is starting to appear with increasing urgency in defense circles: anti-access/area denial, or A2/AD. The term A2/AD refers to a concept that has long existed in warfare: denying the enemy the ability to move around the battlefield. Currently A2/AD strategy is much the same as it was when moats were dug around castles, except that today’s moats are an integrated system of surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship cruise missiles, submarines, surface ships and aircraft — all designed to push enemy forces as far away as possible from strategically important areas.

Or Russia for that matter.

The report highlights China’s capabilities because of its “emphasis on long-range anti-ship missile procurement.” This, coupled with its growing tech base, qualifies China as the “pacing threat” to the U.S. military. China, however, is not the sole architect of an A2/AD strategy designed to deter U.S. operations. In the Baltic, Russia’s naval base in Kaliningrad is known to house a sophisticated air defense network and anti-ship missiles. NATO commanders also have warned of Russian A2/AD buildup around Syria, as Russia has moved advanced surface-to-air missiles into its airbase there as well as a flotilla of ships with robust anti-air capabilities.

But it’s not just Russia and China that are developing these defenses. This is the wave of the future, and it makes a lot of sense from an economic standpoint. It only takes a large and diverse salvo of cheap missiles to overwhelm the defenses of a carrier and sink it, and that costs significantly less than any of our high-tech ships.

As other countries focus on creating sophisticated A2/AD bubbles by using new technology such as drones, advanced missiles and newer aircraft, the United States — by operating as it always has — is putting itself more at risk. According to the report, this is particularly relevant as carrier groups have reduced their long-range strike ability in favor of being able to fly more air missions but at shorter ranges.

“Operating the carrier in the face of increasingly lethal and precise munitions will thus require the United States to expose a multi-billion dollar asset to high levels of risk in the event of a conflict,” the report says. “An adversary with A2/AD capabilities would likely launch a saturation attack against the carrier from a variety of platforms and directions. Such an attack would be difficult — if not impossible — to defend against.”

The truth of the matter is that the aircraft carrier was the perfect weapon for dominating the seas during World War Two, and technically it could still do that. If the US Navy went toe to toe with the Chinese in the middle of the Pacific, our navy would wipe the floor with theirs. But that’s not going to happen.

Russia and China aren’t building vast naval fleets capable of projecting power to every nook and cranny of the globe. They have some offensive intentions and capabilities, as well as a few carriers of their own, but they’re mainly focusing on dominating their own back yards. They’ll venture out from time to time like Russia has done in Syria, but for now at least, they’re catering to their own regional spheres of influence.

And that strategy is clearly working. They put their time, resources, and efforts into creating cheap defensive weapons that can wreck our offensive weapons at a fraction of the cost that it took us to build them. They’re not going to come to us, they’ve made it impossible for us to go to them. And if that’s the case, then our carriers in their present form are now nothing more than multi-billion dollar boondoggles.

Again, this think tank won’t say it in plain English, but the idea of using aircraft carriers for offensive operations against conventional militaries, is basically obsolete. The closest they came to admitting it was in the conclusion of the report, where they stated that the US must re-examine the relevance of the carrier and its air wing and explore innovative options for future operations and force structure. If the United States is to maintain its military superiority well into the future, it cannot afford to do otherwise.”

I guess it’s a good thing we won’t be building anymore of these expensive, cumbersome, and highly vulnerable ships anytime soon, right? Oh wait, nevermind.

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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.

Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .

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  • mirageseekr

    So will we see a replay of Pearl Harbor where our people are left as targets on obsolete carriers to engage us in war?

    • Dunno y

      No its a bit misleading. A south China sea duel would prove to costly for an outdated navy like the U.S…Russian and Chinese navy’s are on high alert the U.S. navy is 60% in dock. With the U.S. losing its proxy war in North east Africa and China gaining naval infrastructure there its all going to be about the Blockades of trades. Little do Americans know Putin already has ships at the most vulnerable points of the sea net crossings. With our way of life so hooked into WWW as the U.S. military at all levels is it doesn’t look good for the west. So the U.S. has to tow a very careful line these days.

      • archer

        Aren’t both ends of the Panama Canal controlled by the Chinese now.

        • lloyd Lisco

          archer, Yes They have a military base at each end of the canal, With the largest container facility in the world in the Bahama Islands. We are literally surrounded.

          • archer

            And to think where they got most of their money and a lot of their technology from.

          • Dunno y

            It reeks of American industrialists that did the same to Germany in the 30s. all of Hitler’s industrial war machine was built on American investment. Those industrialists didn’t pull out till the Russians started pushing the big army’s back. Ok its not quite the same but in history it will look it.

        • Dunno y

          Not quite but nearly there.Obama playing Mr.nice guy to the Cubans is slowing that China front. China has a huge beef with the U.S. about destroying 20billion it invested in Libyan infrastructure. It intends to make the U.S. pay for that debacle.

      • LiberalsRLost

        as they have been needing to ‘tow’ the new Littoral class weeks after being commissioned……
        maybe it’s time we quit being the global bully for the bankers…
        we were warned by Gen. Smedley…

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smedley_Butler

        • Dunno y

          All those generals Obama sacked when he first came to power are all being proved right. Simply the case of you snooze you lose. If Obama had aspiresd to statesmanship instead of being the black wiggle for the tv sleepers we might have had a chance.

      • jim_robert

        Maybe putting more women and gays in the military will help.
        Or not.

        • Dunno y

          Dunno.they could make excellent cheap cannon fodder. I’ll have to ask a general first before being discriminating on that one. Or not.

        • czech2

          hahaha!! Or not.

    • LiberalsRLost

      Well these look pretty slick and if these don’t work then the Magrav will do the trick…

  • bill lopez

    Bull shit.

  • Brett

    eh

  • archer

    They can project power to most of the nations that are technologically backward, but anyone with even late 20th century tech. can cruise missile a carrier, especially if they send enough of them like any adversary with brains would.

    • bill lopez

      That statement is not true. Our modern Navy is more than capable of identifying and defending itself against missile attacks, even multiple missile attacks – carriers don’t travel alone they travel in carrier groups.

      • archer

        I hope you are right, but even with picket ships stopping hyper sonic missles that cost a fraction of a carrier may be too much of a challenge.

      • Nexusfast123

        You have no idea do you. Defence against high missiles will be difficult and potentially impossible. The latest generation of missiles move at Mach 2 (1,500+mph) to Mach 4 (3,000+mph). A rifle bullet is between 800mph and 1,000mph. They can also be fired (fire and forget) beyond the defences of a carrier group by jet, ship and sub. On top of that you have ultra silent subs with cavitating torpedoes (250mph+). The US military is geared up to fight using the lessons of WW2.

  • Many things left out of this article; here are a few:

    1. The Carriers are a projection of power. As other entities increase their tech and abilities, so do we (although, not very well under this current inept administration – but in general). To think that we know the current capabilities of our military and what is at their disposal is foolish.

    2. China is in fact massing a large Navy. However, they are converting cargo carriers to troop carriers and lots of them. You do not do this unless you plan on invading someone, sometime soon. They are also creating their own islands out in the ocean that could be considered an alternative to Carriers in their capacity. I believe that last article I read about this, they had a total of three or four being created.

    3. Carrier fleets are also jumping boards to get small specialized forces anywhere in the world quickly. Most Military operations today are small, decisive, and quick. Any Country who attacks a large Carrier group would be doing so at vast risk to themselves and openly starting a war that would not end well for everyone involved.

  • Jim

    There is really no defense against a ‘swarm’ attack. If you fired a hundred missiles at a target at the same time, one or two are going to get through, and it would be that one or two that cause the most damage. A direct hit on the ‘island’ would no doubt put a carrier out of action, as well as slamming a missle into the hangar bay.

  • Jim

    If you think about it, we are becoming like the Germans in WWII, as in we are becoming obsessed with perfection and technology, while China and Russia are becoming like we were in WWII, as in they are mass producing cheap, expendable weapons that will overwhelm our perfection and technology.

    • archer

      Great anology,”quantity is its own quality”.

    • LiberalsRLost

      That was spoken by a USAF pilot that flew one of the SU35’s…spoke of the difference of US fighters made like a delicate machine to operate only under ideal conditions vice Russian planes made like a Ford…
      not pretty, but tough and takes a beating and keeps on flying…another difference he spoke of is the US pristine airfields and the walk-downs for FOD where as Russian airfields are more like combat locations and real world…so during the take off portion the intakes are shut and diverted to the upper wing area so as not to digest FOD…..
      have to admit the philosophical approaches are a stark contrast…

      • czech2

        yes, and because of this Hollywood pseudo ethics ,the “I think because I think I think ” , whining Nation ,polarized in endless number of imaginary ways , mama’s boys and daddy’s little girls who never grow up , the consumers always drawn to a same light bulb , bureaucracy of Gingerbread Boy forcing its way into any aspect of our lives – the soap bubbles reality which we have to individually see for what it is and re-learn to feed our souls after we find them again.

        • LiberalsRLost

          no doubt our society has been successfully Balkenized by the Luciferian baby eaters in high places…..
          The fact that a corrupt lying killer like Hillery is not in prison is tesitmony to the whole world just how totally overtaken with ignorance Murikah has become….
          One day soon we also will have our own streets look like Latakia…..only a naive fool in murika would believe otherwise…..

          I’ll give a hint; I’ll be in my old Army camo without the red high heel shoes… 😉

      • Nexusfast123

        Big clue….they are designed to fight in combat situation, be rapidly serviced and take punishment.

    • Nexusfast123

      Actually you are so wrong and if you believe the perfection bollocks you are deluded. US defence programs are driven by financial/budget planning. They are designed to soak up the maximum amount of tax payer money. The Russians and Chinese use ‘technology planning’ to produce superior weapon systems that are designed for a purpose.

  • Guillotine_ready

    Actually if you look at it without the rose colored glasses the US is obsolete.

    • bill lopez

      hardly. Tell us about your NWO?

  • nimbii

    I smell the defense contractors’ Cornucopia or pinata of massive defense spending.

    If we feed defense contractors, we must starve government such as eliminating Depts. of Education, Energy, Commerce, HUD, and agencies such as EPA, Fish and Wildlife Service, BATF, and BLM. Any others???

  • bill lopez

    While I agree with the idea of minding our own business – a strong Navy is still required to protect the United States and its Territories from foreign attack. If you think its not, you’re not too bright.

    • LiberalsRLost

      I think there is a big difference….but when level heads were trying to get this message across they were maligned as ‘isolationist’…..
      we have far exceeded the ‘protecting’ our interest…..

    • Nexusfast123

      Big difference between an offensive capability and one that is defensive. Also treating other nations with respect might help.

    • Aircraft carriers are offensive weapons not defensive. They are tools for invasion

  • lloyd Lisco

    The Chinese have a wave skimming rocket propelled missile that travels at about 735 miles per hour at about 3 feet above the wave tops. Because of the earths curvature incoming it is below the horizon, When the phalanx radar sees this incoming missile, The ship will have about 1.5 seconds warning before impact. Should several be fired simultaneously it is almost certain most would get thru.

    • LiberalsRLost

      the conversations clearly revealing the effective brainwashing that the ussa is superior and deserves to tell the world how to run their own countries…
      While the MIC has been getting fat cash with bricks like the F-35 the Russians are building world class fighters and navy all with a total of $50 billion budget versus our 500 billion; speaks more of our corrupt MIC then anything else eh….

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      • Dunno y

        Honestly none of these systems of any country has truly been tested in an epic theatre. Yes the F-35 which is wingless duck was built to make its makers money only. The Russians have designed equipment to be easily, quickly and efficiently built firstly. Reliable and hardworking next. Not net reliant thirdly.lessons they never forgot. If Putin cuts the www. Which he has threatened to do if it gets to heavy,it will destroy our societies and render the U.S. military on all levels useless. Something it was designed to do. So yeah the people we fight for could be our worst enemy’s.

      • Nexusfast123

        Also the phalanx takes over 10sec to acquire a new target. With missiles moving at Mach 2 to 4 that is an eternity. The faster the missile the shorter the reaction time.

    • Dunno y

      Got to like the way they think. The most renowned weapon of these times that has just proven itself greatly is the Russian anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). These are doing most of the heavy ground work in Syria and hugely responsible for the momentum. The west has nothing to compete with it.

  • jim_robert

    Good thing Slick sold all our military secrets to China. Or not

  • Nick

    Yeah, China has cool missiles, so do we. We may have aircraft carriers but we also have missile boats and now missile submarines that carry 175 missiles per boat. The bottom line is that unless China or Russia has made some kind of ground breaking weapons innovations, they’re still outclassed.

    • Nexusfast123

      What comics have you been reading? The US did not know that the Russians had very accurate cruise missiles launched from small platforms, advanced jamming capabilities, sophisticated multi-faceted radars, multiple very high speed missiles, new ICBM and SLBM, etc.

  • Nexusfast123

    The reality is that carriers path to obsolescence started when they developed anti ship missiles. The next war is generally fought using the lessons and tactics of the last war. The aircraft killed the battleship and the missile (and super silent subs) will end the carriers.