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#3822957 - 08/16/13 12:50 AM Re: End of the Carrier? [Re: PanzerMeyer]  
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Rick.50cal Offline
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Lifer

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Originally Posted By: PanzerMeyer
Originally Posted By: LCplCombat
Originally Posted By: bogusheadbox
There will never be an end to a carrier, not on this planet and in space.


With the advent of the US Navy's rail gun that can fire solid projectiles at targets over the horizon they might just be on the way out.
That's exactly what I was thinking of as well. Why use an aerial platform to deliver ordnance when you have a rail gun that can do it with a high degree of accuracy and lethality? I don't see carriers going away any time soon but I wouldn't be surprised if they are supplanted entirely by railgun platforms in my lifetime.


Really?

If that were true, the giant guns of the old battlewagons would have been dominant and carriers wouldn't have existed in the first place.

Think of what ALL the aircraft do from a carrier, and compare that to an artillery shell.

Can a rail gun rescue soldiers, airmen, hostages and tsunami victims? No? Well, many such rescues have originated from aircraft carriers.

Can a rail gun pick up astronauts who landed in the ocean? No, but you'll need a ship that has helicopters at the very least.

Can a rail gun artillery shell provide persistent recon with a hunter killer mission, or one of denying airspace to certain air vehicles? A carrier can.

Can a rail gun offer up intimidation without firing a shot? A carrier can.


Look, they are giant targets and very expensive...but carriers have so many uses for a nation that those who can afford them, they get used a lot. Military equipment isn't ONLY about full scale war. The Hercules C-130 for instance, has probably saved more lives than all the armies of the world have killed, and probably saved more lives than the UN and all the NGO's combined.

After all, if it was only purely about destructive power, why bother with railgun artillery at all, and just go with nuke warheads? All fully developed already, just dust off the 1960's plans. But we don't, because it's not so simple after all.

Last edited by Rick.50cal; 08/16/13 12:52 AM.

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#3822959 - 08/16/13 01:03 AM Re: End of the Carrier? [Re: Stormtrooper]  
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Lifer

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Carriers will still be needed to patrol the skies in dense air/sea lanes, like the Persian Gulf, or the island waters around Indonesia, Thailand, Phillipines, Malasia.

Carriers will still be needed to intimidate and sabre rattle other nations, as an alternative to an actual shooting war.

Carriers will still be needed to launch troops by helicopter/tilt-rotor for rescuing civilians.

Carriers will still be needed for "special missions" that while rare, are nessisary.

That said, IMO the biggest military threat to the aircraft carrier's existence...is cost and taxes: without an affordable cost, and adequate govt funds to keep them working, they are toast more completely than any Chinese "miss"ile. Or to put it another way: no bucks, no Buck Rogers!

Carriers will see a few UCAV's onboard, absolutely. But they won't be the majority of the wing. Theres' still going to be a need for many manned aircraft to do on the spot decisionmaking about who to shoot and not shoot, without a possibly EW jamming of the comms link.


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#3822960 - 08/16/13 01:05 AM Re: End of the Carrier? [Re: VF9_Longbow]  
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Originally Posted By: VF9_Longbow
carriers of the future will likely be unpiloted flying wings that can fly at extreme altitudes for weeks or months on end without coming down.


And submarines could provide a good drone carrier platform, too.


WARNING: This post contains opinions produced in a facility which also occasionally processes fact products.
#3822981 - 08/16/13 01:58 AM Re: End of the Carrier? [Re: VF9_Longbow]  
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Rick.50cal Offline
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Lifer

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Originally Posted By: VF9_Longbow
carriers are going to change for sure.

carriers of the future will likely be unpiloted flying wings that can fly at extreme altitudes for weeks or months on end without coming down.

they won't carry many planes - probably less than 10 drones.

they'll be thin, lanky things that fly at stratospheric altitudes and the drones they launch will make one way trips from the carrier to the target and then to an airbase where they'll be redeployed for use on some other carrier about to be sent up for its mission.


Um...let's think this one out for a minute: if they can fly for weeks or months at a time...why go to the effort and risk of flying from an aircraft carrier??

The B-2 Spirit bombers were capable of bombing Yugoslavia from Missouri. No landing until RTB. With a mission profile of only 48 hours. If you have an available airfield within four hours flight, there is no need to launch from a carrier. So your high endurance UAV's neither need a carrier, nor would it be practical, considering how wide the wingspan would be, for carrier ops. By contrast, helicopters are very limited in range and endurance...and are slow and low altitude. Fighter jets burn fuel FAST and don't carry that much...almost needing to ask permission to land before they even take off!

Global Hawk has a 48 hour endurance, and does not need carrier launches to cover any country on the planet. Actually it doesn't even need that many runways to provide such coverage!


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#3822983 - 08/16/13 02:06 AM Re: End of the Carrier? [Re: adlabs6]  
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Lifer

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Originally Posted By: adlabs6
Originally Posted By: VF9_Longbow
carriers of the future will likely be unpiloted flying wings that can fly at extreme altitudes for weeks or months on end without coming down.


And submarines could provide a good drone carrier platform, too.


Would they?

Subs I have been on were incredibly crowded things...every square inch accounted for. Limited number of doors, most of them small.

Taking up torpedo room for a drone could have it's uses, sure, but that would be extra expensive, so a "special use" situation rather than normal standard operations of drones. (by special use, I'm imagining perhaps an Israeli Navy sub in the Persian Gulf, firing a drone through it's torpedo tube, so that it can do recon at an Iranian nuclear research site) I suppose if you used a Polaris tube for a larger UAV or UCAV, that could be interesting, but again, increased cost, and then you expose the location of your boomer.

Perhaps air launching from a C-17 ? Back in the 1980's there was a picture of a Starlifter launching either a Minuteman or MX missile ICBM, in flight: it was on a pallet, pulled out by parachute, just like a Daisycutter bomb...except that once it was falling vertically, the parachute would cut away and the missile would launch vertically. I believe they actually launched the real ICBM at least once in such a test. Perhaps a really high endurance giant UAV might be deployed that way: gets to the target region quicker, saves the fuel-climb fraction for extra endurance once there.

Last edited by Rick.50cal; 08/16/13 02:09 AM.

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#3823020 - 08/16/13 03:28 AM Re: End of the Carrier? [Re: Stormtrooper]  
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Was a C-5, no way you could get a minuteman out a 141 without tearing its tail off. The transport containers would rub rivets on both sides winching them in and out on normal cross country transfers. Been there, done that. The MX never really got far enough out of the concept phase.

#3823041 - 08/16/13 04:50 AM Re: End of the Carrier? [Re: Stormtrooper]  
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Rumpelhardt Offline
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Close air support missions would be real interesting with a rail gun.

Last edited by Rumpelhardt; 08/16/13 04:52 AM.

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#3823173 - 08/16/13 03:44 PM Re: End of the Carrier? [Re: Stormtrooper]  
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I'm fairly certain they've done the missile drop out of a C-17, but I don't recall how many times it's been done.





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#3823180 - 08/16/13 03:55 PM Re: End of the Carrier? [Re: Rumpelhardt]  
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Originally Posted By: Rumpelhardt
Close air support missions would be real interesting with a rail gun.


That's more like NGFS than CAS.

But anyway CAS will be really interesting if the opposition's battlecry isn't Yabba-Dabba-doooo!

#3823243 - 08/16/13 05:46 PM Re: End of the Carrier? [Re: Stormtrooper]  
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the point is that if you have your drones attached to a carrier they're not burning fuel and can save that fuel for whatever missions they're needed for later. a single drone can also be shot down. if you've got 10 on an airborne carrier drone you can launch them all if a missile launch is detected and either engage the launcher or have them get out of dodge.

current super carriers sure are cool and project power but i think considering our potential future enemies (china and india for example) we will be facing incredible numbers.

if china were to start invading south and eastward it'd be real hard to do anything unless plenty of assets were in the area. a normal supercarrier wing could do some damage but i mean, when you've got millions of reinforcements just ready to rush in, it's a little like trying to shoot a piece of foam..it just fills itself in. having thousands of drones already flying near japan could help.

as for subs, subs have more than enough room to launch drones and many subs have already been fitted with special ports to attach specialty vehicles i.e. recovery vehicles or mini subs which could be used as drone or drone carrier platforms. but subs already have tlams and harpoons.

#3823256 - 08/16/13 06:15 PM Re: End of the Carrier? [Re: Rick.50cal]  
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Originally Posted By: Rick.50cal
Originally Posted By: adlabs6
Originally Posted By: VF9_Longbow
carriers of the future will likely be unpiloted flying wings that can fly at extreme altitudes for weeks or months on end without coming down.


And submarines could provide a good drone carrier platform, too.


Would they?

Subs I have been on were incredibly crowded things...every square inch accounted for. Limited number of doors, most of them small.


Indeed, and that space is accounted for the tasks the sub was designed for. New "drone carrier" subs purpose built in the next half century would not necessarily need to overlap those same tasks.


WARNING: This post contains opinions produced in a facility which also occasionally processes fact products.
#3823324 - 08/16/13 08:23 PM Re: End of the Carrier? [Re: Stormtrooper]  
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I think a lot of what's been attributed to carriers in this thread can be attributed as functions of sea power more broadly. Carriers aren't necessarily required to deliver humanitarian aid, launch aircraft to provide close air support, or project power, but they do it very well. Really, I think this is all just affirmation that navies remain critically important and aren't going anywhere.

I think these things will always be evolving anyway. The concept of the 'modern' battleship lasted barely 40 years, from the laying of DREADNOUGHT's keel to the end of WWII; the capabilities once provided by battleships were gradually subsumed by other platforms for better or worse. To say the writing is on the wall for carriers is a bit extreme, but so is saying that they'll always be around as we know them today. Force planning is a constant evolutionary process of self-assessment, technology scanning, threat assessments, and resourcing.


"...for who are so free as the sons of the waves?"
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