Monday, August 20, 2018

What Happens if a Navy Aircraft Carrier Is Sunk?

Are carriers too big to fail?

What Happens if a Navy Aircraft Carrier Is Sunk?

Are carriers too big to fail? If so, U.S. policymakers need to break themselves from the assumption that carriers are the end product of the evolution of naval technology. The United States must maintain its leadership role in military innovation; not fall into the age-old trap of other great powers by absconding modernization and relying instead on time-tested dogma and tradition. In the future our carriers and Navy servicemen may pay the ultimate price due to our complacency and failure to innovate.

Various defense pundits, scholars, and journalists have spent a considerable amount of digital ink debating the various threats to America’s carrier fleet while avoiding a more central question.

In the cliché phrase of our time: Are carriers too big to fail?

Clausewitz tells us, “war is the continuation of politics by other means.” Is there any political situation of such gravity that losing a carrier would be deemed an acceptable risk? In other words, how expendable are carriers? The answer to this question has large implications for the tactical and strategic options available to U.S. policymakers.

Total security from all risk is impossible. The aircraft carrier is not invulnerable to attack. The new U.S. Ford-class aircraft carrier will be a floating home to over 4,000 sailors and comes in at the hefty price tag of around $12 billion dollars. In light of the development and proliferation of anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) weaponry, does this enormous investment of human resources narrow U.S. tactical and strategic options?

What are the implications of the sinking of a U.S. carrier?



  1. The implications are that the entity responsible is about to find out what life is like on the surface of the sun.

    Hot. Very hot. Oh, and pretty short.

    Probably within about 30 minutes or so after the attack.

    These aren't "jeep" carriers from 1944; each one represents a body count larger than 9/11, and 8-10% of the strategic force projection capability of the nation, with an embarked air force on board larger than those of 90% of the world's nations.

    Attacking one as if it's just a bigger dog is going to be the last mistake someone makes before the missiles fly.

    Even odds we'd start with a cruise missile saturation attack on air defense, then follow it up with the mother of all bombing missions by B-52, B-1, and/or B-2 wings.

    And then we'd go after their naval forces, and take out anything larger than the admiral's barge, just to drive the point well home.

    You want to see what an opposing fleet looks like at the bottom of the ocean, turn our attack boats loose and take off the gloves, no restrictions, and no bag limits.

    That takes us to Wednesday of the first week after the carrier is sunk.

    1. Out-fucking-standing analysis.

    2. Question: Is this sort of response, as detailed above, 'baked into the cake' and automatic, or do the Officers currently on-deck have the ability to shut-down such an automatic response?

  2. The Taxpayers will have to foot the bill for a replacement. Lives are cheap.