Ten Capabilities That Make The U.S. Navy's Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carriers Indispensable
Navy carrier air wings, on the other hand, could precisely attack hundreds of land targets every day for months at a time, rapidly eroding the will of most adversaries. The new Ford class of nuclear-powered carriers can sustain up to aircraft sorties per day, and each of the four dozen strike fighters on board can attack multiple targets in a single sortie. Continuous air cover of forces ashore.
In the event that U. This would consist not only of attacks against enemy aircraft and surface assets, but also collection of reconnaissance vital to the ground forces.
Some of the air cover would likely be provided by Navy-Marine Corps amphibious warships hosting FB fighters, but the preponderance of sea-based air power resides on carriers, and thus the presence of one or more carrier air wings in a war zone could be essential to the survival and success of U.
Airborne early warning of potential threats. Each carrier air wing includes a squadron of E-2 Hawkeye radar planes that can detect and track scores of airborne threats at great distance—not just manned aircraft, but cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, drones and the like. Unlike the radars on naval surface combatants, the E-2 can look down on low-flying threats, and is equipped to connect sensor data with the most effective interceptor systems through a cooperative engagement network.
In combination with other defensive assets in a carrier strike group—fighters in the air wing, combat systems on destroyers, etc. Jamming of enemy radar and communications.
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Growlers are designed to degrade, disrupt and destroy radar and communications using both kinetic and non-kinetic means. Broad-area offensive operations against hostile navies. Seahawk helicopters hosted on the carrier have a sophisticated capacity to detect and attack both surface and undersea threats closer to the carrier. In most contingencies, a carrier air wing and warfighting systems on other warships in the carrier strike group would quickly sweep the seas of any hostile warships during the early days of conflict.
Pea Coats, Khakis, and Bell-Bottoms All Came From the Navy
The diverse warfighting capabilities of carrier air wings combined with the unlimited range and speed of the carrier itself facilitates protection of friendly maritime assets, both military and commercial. For instance, an aircraft carrier might be called upon to help defend Marine Corps units en route to an engagement, or to assure the safe passage of container ships through a war zone. The other warships in a carrier strike group, including submarines, can assist in this mission, but the vast reach of carrier-based aircraft provides a unique dimension to the protection of friendly forces at sea, just as it does on land.
Rapid response to remote military crises. Aircraft carriers are intrinsically more flexible and agile than Army or Air Force units in responding to overseas emergencies. That is due partly to the basing issue, and partly to the complex logistics of moving warfighting forces forward. Even when regional bases are available, it takes time to deploy.
In contrast, sea-based forces are configured for self-sufficiency and typically operate near likely trouble spots.
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Among these sea-based forces, the aircraft carrier provides the most powerful and persistent warfighting punch, often capable of directly influencing events within days after an emergency arises. With a sustained speed approaching 35 miles per hour, a nuclear-powered carrier can transport its air wing over miles every day.
Presence and persistence in support of deterrence. Given all of the aforementioned capabilities, large-deck, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers provide a formidable deterrent. Because the carrier is extremely well defended and always on the move, there is little hope of defeating it with anything less powerful than a nuclear weapon, and that is an option few enemies could or would entertain.
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