Saturday, July 08, 2017

Are Light Carriers Poised to Make a Comeback?

Sea Control Ship Concept.

via Popular Mechanics.
The U.S. Navy could find itself sailing smaller, lighter aircraft carriers in the near future if Congress has its way. The upper half of the legislative branch added funding to the 2018 defense budget to study the possibility of building so-called light aircraft carriers, complementing the service's gigantic 100,000-ton nuclear-powered supercarriers. The ships would be used in situations that don't warrant a full-sized carrier, or supplement a supercarrier's firepower in wartime.

The U.S. Senate's 2018 defense bill, according to U.S. Naval Institute News, includes $30 million for "a preliminary design effort to create a light carrier for the service." The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, senator and former naval aviator John McCain, released his own white paper on defense spending in January of this year that called for the U.S. Navy to adopt light aircraft carriers. 
Story here. 

This is ironic on a couple of levels.

The US Navy got themselves into this mess by not properly funding its aviation force.  A Nimitz class carrier that goes out with only 44 airplanes?  Seriously?  At one time those ships regularly had over 100 on their decks!

So instead of adjusting the size of its future carriers it acted as if this reduced complement was normal.  Even the morons in Congress could see the waste in that.

Next they built the Ford class, added a bunch of expensive tech in an effort to save money and improve reliability and it bit them in the ass.  The tech wasn't quite ready for prime time so the ship was way over budget.

Consider that the second self inflicted strike against them.

Of this little tale of Naval Aviation woe wouldn't be complete without the Marine Corps playing "buddy fucker" to the Navy.  How?  Remember when out of NOWHERE we suddenly heard LHA being called L-Class Carriers?  Remember how the Deputy Commandant of Aviation (and the Commandant before him) actively talked about leaving the Ground Combat Element on the dock and sailing off to do light carrier missions instead of supporting the ground force?

I'm not very fond of McCain but if he's looking at the same stuff I am, then the idea of making the Navy build smaller aircraft carriers makes nothing but sense.

Who knew but maybe the Italians had the right idea after all with the Cavour!

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