Are aircraft carriers useful in a war situation?
Aircraft carriers of some of the biggest ships ever built and are therefore very impressive, as well as being extremely expensive to build and operate.
Here is expert opinion on the usefulness of aircraft carriers in the first Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm, 1990-1991.
“Little in Desert Storm supported the Maritime Strategy’s assumptions and implications. No opposing naval forces challenged us. No waves of enemy aircraft ever attacked the carriers. No submarines threatened the flow of men and materiel across the oceans. The fleet was never forced to fight the open-ocean battles the Navy had been preparing for during the preceding 20 years.”
Statement by William A. Owens former admiral in the United States Navy and Commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet from 1990 to 1992. He became vice chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, the second-ranking military office in the United States, in March 1994.
From The Carrier Myth 1999, By Rebecca Grant, March 1, 1999
Today’s aircraft carriers
Today’s aircraft carriers may be no more useful. They carry dozens of aircraft capable of dropping bombs and causing an immense amount of destruction, but what international problem will be solved by a massive bombing campaign and in which countries might this tactic be used?
And being so large won’t they be easy to find and easy to destroy?
High tech solutions well adapted to fight the second world war
It seems defence planners are stuck in Second World War thinking. Mass bombing is not an answer to today’s international problems. The bombings of Iraq and Afghanistan have been disastrous and avoidable tragedies.
Britain’s two aircraft carriers, the biggest ships ever built in Britain, cost over £3 billion each, have crews of 700, with accommodation for up to 1600, and are built to carry normal maximum load of thirty-six American F-35 multirole combat aircraft and four helicopters. The theoretical maximum capacity is 72 aircraft. Currently the UK has just 21 of these planes costing around $100 million each. This military might is not constructed or planned to deliver real help to any country.