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The USS Gerald R. Ford
October 30, 2010 7:36 PM   Subscribe

In 2015, if all goes well, the USS Gerald R. Ford, the most powerful warship ever built, will begin service in the U.S. Navy - retiring the venerable Enterprise (CVN-65). Though displacing the same 100,000 tons as her Nimitz-class counterparts, increased automation will let her operate with hundreds fewer crewmembers. Capable of launching 90 planes, including the F-35C Lightning II, on 220 sorties a day, she will defend herself against anti-ship missiles with the Raytheon RIM-162 ESSM.

"Anatomy of a Supercarrier" - parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
posted by Joe Beese (138 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Boy, if that won't stop a car with a trunk full of explosives, nothing will.
posted by mhoye at 7:40 PM on October 30, 2010 [97 favorites]


We'll really be able to defend ourselves from all those other military superpowers with that. Money well spent.
posted by octothorpe at 7:40 PM on October 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Mmmm, war porn. $19 billion for the first one, the next ones are cheaper. Wonder what energy research could do with $19 billion?
posted by Old'n'Busted at 7:41 PM on October 30, 2010 [11 favorites]


if this thing is built with the grace and agility of it's namesake it will sink just shortly after launching
posted by kitchenrat at 7:45 PM on October 30, 2010 [23 favorites]


America FUCK YEAH!
posted by carsonb at 7:46 PM on October 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


Wait, wasn't this was going to be called the HMS Camilla Parker Bowles?
posted by washburn at 7:48 PM on October 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


Super target!
posted by furtive at 7:50 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


and it works for peanuts.
posted by The Whelk at 7:50 PM on October 30, 2010


But seriously folks, are there any other naval superpowers left? Why not build a ship capable of defending itself from the forces of Mordor while we're making things to fight made up enemies.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 7:53 PM on October 30, 2010 [19 favorites]


if this thing is built with the grace and agility of it's namesake it will sink just shortly after launching

It's home port will be Chevy Chase.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:54 PM on October 30, 2010 [13 favorites]


I hate America's tradition of naming carriers for presidents - in fact, I hate naming any war craft after historical human beings, period.
posted by Auden at 7:54 PM on October 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


2 words: Peace Dividend.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:56 PM on October 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


"There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin."

-Linus van Pelt

nothing says diplomacy like deploying a carrier group.
posted by clavdivs at 7:57 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hear they aren't allowing gum on the ship.
posted by HuronBob at 7:57 PM on October 30, 2010


I'm no fan of US hegemony, but the LOLMILITARYPORK comments here kind of dopey.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:58 PM on October 30, 2010 [10 favorites]


But seriously folks, are there any other naval superpowers left? Why not build a ship capable of defending itself from the forces of Mordor while we're making things to fight made up enemies.

The actual purpose of aircraft carriers is force projection - you know, using these floating airfields to intimidate other countries.

It also ought to be said that there is indeed at least one potentially hostile naval superpower: China. And American carrier groups have played a significant role in the China-Taiwan saga over the past 20 years.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:58 PM on October 30, 2010 [16 favorites]


Of course, the Chinese are also building aircraft carriers while simultaneously planning to address an American carrier.

This may be the beginnings of what political scientists call the security dilemma: state 1 is actually happy with the status quo, but fears state 2 so begins to arm. State 2 is also happy with the status quo, but observes state 1 arming and boosts its military budget as well. According to this theory the carrier busting weapons are actually a good choice (if they work) as they are defensive, thus reassuring to the US. The CNS Mao sailing 200 miles from LA in 2020 during a crisis with Taiwan may be an entirely different matter.
posted by shothotbot at 7:59 PM on October 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


The democratic candidate for governor in my state is constantly getting accused of wasting money by spending something like $200 million to build a tunnel under the river to extend the light rail system. But somehow it's OK to spend 100 times that for a freaking boat that has absolutely no reason to exist other than to support corrupt defense contractors. I don't really understand this country sometimes.
posted by octothorpe at 8:01 PM on October 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


There are two kinds of vessels in the navy: submarines and targets...
posted by jim in austin at 8:05 PM on October 30, 2010 [11 favorites]


CVN78.com said delivery 2014. but that was released way back. (CVN78 has some mighty big 'Links', perhaps some of the most powerful on the planet)
posted by clavdivs at 8:13 PM on October 30, 2010


a freaking boat that has absolutely no reason to exist other than to support corrupt defense contractors

As pointed out earlier, aircraft carrier groups are an integral part of U.S. foreign policy and war-fighting strategy. Those hefty payouts for defense contractors also provide a livelihood for thousands of Americans. You may not like the reasons for these boats, but reasons exist.
posted by stargell at 8:13 PM on October 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've always thought that Raytheon is a great name for a weapons manufacturer. There is something evil and creepy about that word that I just can't put my finger on.
posted by davey_darling at 8:15 PM on October 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


if this thing is built with the grace and agility of it's namesake it will sink just shortly after launching

No, it will be eaten by a wolfpack, and be found to be delicious.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 8:18 PM on October 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


The last statement is amongst the most banal I've ever read.

You may not like the reasons for corruption and theft, but reasons exist. After all, how will crooks & burglars makea living?
posted by lalochezia at 8:19 PM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Those hefty payouts for defense contractors also provide a livelihood for thousands of Americans.

I rest my case.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:24 PM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]



The actual purpose of aircraft carriers is force projection


Yeah, and if you read Star Wars RPG guides so were AT-ATs. But that didn't stop the fucking Ewoks from bringing them down.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:25 PM on October 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


The Pentagon exists to funnel monies to defense contractors. Only incidentally does any of the crap they buy add to the defense of the nation...
posted by jim in austin at 8:26 PM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Number six on the list of the most expensive single objects in the world.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:27 PM on October 30, 2010 [3 favorites]



The US already has a dozen carrier groups that no one is particularly frrightened of. Number 2 on the list is not China, Russia, Japan or even France, it's the UK, with three.

You know what they call carriers in wargames and war sims run by the Navy War College? What our own top strategists call them?

Sitting Ducks.

They are white elephants. In a real war, bombers don't need air cover, and they launch from Oklahoma, bomb the shit out of someplace in Eurasia and land on an airbase in the Indian Ocean or Okinawa. The next war between powers will involve orbital weapons and unmanned drones.

Yeah, it's great we won Midway. That was 65 years ago. Carriers are now simply extravagant codpieces, and about as useful in a real conflict.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:30 PM on October 30, 2010 [15 favorites]


Yeah, and if you read Star Wars RPG guides so were AT-ATs. But that didn't stop the fucking Ewoks from bringing them down.

What are you talking about? Carrier-based aircraft have made Iraq a living hell for most of the past 20 years. No "fucking Ewok" has even come close to sinking one of them in the Persian Gulf.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:33 PM on October 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


Number six on the list of the most expensive single objects in the world.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:27 PM on October 31 [+] [!]

Underneath all of Switzerland.
posted by gc at 8:37 PM on October 30, 2010


I particularly enjoy that we paid for this with Chinese loans. China would only go to war with us if we stop buying their shit, and I don't see that happening any time soon.

This'll come in very handy during the Resource Wars in 2032.
posted by incessant at 8:38 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


gc: "Underneath all of Switzerland."

(That's actually supposed to refer just to the AlpTransit project, judging by the footnote. Looks like the editor failed to fill in the rest of the brackets.)
posted by Rhaomi at 8:41 PM on October 30, 2010


Like every thread about military hardware, the loudest voices simply don't know what they're talking about.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:41 PM on October 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


But that didn't stop the fucking Ewoks from bringing them down.

a somewhat apt analogy to small unit naval tactics
except ewoks dislike water.
posted by clavdivs at 8:42 PM on October 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


The actual purpose of aircraft carriers is force projection

Yeah, and if you read Star Wars RPG guides so were AT-ATs. But that didn't stop the fucking Ewoks from bringing them down.


Am I a supernerd for knowing that Ewoks brought AT-STs down, not AT-ATs, in Return of the Jedi? Or am I not supernerd enough, because I'm ignorant about some non-canon novel or comic book which such an incident did happen?

I shall say nothing.
posted by chinston at 8:44 PM on October 30, 2010 [40 favorites]


Yes, carriers are effective against targets with no navy, airforce or missile technology. But should we ever decide to attack Iran watch and see what happens in the Persian Gulf bathtub...
posted by jim in austin at 8:47 PM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also note - the carrier (singular, not plural) the Chinese are planning (as in haven't yet built) is a Russian retrofit - they bought a secondhand surplus flat-top from the Ruskies as a restoration project.

Does this mean the Chinese aren't interested in force projection in the Pacific and Indian ocean? Shyeah, right.

Or does this mean Saddam shoulda skipped the SCUDs and stocked up on missile frigates and diesel-electric wolfpacks - like every other major military power who's ever "bagged a big one" during a wargame?

Also note - I'm sure fighter jets off of carriers, and not ground attack craft flown in from airbases in Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and then stationed in Iraq itself had everything to do with Iraq's occupation.

(Helcopter carriers, sometimes known as Amphibious Assault Vessels are a different story - cheaper, smaller and far more functional, as they're the backbone of a good logistical strategy. Still not cheap or small enough, tho.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:49 PM on October 30, 2010


In a real war . . . The next war . . .

Carriers have been quite handy in the wars the U.S. has fought since WWII, whether or not those count as "real" in your book. And they'll probably be useful in the next war, unless that's a U.S.-China superpower conflict. In which case we're all fucked, carriers or no.

Only incidentally does any of the crap they buy add to the defense of the nation...

See, this is where the euphemism "Defense Department" actually works against the Pentagon. If it was still called the War Department (the purpose of which was to fight wars) like back in the good old days, there'd be no pretense that these were defensive weapon systems. They're around to fight wars, not to protect the homeland.
posted by stargell at 8:52 PM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, carriers are effective against targets with no navy, airforce or missile technology

Yes, carriers are not as effective against targets with no navy, airforce or missile technology.


you don't spend that kind of cash on Pirates in speedboat. arguably, they are the last castles. almost nothing can destroy them without equal destruction in return. This is comon knowledge.
posted by clavdivs at 8:57 PM on October 30, 2010


(Helcopter carriers, sometimes known as Amphibious Assault Vessels are a different story - cheaper, smaller and far more functional, as they're the backbone of a good logistical strategy. Still not cheap or small enough, tho.)

We toured the Iwo Jima over memorial day. They can defiantly project some power. (Still need some carriers however. Whether we should be building carriers for manned aircraft at this point is less clear to me).
posted by shothotbot at 9:00 PM on October 30, 2010


As pointed out earlier, aircraft carrier groups are an integral part of U.S. foreign policy and war-fighting strategy.

And how's that going for you?
posted by Silentgoldfish at 9:01 PM on October 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


there'd be no pretense

IMO, the acronym swap?, one of the earliest politically correct changes with-in the United States Military.
posted by clavdivs at 9:05 PM on October 30, 2010


its
"Howhoooz tha wurkinn oyut fer ya"
posted by clavdivs at 9:06 PM on October 30, 2010


Anything the government spends money on that's made in the U.S. will provide jobs. The real trick (and it sure ain't much of one) is to provide further benefit to the country. We'd be in a far, far better strategic position if we improved our energy security instead of spending money on fancy superweapons.

That said, if we are going to continue with an interventionist political strategy (and that doesn't look to be changing any time soon) then we do need at least a couple of carriers, and at a point the cost of maintaining the old ones is going to exceed that of building something new.

I bet some government agency figured out a good estimate of when that is. I also expect no one making the decisions much cared unless it supported their already chosen position.
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:07 PM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Looks like it might set sail around the same time as the Zumwalt class destroyer (DDG-1000), the $3+ billion project that will some day, hopefully produce two or three ships.
posted by knave at 9:09 PM on October 30, 2010


Disgusting crap, only of use for "force projection," which means pointless, unwinnable foreign wars. Note how effective those aircraft carriers were in defending the US against 9/11.

Yes, those aircraft carriers certainly have made life in Iraq Hell. Should we really be spending such obscene amounts of money to put millions of people who never offered us the slightest harm into Hell?

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed" -- Dwight D. Eisenhower

“They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people.” - Eugene Debs
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:10 PM on October 30, 2010 [18 favorites]


They might as well have christened it the Yamato.
posted by indubitable at 9:11 PM on October 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


And how's that going for you?

For what it's worth, the USS Abraham Lincoln just joined the USS Harry Truman near Afghanistan two weeks ago.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:13 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I never thought I'd live to see an aircraft carrier fall up a flight of stairs, so I'm really stoked about this.
posted by trondant at 9:18 PM on October 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


And how's that going for you?

From the point of view that maintaining a military which cannot be destroyed by any conceivable conventional combination of powers is the number priority of high strategy: pretty good, thanks for asking! Our progress on other goals may be somewhat slower.
posted by shothotbot at 9:22 PM on October 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


Yes, carriers are effective against targets with no navy, airforce or missile technology. But should we ever decide to attack Iran watch and see what happens in the Persian Gulf bathtub...

For targets with a navy, airforce, or missile technology, I think that, outside another superpower, the US would have no problem taking out or severely degrading these capabilities before bringing a carrier group in range.
posted by zippy at 9:23 PM on October 30, 2010


> It also ought to be said that there is indeed at least one potentially hostile naval superpower: China.

And yet China will surprisingly soon walk in and take Taiwan, and the US will be able to do nothing at all.

> Those hefty payouts for defense contractors also provide a livelihood for thousands of Americans.

ANY expenditure of cash would provide a livelihood for thousands of Americans - and other expenditures would actually result in subsequence positive gains. Imagine if you spent this money on energy efficiency or mass transportation.

The Mafia provides a livelihood for thousands of Americans - it doesn't make it right or a good thing.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:26 PM on October 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yes, carriers are effective against targets with no navy, airforce or missile technology. But should we ever decide to attack Iran watch and see what happens in the Persian Gulf bathtub...

As happened in operations Prime Chance, Nimble Archer, and Praying Mantis?
posted by Ahab at 9:30 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Britian Shrinks its Fleet. The worst part is they will build two more carriers, but only operate one either selling or mothballing the second one. Also get this because they are also grounding the Harrier they will have no aircraft for the new carrier until 2020 when they finally start getting the F35B replacement.
posted by humanfont at 9:32 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


U Sank My Carrier! (war nerd on why carriers are just doomed floating targets) see also This is how the carriers will die
posted by jcruelty at 9:37 PM on October 30, 2010


retiring the venerable Enterprise

What are the odds of that ship's core crew stealing it for one last mission as it's headed out to pasture, in a valiant search for a friend once believed dead but now apparently very much alive?

Keep an eye on those boys, because in a few years, odds are they will figure out how to get a Russian submarine to travel back in time.
posted by gern at 9:39 PM on October 30, 2010 [20 favorites]


Ford was a graceful athlete (source):

Gerald R. Ford, Jr. fights for the tip-off during a basketball game on the forward elevator of the USS MONTEREY.
posted by zippy at 9:43 PM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


ANY expenditure of cash would provide a livelihood for thousands of Americans - and other expenditures would actually result in subsequence positive gains. Imagine if you spent this money on energy efficiency or mass transportation.

The Mafia provides a livelihood for thousands of Americans - it doesn't make it right or a good thing.


Yeah. I never said it was right or good. Who wouldn't prefer those billions to go to high-speed rail or solar power research—all the more so because those technologies would reduce the need, real or perceived, to project force into places like the Persian Gulf, and hence help make expensive carrier battle groups obsolete. But the defense industry is already scaled up and those others are not, so it's politically a lot easier to say we'll keep these thousands of shipbuilders employed than we'll have some unspecified number of jobs created with new initiatives.
posted by stargell at 9:44 PM on October 30, 2010


They might as well have christened it the Yamato.

"Mistaken retreat" Yamato? Or "last stand" Yamato?

Or maybe "Wave Motion Gun" Yamato?
posted by weston at 10:16 PM on October 30, 2010


Democracy: We Deliver.
posted by bardic at 10:20 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hate America's tradition of naming carriers for presidents

This case is much different, and to be honest i got old an old Ann Arbor news unpublished photo of when Ford kicked off his campaign in Ann Arbor yup theres me waving to Ford as the motorcade leaves and seated with-in I presume to be Dick Cheney. Non the less Ford is the only president not to be elected an old but apt analogy would be the Emperor Claudius. So in a really weird way it seems apt to name warship named after an unelected president, that defends more then attacks (in Fords era) and seems nimbleminded enough to fuck with.

President Ford was repected by both parties for what that is worth in American Politics. I Think Clinton should have his ship, not some spoof, A hospital frigate or rest and relaxation ship.

less baranacles and whelks saves money
posted by clavdivs at 10:25 PM on October 30, 2010


They might as well have christened it the Yamato.

The Yamato was a battleship.
named after a genuis.
posted by clavdivs at 10:29 PM on October 30, 2010


iu-ui
posted by clavdivs at 10:30 PM on October 30, 2010


Oh. I guess I'm on the few who thinks this is pretty cool.
posted by Allan Gordon at 10:35 PM on October 30, 2010


The Chinese and the Iranians and even the North Koreans are developing swarms of cheap, long range missiles that will sink American carriers if push comes to shove.
posted by LarryC at 10:43 PM on October 30, 2010


Mmmm, war porn. $19 billion for the first one, the next ones are cheaper. Wonder what energy research could do with $19 billion?

Well, we might have a chance to find out. Obama's stimulus package that has all the Tea Partiers riled up and screaming about socialism...

$32.80bn in funding for clean energy projects, $26.86bn for energy efficiency initiatives and $18.95bn for green transportation, giving a total of $78.61bn directly earmarked for green projects.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:47 PM on October 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


i always liked ICEMAN.
posted by clavdivs at 10:55 PM on October 30, 2010


It's going to make a very nice artificial reef some day.
posted by pracowity at 10:59 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Technically neat; morally foul.
posted by maxwelton at 11:08 PM on October 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


The Chinese and the Iranians and even the North Koreans are developing swarms of cheap, long range missiles that will sink American carriers if push comes to shove.


I love Judo terms applied to large naval opertations. It sounds easy.

besides, thats what sea-whizz is for.
an the super-secret nanobot they'll kill me for exposing, really I'm a dead man some day.
posted by clavdivs at 11:09 PM on October 30, 2010


I'll miss Gatling guns.
posted by Artw at 11:15 PM on October 30, 2010


I MUST ADD A RETACTION.
'unlike the emperor Claudius'. Claudius being the first emperor to directly recieve and except said powers.
well...you spend devils night in Flint with WAY to much keylime pie.
posted by clavdivs at 11:46 PM on October 30, 2010


clavdivs: "less baranacles and whelks saves money"

:(
posted by barnacles at 11:47 PM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Technically neat; morally foul

They could have called it the USS Avatar.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:50 PM on October 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


How many malaria nets or polio vaccines could have been purchased with the money this thing costs? Who cares?! According to this blog post "the war nerd" wrote some hella sweet missiles would blow this thing up in a wicked explosion. Furthermore,
posted by hamida2242 at 12:32 AM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Permethrin treated malaria net, large enough to cover a family of 5-6, delivered to rural area, in east Asia, about $5.
posted by Ahab at 12:36 AM on October 31, 2010


Force projection via aircraft carriers is kinda obsolete and the military knows it. Ever heard of prompt global strike? Within the decade the U.S. military will have this ability perfected and it most likely won't involve aircraft carriers. As some have noted they are sitting ducks. This baby not so much.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:40 AM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Anything the government spends money on that's made in the U.S. will provide jobs.

Military spending artificially inflates engineering and production costs in the US. It's toxic to small scale manufacturing. You want to spend money and provide jobs? Build infrastructure.
posted by phooky at 12:50 AM on October 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


The Chinese and the Iranians and even the North Koreans are developing swarms of cheap, long range missiles that will sink American carriers if push comes to shove.

Might as well fire one of those at the White House. The retaliatory effect would be the same.

Which is why no nation state is going to fire shit at a U.S. aircraft carrier.
posted by Cyrano at 12:52 AM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


2 words: Peace Dividend.

here's three: waste of money
posted by the noob at 1:00 AM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


What is there to say? The thing is being built, the money is spent. Will it help make the world a better place? Nobody knows. Would the money have been better spent elsewhere? Nobody knows. Will the ship serve a useful military purpose in "the next war"? Nobody knows. All that remains is this massive Ozymandian hulk, a steel Sphinx that riddles us: "do you know what I am for?"
posted by eeeeeez at 1:28 AM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't like living in a country that won't have an active USS Enterprise anymore.
posted by inturnaround at 1:35 AM on October 31, 2010 [7 favorites]


If you liked "Anatomy of a Supercarrier" you'll love Carrier.
posted by moody cow at 1:43 AM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well if nobody knows and we never do anything then nothing will ever get accomplished.
posted by Allan Gordon at 1:57 AM on October 31, 2010


I don't like living in a country that won't have an active USS Enterprise anymore.

It'll be a sad day when the Big E retires. Hopefully the name will be continued on a ship that will bring progress and discovery.
posted by jsavimbi at 4:58 AM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Beginning on 28 August 1945 my grandfather began a short stint at a job that gave us the idiom "deep six". Why? Because ZOMG! The Russians might see this Japanese air craft carrying submarine! This despite the fact that the technology that made an aircraft carrying submarine not that useful was already out there. Ten years later, such a vessel would have been a liability.

So, yeah, I'm with AElfwine.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:37 AM on October 31, 2010


Never mind the floating codpiece -
The United States intends to buy a total of 2,443 [F-35] aircraft for an estimated US$323 billion, making it the most expensive defense program ever.
Why do we need these things, again? Why do I have to help pay for them, when no one asked me if I wanted them built? What does 'representation' mean, anyway? You know, as in 'taxation without representation.'
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:41 AM on October 31, 2010


Might as well fire one of those at the White House. The retaliatory effect would be the same.

There is a fundamental flaw in this logic. If I already believe that you are going to kill me then, what? You're going to kill me twice? This is where the whole force projection and brinkmanship thing go straight to hell.

Osama bin Laden has some very specific demands. Know what they are? No, virtually nobody does. Why? Because the moment you start blowing shit up or even like you're fixing to blow shit up, everyone is going to assume that blowing shit up is your fundamental goal no matter what your mission statement is.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:47 AM on October 31, 2010


Ooh, war toys. I feel like such a man when I look at the picture of that boat.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:56 AM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


These carriers are so dumb. The wars of the future will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea. They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall mountain. In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by small robots.

And as you go forth today remember always your duty is clear: To build and maintain those robots.
posted by milarepa at 6:17 AM on October 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


It's funny because it's absolutely true.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:00 AM on October 31, 2010


I Think Clinton should have his ship, not some spoof, A hospital frigate or rest and relaxation ship.

Minelayer?

I keed, I keed.

Seriously. I think the naming of the USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) was exactly correct, Jimmy Carter qualified in submarines and would have been the engineering officer of the USS Nautilus if he hadn't resigned his commission to take over the family farm after his father died.

George H. W. Bush was, in fact, a naval combat aviator who won a DFC -- naming a carrier after him makes sense. JFK also served in combat in the US Navy, albeit on PT boat, but he established the naming convention. Gerald Ford also served in the Navy, in combat, on an aircraft carrier -- the USS Monterey (CVL-26)

So, I can cope with that. However, the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is wrong to me. Regan was an Army Captain, in limited duty (his eyesight was so bad he couldn't serve overseas.) Truman at least served in combat -- though as an Army Officer.

So. Either we are honoring Navy Officers or Combat Officers. If we're honoring presidents, then CVN-78 needs to be the William Clinton* and CVN-79 needs to be either Nixon or Bush Again.


* Esp. since you *know* the nickname would be "Big Willy". As a matter of fact, we could have Tricky Dick sailing next to Big Willy, and just shortcut everything with the USS Cock Penis (CVN-80)
posted by eriko at 8:10 AM on October 31, 2010 [12 favorites]


I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.

-Leonard Cohen
posted by Danf at 8:19 AM on October 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


We anticipate building 8 or so of these Ford class carriers. The first one rolls off the line in 2015 and then they keep building then every 4-5 years for a few decades. Of course that if it all goes on schedule. Some of the technology like new electronic catapults have yet to be developed.

The challenge is once you shut down the production, you can't restart it easily. If you discover that you were wrong about the obsolete nature of the ships then it will cost billions more to go rebuild the dry-docks and train the workers, recreate the technology.

Also keep in mind that the existing fleet of carriers have escalating maintenance costs and ongoing staff costs. Theoretically even if we do wind down our carrier fleet over the next few decades having a few Ford class ships will save money since each one will require substantially lower crew. Each Nimitz class ship has a crew of 3k or so. That's 3-4 billion in staff and operating costs. Reduce the crew size and you get a much lower cost to operate it. Save a billion in operating costs per year in a 40 year service life and you see how it starts to make economic sense.
posted by humanfont at 8:26 AM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Those hefty payouts for defense contractors also provide a livelihood for thousands of Americans.

In other words, it's one of those make-work programs conservatives are always compaining about.
posted by Scoo at 8:31 AM on October 31, 2010 [7 favorites]


> If you discover that you were wrong about the obsolete nature of the ships then it will cost billions more to go rebuild the dry-docks and train the workers, recreate the technology.

Surely by that argument we could never get rid of any significant military program?

I knew someone who was a hoarder and used exactly the same argument about getting rid of any of their junk - "they might need it one day".

And anyway, I think this specific argument is garbage. The US is still going to be making battleships, corvettes, minesweepers and all that - there will still be dry docks, still gazillions of workers who know the technology.

> Reduce the crew size and you get a much lower cost to operate it.

Wasn't the idea to employ more Americans?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:54 AM on October 31, 2010


The US already has a dozen carrier groups that no one is particularly frrightened of. Number 2 on the list is not China, Russia, Japan or even France, it's the UK, with three.

There are carriers and there are carriers. The ones (2 active, one in storage) the UK has now are are retiring do not count as full deck carriers. they are light carriers for carrying a small number of helicopters and jumpjets, primarily for supporting anti-submarine operations (vs Russia) and limited air to ground support roles.
A full carrier is be able to carry much larger numbers of aircraft and provide a much wider range of larger operations including air superiority and expanded air to ground and bombing roles.

The 2 carriers that the UK is building now will be more like full carriers (after a gap in which the UK will have no carriers at all).
posted by Bwithh at 8:56 AM on October 31, 2010


And how's that going for you?

For what it's worth, the USS Abraham Lincoln just joined the USS Harry Truman near Afghanistan two weeks ago.


Digging in for the Long Haul in Afghanistan
posted by homunculus at 8:56 AM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why do we need these things, again?

To keep the military-industrial complex well-fed, even if it starves domestic programs like bridges-that-don't-collapse and public-schools-with-books-and-teachers. Besides, Kennedy wanted to reduce military funding and look what happened to him.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:07 AM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Extravagant codpiece!

I vote that to be the comment of the week!
posted by Oyéah at 9:15 AM on October 31, 2010



What is there to say? The thing is being built, the money is spent. Will it help make the world a better place? Nobody knows. Would the money have been better spent elsewhere? Nobody knows. Will the ship serve a useful military purpose in "the next war"? Nobody knows. All that remains is this massive Ozymandian hulk, a steel Sphinx that riddles us: "do you know what I am for?"


SPHINX!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:18 AM on October 31, 2010 [6 favorites]



Oh. I guess I'm on the few who thinks this is pretty cool.
posted by Allan Gordon at 1:35 AM on October 31 [+] [!]


I'm right there with ya. I think carriers are awesome, having been on and very, very close to quite a few while at sea, and while it's great that lots of people here think they're unnecessary, there's something completely fucking awesome about a ship that takes a mile to stop.
posted by disclaimer at 9:20 AM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


barnacles: we have 3 juicy cruise ships available...warm waters...lots of drinks....beautiful diving waters with beautiful snorklers...
posted by clavdivs at 9:40 AM on October 31, 2010


Digging in for the Long Haul in Afghanistanistan

That's a good article. Someone ought to make a post about it...

But in all sincerity, this was one occasion when "GRAR M-I-C" didn't even cross my mind. Note that I never mentioned the price tag.

"War porn" was an apt summary. It's one of those Eros/Thanatos things.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:48 AM on October 31, 2010


okokok, The Ronald Reagan mess hall and recreation mega-plex
Fort Bliss?
posted by clavdivs at 9:50 AM on October 31, 2010


Old'n'Busted wrote: "Mmmm, war porn. $19 billion for the first one, the next ones are cheaper. Wonder what energy research could do with $19 billion?"

It would have paid for the Superconducting Super Collider. Not energy research, I know, but basic physics research could be done three times faster than at LHC. Who knows what sort of interesting and useful things we would have found by now had it gone into operation in 1995 or 1996 as originally planned?

Cyrano wrote: "Which is why no nation state is going to fire shit at a U.S. aircraft carrier."

Well, the newer carriers do, theoretically, have the capability of intercepting incoming missiles with several defense systems both on board the carrier itself and deployed in the battle group that always sails with the carrier. Of course, we've seen how well our ballistic missile defense systems have worked. That is to say "better than nothing," but not by any definition reliably.

They're loaded with pretty nifty applied technology, which is part of the reason they're so fucking expensive. I don't really mind having a couple around, as they are useful for more than just blowing shit up..intimidation being the big one, but it seems like we've got more than enough as it stands. Aren't we up to six or so now?
posted by wierdo at 9:52 AM on October 31, 2010


Aren't we up to six or so now?

Fleet Response Plan
posted by JohnR at 10:05 AM on October 31, 2010


> Aren't we up to six or so now?

There are 10-11 in service, plus assorted amphibious and helicopter carriers.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:07 AM on October 31, 2010


I'm right there with ya. I think carriers are awesome, having been on and very, very close to quite a few while at sea, and while it's great that lots of people here think they're unnecessary, there's something completely fucking awesome about a ship that takes a mile to stop.

As a sailor, I have to inform you many ships take a mile (or more to stop). Tankers often are very large and have engines that are made to sustain speed, not to rapidly accelerate or decelerate (which takes more fuel and would be less economical). This is why tankers and the lot often change course to avoid collision rather than change speed. Now something in the Navy will want to put a primacy on maneuverability and speed, not necessarily economy.

Now, with a carrier, there's just a limit on how maneuverable you can make something like that. Even with the reactors blazing and the props spinning for an "All Back Emergency" bell, it takes awhile to get those suckers to stop going forward.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:11 AM on October 31, 2010


So, what are they going to do with the old Enterprise?

Cause that would be a pretty sweet boat to tool around in, y'know?
posted by Relay at 11:10 AM on October 31, 2010


Aren't there automated ship protection firing systems now that can rip out a bazillion huge assed bullets per second now that can tear to shreds a ship killing cruise missile flying in at a bazillion miles per the speed of sound??

I saw an amazing system on YT not to long ago that showed a pretty insane demo of such system, which alas I cannot locate any longer.

Not to mention a carrier battle group is made up of a veritable iron ring of protection around the carrier all purposed to protect it, which soon will have lasers and shit and not to mention a carrier has a bazillion planes to protect it and, soon, they too will have lasers and shit...and there will be space lasers and shit and just lasers all over that shit...lasering away...

And so it would seem to me, a carrier is a pretty safe place to be, especially if it is like the one I've been on a few times, which is a museum. and let me tell you....a naval aircraft carrier, just does not get any safer than when it is a museum permanently at dock.

So, not only will there be beaucoup lasers ALL OVER THE PLACE, but...maybe they should make the USS Gerald "I pardon tricky dicky for his sticky wicky" FORD, a museum straightaway...a working museum, I would be its official museum patron. meaning I could wander around and just look at stuff and take photos and send postcards home and eat at the cafe and shop in the sweet sweet museum shop....

So, when it was sent out to give Tawain a little moral courage against the country that helped to finance the thing. the USS Gerald "Live from NY it's Saturday Night!!" Ford, China. and China's all like "Whoa...whoa...United States... why you all up in my grill and shit with the USS Gerald Ford, waving yo lasers in my direction, go home and pay your debts, biyatch, and who's your daddy...uh huh...that's right!" The U.S. can be like "Sorry, so sorry, it's just a floating museum with live lasers and 50 ships around it and enough firepower to Bruce Lee your ass into the ming dynasty...but we won't do that..it's just a museum. Wink."

*With apologies for not being able to get the right war boner up at the moment to look up all the sexy porny terms for this stuff, and make it more sexy and porny....*
posted by Skygazer at 11:17 AM on October 31, 2010


I really wish the United States could just cancel these projects. A carrier is a killing machine. A Super Hornet, while beautiful to look at, is merely a bomb delivery system, and in an era where nation states rarely go to war for more than a week or so, a Super Hornet is basically aiming bombs at civilians. They have ultra-sensitive infrared target acquisition systems. You can't even hide from one of these things. Totally inhuman.

And yet, the current "world order" is based on American force projection. Take away your gunboats and there would be chaos while the world adjusts.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:48 AM on October 31, 2010


There are many photographs online of Suisun Bay's Mothball Fleet but photographs do not give me such a thrill as taking the Amtrak over the bridge and looking at all those ghost ships in person. So if this new ship is war porn, I guess that makes me a necrophiliac. I might have to take the boat tour in order to get as close to them as possible, before they're all blessedly scrapped. Glory, glory, boys.
posted by eegphalanges at 11:49 AM on October 31, 2010


The USS Dick Cheney would attack both enemy and friendly ships, and the friendly ships would apologize for being in the way.
posted by zippy at 12:32 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Skygazer: you're thinking of Phalanx, aka The R2D2's - they're 70's era tech.

They don't do much against supercavitating torpedoes launched from cheap diesel-electric attack subs.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:35 PM on October 31, 2010


In order to launch your supercavitating torpedo you have to get your diesel powered sub out of port, through a gauntlet of defenses. Then you launch your experimental weapon at our carrier. You hope it doesn't turn you into the Kirsk. And of course since the thing produces a huge sonar signature going in a straight line back to your launch point your pretty much dead anyway.
Also please be sure to share more details of your secret weapons projects designed to counter the American fleet. We will be sure to use their existence to justify our post war occupation.
posted by humanfont at 1:04 PM on October 31, 2010


ZippY: The USS Dick Cheney would attack both enemy and friendly ships, and the friendly ships would apologize for being in the way.

Plus its crew would constantly be jumping overboard cos the ship would be evil and the plaything of Satan.
posted by Skygazer at 1:11 PM on October 31, 2010


The ship would move even though it's engines would be stone dead.
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


There's a misunderstanding about the power of naval defense systems like Phalanx CIWS. They're 1970's technology that's still not totally battle tested. Same with AEGIS. We like to think these defense systems are able to juggle hundreds of targets (There's a Japanese naval movie where they try to make that point), but in the end, they're rather clumsy and get jammed often. Part of it is the fact that it takes so long to make these things that the software is decades old by the time it gets to the fleet (remember, that you can't always just "swap out" for new software and equipment as it has to play nicely with the old) and due to the fact that the task it's assigned for is really quite hard. It's akin to hitting a bullet with another bullet over the horizon and hoping the bullet doesn't change course and speed. If missiles were heading my way, the defense I would feel safest with is the launching of chaff rounds to distract or soft kill a target.

Anyway, the entire point is naval and defense technologies are really rather difficult and what we want out of them is probably still decades in the future.

Oh, and super cavitating torpedoes aren't some sort of magic missile. Although all surface ships are somewhat vulnerable to subsurface threats, there ARE things you can do to avoid them. The SC torpedoes aren't really perfected and are easy to dodge if you have a good sense of the threat. Also, it helps that something like an Aircraft carrier is nearly impossible to sink, much less with only one shot. Would you damage it and kill people? Yes. Would it still be seaworthy and probably very mission worthy? Yes.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 1:41 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also please be sure to share more details of your secret weapons projects designed to counter the American fleet. We will be sure to use their existence to justify our post war occupation.

Humanfront who is this collective "we" and "you" that your comments keep referring to? I can't speak for everyone, but I wish you wouldn't lump me in with all the people using flimsy half-baked arguments to justify the spending of trillions of dollars on "national defense".
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:46 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Slap*Happy: you're thinking of Phalanx, aka The R2D2's - they're 70's era tech.

They don't do much against supercavitating torpedoes launched from cheap diesel-electric attack subs.



Actually. I was finally able to find the YT videos of the weapons systems I had in mind. Check out these bad boys. They're acronymn is CIWS (Close in Weapon System). But I guess from the looks of it, I could see it being called the R2D2.
posted by Skygazer at 1:57 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Check out these bad boys.

Looks cooler than they are. Due to the extremely high rate of fire, they jam often. Also, hitting incoming missiles is hard. And yes, it's the Phalanx CIWS, and it's often called the R2D2.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 3:25 PM on October 31, 2010


If you live long enough, there comes a time when you cross over from being a young idealist to an old realist. Reading the pro and con comments on this post have made me age a lot.
posted by astrobiophysican at 6:46 PM on October 31, 2010


Wolfpacks of diesels, and most of them would already be at sea. If they're Brazillians, they're using conventional torpedoes with conventional warheads, sending a few dozen fish inbound from all over the compass rose. Then they shut down everything, sink to the bottom (if the subaquatic terrain allows), and wait it out, as our active isn't as good as their stealthing. They've whupped our butts in wargames for the past decade and a half with this.

If they're Chinese, and not in a wargame, they're running Skvalls with nukes.

It isn't theoretical - the North Koreans managed to take down a modern South Korean warship with a seriously old sub and torpedo design. Especially considering the Yonos are designed as two-man attack subs, the Koreans could stand to lose a few dozen of them and come out way the fuck ahead in a showdown with a carrier group.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:20 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


"if this thing is built with the grace and agility of it's namesake it will sink just shortly after launching"
posted by kitchenrat"

How many college football teams have you played for?
posted by TSOL at 8:42 PM on October 31, 2010


(For those of you playing along with the Home Game - modern diesel-electric subs are not like the WWI variety - they are inherently more stealthy than nuclear boats in terms of their passive sonar profile. You can make a modern battery-powered sub run completely quiet, but nukes require constant cooling, which always seems to generate some identifiable noise. Modern snorkels allow the diesels to run pretty well while deeply submerged, foiling radar and visual hunts, and modern countermeasures can take care of the passive sonar profile while they charge up.

So why don't we have diesel-electric attack subs? Ask your congressman. Bear in mind that $1.8bln per Virgina-class sub is a bargain compared to the old Seawolf-class.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:49 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


So why don't we have diesel-electric attack subs?

ACTUV for one.
posted by clavdivs at 12:07 AM on November 1, 2010


Back to the FPP, I appreciate (as a fan of things that are big) some of the technical details it gets into. But anyone interested in this topic should do themselves a favour and invest 10 hours in watching the PBS documentary series Carrier, which isn't about the ship, but about the thousands who crew her, and the poignant, Groundhog Day-like lives they lead as they sail the world. It's a thing of beauty.

(Canadians not welcome on this particular patriotic exploit, but can be accessed by way of the usual IP jiggery-pokery.)
posted by bicyclefish at 12:19 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Due to the extremely high rate of fire, they jam often.

(Note, look at LordChancellor's profile in case you wonder why I'm holding this statement as credible.)

REALLY? Who screwed it up? The M61A1 Vulcan is about 50 years old, and it's reliability is legendary -- MTBS is infinite -- a misfire doesn't stop the firing of the weapons, and MTBF is on the order of 10K rounds. Yes, this does imply that it'll break in under two minutes of continuous fire, but given that it's fired in 1-2 second bursts, (100-200 round), that's a goodly number of firing cycles before failure -- since most failure is heat related, you reset that counter when you let the weapon rest.

Gatling designs avoid most of the pathways that lead to fire stoppages, because the weapon is externally powered -- so misfires don't halt fire, the shell is just ejected when it comes around to ejection. The original M61 had problem with the belted ammunition feed, which is why it went linkless.

Hmm: The one thing that does cause problems is empty cases flying everywhere, which is why most ammo feeds are dual ended, to keep the brass in check. How does the Phalanx do it?

But, yeah, a point defense system that jams is all sorts of suck, and of course...

They don't do much against supercavitating torpedoes launched from cheap diesel-electric attack subs.

Nope. CIWS is an anti-missle last-ditch defense. While the Phalanx can point down, the rounds would probably just shatter when they hit the water (see the Mythbusters where they fired a .50BMG round into a pool.)

So why don't we have diesel-electric attack subs?

Modern D-E boats are brilliant at coastal defense, and utterly pants at power projection -- and they're still slower underwater than the glow-boats. So, getting out there and getting the bad guy isn't what they do, they wait for the bad guy to come close.

They do have an advantage. No reactor means no pumps, which means a D-E boat, underwater, can be much quieter, and Silence=Life in submarine warfare. Since they don't have the ultra-long range of the nuke boats, they don't need the ultra large stores, since they don't' have a reactor and have a base close by, they don't need large crews, so they tend to be much smaller. Compare the German Type 212 and the US SSN-21 class.

The US 668 and 21 boats are nuclear powered because their primary role was to get out there and sink USSR SSBNs before they could launch.

Nuclear powered submarines are a very different weapon than diesel-electric boats. The way a D-E boat bags a carrier is that is has to be somewhere that a carrier goes. If it runs on the surface, it will be spotted *very* quickly by IR sats, and if it runs underwater, it just can't move far -- the sub does 8 knots, the CVBG does 20+ easily.

That's why nukes changed the submarine world. For the first time, you had just as much power submerged as you did on the surface.

They don't do much against supercavitating torpedoes launched from cheap diesel-electric attack subs.

Probably true -- though we haven't seen them used in combat. There are a lot of very clever weapons that in actual combat didn't mean squat. SC Torps don't turn fast -- nothing moving that fast underwater does -- but CVNs don't turn fast either. If the D-E boat gets a firing solution, the CVN sinks.

Wolfpacks of diesels, and most of them would already be at sea. If they're Brazillians, they're using conventional torpedoes with conventional warheads, sending a few dozen fish inbound from all over the compass rose.

Unrealistic scenario. The USN would know where they went -- and if they all go out, you wait three weeks and the subs that don't surface had a mechanical failure and died. You can't creep out very far on electric -- and if you do, you've no power for combat. You have to position out on diesel, which means on the surface, which means that IR imaging from satellites will know where you went and where you submerged, and then it's a simple matter of circles to figure out where you could possibly be, and a simple matter of time-on-station.

You can bet that if the US is going into naval combat, intelligence priority #1 is "Count All The Ships and Boats." Indeed, given the imaging is continuous, you can bet that somebody in the US knows exactly which Brazilian subs are out *right* now.
posted by eriko at 5:04 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Assuming that the United States(we [AElfwine, etc excepted]) were to go to war with Iran(you, but not you the reader unless you are in Iran at the time of the war which I' hope never happens]) it isn't like we're just going to amble up with our flattops as our first action. Step one would be a sustained arial bombardment using standoff weapons. Sub hunter teams would likely be assigned to ensure that we located and destroyed as many of the subs as possible. Air supremacy would be achieved. The carriers would prove useful for protection of our landing ships (assuming we did some amphibious assaults) or providing close air support for ground troops coming through afghanistan, turkey, Iraq or Kuwait. The ability to bring 3-4 airfields into range to put an additional few hundred aircraft and UAV's over the skies of the hostile country is pretty valuable.
I seriously doubt that our ability track every sub is really that good. The ocean is enourmous and these things are small. But if you've obliterated your opponents fuel depots, drydocks/ subpens. Command and control infrastructure, etc then it will be equally difficult for them to get in position to fire on you. That isn't to say its impossible, its just very unlikely. More likely is that any war with Iran would be a humanitarian disaster costing 10s of trillions of dollars and leave a mess in Central Asia for decades to follow (certainly the rest of my lifetime). So let's all agree that the US military is an enormous swinging dick. So huge it could probably fuck over anyone. Its a trillion dollar death machine and the world is safer having it. But... Let's try to not use it ok. Let's keep the pants on, and recognize that given the size of our economy, the global interdependence of the world and the general economic benefits that come from peace, really let's just back down a bit.
posted by humanfont at 6:04 AM on November 1, 2010


Pentagon warns US arms may be obsolete

Gates hints China's anti-ship threat may render carriers obsolete

These weapons systems are obsolete and the military knows this. Regardless they are going to spend the billions of dollars anyways. Why is that I wonder? I bet President Eisenhower could give us a hint; or rather a warning.

The main threat right now to our carriers comes from, as mentioned upthread, diesel subs and also from China's DongFeng 21 medium-range ballistic missile. I believe Russia also has similar weapons and you can bet that Iran is developing similar delivery systems.

DongFeng 21D (CSS-5 Mod-4)

The U.S. Department of Defense has confirmed the existence of the DF-21D land-based ASBM system, which is the world’s first and only of its kind. By combining manoeuvrable re-entry vehicles (MaRVs) with a terminal guidance system, the DF-21C is capable of targeting a slow-moving aircraft carrier battle group from a land-based mobile launcher. The maximum range of the missile was said to be 3,000km, possibly achieved by carrying a smaller payload.

posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:36 AM on November 1, 2010


The main threat right now to our carriers

:) Now I'm doing it to. I've noticed over the years that as Americans we like to "own" our instruments of destruction when admiring them but not so much when presented with the results of their use.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:39 AM on November 1, 2010


Oh, and super cavitating torpedoes aren't some sort of magic missile.

I read that as "super captivating torpdeos" and thought, well, that does sound like magic.
posted by homunculus at 8:45 AM on November 1, 2010


Its a trillion dollar death machine and the world[1] is safer having it.

1. Offer not valid in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Guyana, Grenada, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Congo, Indonesia, the Philippines, Greece, Bikini atoll, Enewetak atoll, and anywhere downwind of the Nevada test site.
posted by [citation needed] at 8:56 AM on November 1, 2010


The main threat right now to our carriers comes from, as mentioned upthread, diesel subs and also from China's DongFeng 21 medium-range ballistic missile. I believe Russia also has similar weapons and you can bet that Iran is developing similar delivery systems.


China or Russia are not the major targets of our carriers. Iran might be able to develop or purchase this technology but we don't need to bring the carriers in day one. Carriers retain a high utility in most conflicts and even humanitarian missions we may face. A few big floating airbases give us incredible capabilities.

Even after the invention of the jeep and the end of cavalry the horse remained an important part of military transport right through WWII (heck we are still using them in Afghanistan). While we may need fewer of these in these in the future there is no reason not to continue the development of the technology.
posted by humanfont at 12:46 PM on November 1, 2010


My understanding (which is based solely on popular available media) is that RAN diesel-electric Collins class subs tend to be able to sink US carriers pretty reliably.
But I don't know squat really.
posted by wilful at 7:16 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


quite.
posted by clavdivs at 8:01 PM on November 3, 2010


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