Last Days of the Supercarrier??

by Steve on March 29, 2006

I think not.

What in the world is this guy smoking? In a post over at The American Thinker, Mike Burleson declares that the resurgence of the diesel/electric submarine signals the end for the supercarrier. I kid you not. His logic is so full of erroneous thought that I can’t believe somebody at AT didn’t kill his post. He starts with:

The giant supercarrier may be entering its last days in the US Navy.

He supports this statement by pointing out that the Navy is retiring its last oil burner, the USS Kennedy (it’s time, she’s old). He then continues down his chosen path with:

This is coming at a time when the big ships are mostly left out of the War on Terror. Al Qaeda has no navy to speak of; the only warships seeing action are patrol ships and frigates hunting pirates in coastal waters.

Really, Mike? Cruise missiles come from what launch platform? Bombs on target and close air support for the troops on the ground are no longer needed? But wait, there’s more:

The increasing menace from comparatively low-cost submarines threatens the behemoths. Once just a threat to merchant vessels, the U-boats of the 21st century have become a direct challenge to the old order at sea.

I must have missed the fact that diesel/electric boats were not a threat to the Carrier Battle Group. I distinctly remember having to locate, track, and attack (in the simulator) those sneaky little bastards in order to graduate from the S-3B Fleet Replacement Squadron, VS-41. (V = fixed wing, S = anti-submarine) Yes, diesel boats are very quiet when running submerged on batteries but they still make noise and they are detectable. Rest assured the Navy is not about to give up its mobile bird farms because a few of the bullies have purchased diesel boats.

For a good laugh read the whole article.

Maybe the Navy will keep the Viking to go out and pound these guys.


Anonymous March 29, 2006 at 15:11

Every ten years or so, ever since the “revolt of the admirals,” at least, some original thinker comes to the conclusion that the days of aircraft carriers are coming to a close.

Hey, at least it got him published!



Anonymous April 6, 2006 at 12:10

Anyone who thinks a diesel electric sub is going to doom the CVN is only hearing that SSKs are quiet. What they forget is that they are pretty much imobile also. They only have a real chance of catching a carrier in confined waters like the Strait of Hormuz. Given that the US knows pretty well where to look, they can flood those areas with ASW assets and have a very good chance of detecting the sub long before he is in any position to prosecute an attack on a CVN. Even Tom Clancy was able to describe this in his book “Carrier”.

SrA Curtis July 19, 2006 at 10:48

If aircraft carriers are in danger of becoming extinct, then why is the UK planning to build two 60-75K ton conventionally powered conventional deck carriers to replace their two thrudeck vstol carriers? Why are the French throwing in with the brits to build a third ship to back up thier Nuclear powered carrier? why are the Indians buying a Stobar carrier equipped with Navalized Flankers off the Russians and planning to build another one indigenously?

I’m not even mentioning the good number of Helo and VSTOL carriers that are currently employed or planned.

The only threat that has a chance in hell against the American super carriers are people in Washington who underestimate capability and versatility that is inherent in the current 100K ton nuclear powered carriers. Even those are few and far between. All it takes is one situation where you need a carrier, and suddenly they get the picture of just what all one can do. Its more then just a floating runway. The things are like having bases that you can put damn near anywhere in the world.

BTW, All of this is being written by a Senior Airman in the US Airforce. That really tells ya something.

SJBill July 19, 2006 at 21:10

I sit wondering of the timeing, and if the author had a USNI membership and subscription to “Proceedings”. Retired admiral and CIA director Stansfield Turner makes the same point, with as little common sense.

Max February 17, 2009 at 15:48

Thank you for your site.

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