How China’s Navy Will Rise: More Nuclear Submarines and Aircraft Carriers:


Should the world be worried?

by Stratfor Worldview May 8, 2019

Supplementing the addition of this hardware will be a continued focus on the country’s logistics fleet, which is key to conducting blue-water operations — sustained, long-range maritime operations over oceans and deep waters — and securing logistics bases around the globe.

All fitted out, China’s second-ever aircraft carrier — and the first built entirely in China — is set to sail for sea trials (This reblogger’s note: the Chinese homegrown aircraft carrier has already been commissioned and named the Shandong now). The construction of the aircraft carrier represents a significant milestone in China’s steady rise as a major naval power. And barring any hiccups, Beijing will continue its ascent in the following decade to the degree that it challenges the United States for naval supremacy – at least in East Asia.

(This first appeared earlier in the year.)

From a Coastal Defense Force to a World Power

The might of the Chinese navy today is far beyond what it was just 30 years ago. As recently as the 1990s, it was effectively a coastal defense force with little ability to challenge its U.S. counterpart. But quick as the Chinese navy’s rise since then has been, its tremendous progress stems from evolution rather than revolution, as Beijing has carefully and incrementally introduced new designs and equipment into the navy before proceeding to intensified shipbuilding.

At the turn of the millennium, Beijing began producing new indigenous vessels, but many of the initial designs, such as the Type 051C destroyer, depended heavily on Russian and other foreign technology for their main armaments. At the same time, China continued to purchase Russian warships, such as Sovremenny-class destroyers and Kilo-class submarines, as a hedge against the potential failure of their new designs.

Over the course of the century’s first decade, China restricted itself to constructing small batches of each warship type; only after engaging in comprehensive testing for each type did the country slowly transition to improved designs. This decade of cautious experimentation gave the country’s navy the confidence to settle on reliable models for high-rate production. Chinese shipyards rapidly rolled out the Type 054A frigate, the Type 039A submarine, the Type 052D destroyer (This reblogger’s note: China is building 8 bigger Type 055 destroyers with greater fire power, one of which has been commissioned, two, undergoing sea trial, three, launched and outfitting and two, being built. Please refer to https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/china’s-giant-new-warship-packs-killer-long-range-missiles-109786 and https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3045764/chinas-most-advanced-destroyer-nanchang-formally-enters-service) and the Type 056 corvette, making the four classes of vessel the mainstay of the naval inventory. Such production, however, did not necessarily increase the size of the fleet but replaced aging and obsolete vessels that had remained in the naval inventory since the 20th century.

As naval authorities complete this modernization drive over the next two years, China is poised to significantly expand its strength and capabilities. The pace of China’s naval exercises and training regimen is already unprecedented, and the tempo is only likely to continue. The elimination of obsolete warships will provide China with an opportunity to improve not just the quality of its vessels, but also their quantity. If the country maintains its current rate of production, it could add approximately three destroyers each year from 2020 to 2030.

But an increase in the number of modern destroyers, frigates, corvettes and diesel-electric submarines only constitutes one aspect of the navy’s growing strength. Over the next 10 years, China will construct next-generation nuclear submarines that emit far less sound, build new types of aircraft carriers equipped with catapult launch systems and expand its amphibious fleet with the introduction of Type 075-class amphibious assault ships. Supplementing the addition of this hardware will be a continued focus on the country’s logistics fleet, which is key to conducting blue-water operations — sustained, long-range maritime operations over oceans and deep waters — and securing logistics bases around the globe.

Closing the Gap

The coming decade of development will significantly reduce, but not eliminate, the gap between China’s navy — already the second most powerful maritime force on the planet — and the U.S. Navy by 2030.

But even as China comes closer to rivaling the United States in global maritime strength, the two countries will continue to excel in different facets. Because the United States is largely secure and unchallenged in its home waters, it will retain its traditional focus on constructing a blue-water force. Accordingly, Washington has long emphasized aircraft carriers, large surface combatants and a sizable fleet replenishment force that can project influence and force around the globe. China will strive to develop these same blue-water capabilities with similar vessels, but it will focus on exercising power closer to home in the South China and East China seas. As a result, China will maintain a much larger fleet of small surface combatants and diesel-electric submarines — vessels that are ideal for combat in littoral environments close to home ports.

Other factors are also likely to consolidate China’s control of its immediate vicinity, including improved command and control, better training, greater access to land-based air power and missile forces, the existence of geographic chokepoints, as well as the concentrated nature of its forces – in contrast to the more dispersed deployment of U.S. forces. By 2030, the Chinese will likely be the dominant naval force up to an initial island chain that encircles the Yellow, East China and South China seas, while it will also enjoy significant advantages out to a farther limit running roughly from Japan to Indonesia through islands such as Guam and Palau. The United States, naturally, will remain largely dominant on the rest of the world’s oceans and seas.

Predicting China’s potential naval strength beyond 2030 is impossible, but the country could well seek to challenge the United States’ maritime dominance even farther out in the Pacific Ocean. For the decade to come, however, the country’s navy is set to go from strength to strength. It may not become the master of the open seas, but it will become the master of its own maritime backyard.

China’s Navy Prepares to Close the Gap on the U.S. is republished with the permission of Stratfor Worldview, a geopolitical intelligence and advisory firm.

Source: National Interest “How China’s Navy Will Rise: More Nuclear Submarines and Aircraft Carriers:”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views. Some of my views can be seen in this reblogger’s note


The Chinese Navy Is Building An Incredible Number Of Warships


H I Sutton Contributor Dec 15, 2019

While the U.S. Navy launches a handful of AEGIS destroyers each year, the single image below of a Shanghai shipyard shows nine newly constructed Chinese warships. China’s Navy, known as the PLAN (People’s Liberation Army Navy), is modernizing at an impressive rate. And on a vast scale. A key ingredient is the construction of a fleet of large destroyers, amphibious warships and aircraft carriers. The below photo, snapped from an airplane window on December 13, and shared on social media, captures the vast scale of this construction.

Image Analysis of photo of Chinese shipyard showing multiple warships at various stages of … [+]H I Sutton, with permission from @Loongnaval

Nearest the camera, a line of four newly constructed destroyers catch the sunlight. Two are Type-052D air-defense destroyers, generally equivalent to the U.S. Navy’s Arleigh Burke Class AEGIS destroyers. These displace 7,500 tons and can carry 64 large missiles including long range surface to air missiles (SAMs) and cruise missiles. The other two are larger Type-055 Class ships. These are also described as air-defense destroyers but are verging on cruisers in terms of size and fit. These are about twice the displacement and carry over 100 large missiles.

Behind them is the shipyard with its mass of construction halls and cranes. In the basin where the newest ships are docked after launch are another four destroyers. Again there are both Type-052D and Type-055 ships. Together with another Type-055 under construction on the left of the image, this brings the total number of large destroyers visible to 9. To put that into context, the Royal Navy’s entire destroyer fleet is just 6 ships. And this yard is just part of a much bigger construction program.

There are also some hovercraft which will be carried aboard the PLAN’s expanding fleet of amphibious warships. They will be used for transporting tanks and supplies from ship to shore. These are generally similar to the U.S. Navy’s Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC).

At the side of the basin, in a dry dock, is a massive Yuan Wang Class satellite and/or missile tracking ship. These are the sort of ships which look like an ocean liner but with a series of gigantic satellite dishes pointing skyward. When completed this could be used to support missile tests.

But the most impressive vessel is hidden in the background haze, barely discernible to the untrained eye. Beneath several massive gantry cranes in a purpose-built construction area is China’s next-generation aircraft carrier. China already has two carriers in service but this new carrier is expected to be significantly different. Known as the Type-003, it is believed to have electromagnetic catapults like the latest U.S. Navy Ford Class carrier. It is not expected to be launched for some time.

Other developments are not visible in the photo. It is the same shipyard where China’s mysterious sailless submarine has been constructed. Although that submarine is not clearly apparent in the photograph, it may be present in the basin.

This image paints an interesting picture of Chinese naval modernization. Yet the biggest takeaway is that this shipyard is not alone. There are many yards across China which are similarly impressive. The Chinese Navy of today, and the future, is changed beyond all recognition from the Chinese Navy of the past. The world naval balance is shifting.

Source: Forbes “The Chinese Navy Is Building An Incredible Number Of Warships”

Note: This is Forbes’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Report: Nuclear Submarines May Be The U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier’s Worst Enemy


What should America do?

by Lyle J. Goldstein November 24, 2019

Key Point: France has found a vulnerability that America’s adversaries want to exploit.

Early in 2015, a curious and disturbing report surfaced briefly and then disappeared—almost without a trace. The report, apparently published and then quickly retracted, had been posted by the French Ministry of Defense and concerned the successful operations of the French nuclear submarine Safir in an exercise pitting it against the U.S. Navy’s Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier battle group. The somewhat shocking content of the report—that the French submarine had succeeded in sinking “half the battle group” during the exercise—may explain its rapid purging from the internet. After all, close brothers in arms may demonstrate their tactical and operational prowess in a naval drill, but they should not gloat about that, and especially not in public, right?

The revelation that a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier group could be so vulnerable to a nuclear submarine did not make the mainstream media, and no mention was made by the many attentive defense analysts on this site, so it seems. However, the Chinese defense media does not miss much, especially concerning the capabilities of U.S. Navy carrier groups. In fact, a special issue of 兵工科技 [Ordnance Industry Science and Technology] (2015, no. 8) covered this “event,” featuring an interview with Chinese Submarine Academy professor 迟国仓 [Chi Guocang] as its cover story under the title: “A Single Nuclear Submarine ‘Sinks’ Half of an Aircraft Carrier Battle Group.”

Prof. Chi makes clear that he understands that “演习无法与实战相比 [an exercise can hardly be compared to real combat] and that, moreover, he evaluates U.S. Navy anti-submarine warfare (ASW) to be a “highly efficient” and “harmonized” system comprised of multiple layers of defense for an aircraft carrier. Yet, he concludes in the interview that the French report “有比较大的可信度” [has a reasonably high degree of credibility] and this edition of Dragon Eye will examine his logic in this respect, attempting to gain insights into emergent Chinese views on the utility of nuclear submarines in modern naval warfare.

At the outset of the interview, Prof. Chi asserts that submarines are the “克星” [nemesis] of aircraft carriers. He explains that over the course of World War II, no less than seventeen aircraft carriers were sunk by submarines. With another nod to the U.S. Navy’s prowess, Prof. Chi points out that eight of those seventeen were put down by U.S. submarines. Yet the historical episode that comes up repeatedly in the interview is not from WWII, but rather the Falklands War. This short, but sharp conflict from the early 1980s seems to have had an outsized impact on Chinese naval development, yielding Beijing’s singular and relentless focus on anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM) development. He demonstrates a very close study of that conflict, for example outlining the probable explanation for Argentine torpedo failures (complex and difficult hydrological conditions). He emphasizes the fact that the British nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror was able to track its prey, the General Belgrano, in that conflict over the course of fifty hours without detection before administering the coup de grace, as an example of the prowess of modern nuclear submarines. Yet he acknowledges that Argentine Navy ASW could not be compared to U.S. Navy ASW, of course.

So, the Chinese interviewer then asks bluntly: How is it that the French Navy was able to penetrate the formidable American ASW screen around the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt, allegedly “sinking” the big deck and some of its escorts too? Prof. Chi offers many hypotheses with respect to this question, but focuses in particular on the small displacement of the French submarine. He observes that the Rubis-class submarine is the world’s smallest nuclear submarine (2,670 tons submerged) and that could make it more difficult to detect. According to this Chinese expert’s analysis, the Los Angeles-class submarines protecting the aircraft carrier have about three times the displacement—placing them at a disadvantage, especially in a circumstance where both crews have a similar level of training proficiency. This is not the first time that Chinese submarine experts have admired France’s small displacement nuclear submarines, which they seem to think could be particularly well suited for the shallow waters of the Western Pacific. It is argued in this Chinese analysis, moreover, that the French submarine’s comparatively slow maximum speed (25 knots) seems hardly to be a major deficiency.

Prof. Chi makes note of the comparative weaknesses of diesel submarines. In a related point, he explains that very significant U.S. air ASW assets are quite reliant on radar detections of submarines on or near the ocean surface. Against nuclear submarines, therefore, he concludes that the air asset ASW search is “如‘大海捞针’一样难” [as difficult as fishing a needle from the vast ocean]. Other points made in this Chinese analysis include the observation that the larger the battle group, the easier it is to track this more conspicuous target at long distances. Prof. Chi also notes that the employment of ASW weaponry can inadvertently aid a submarine’s escape following an attack, because the weapons may significantly complicate the acoustic environment, thus hindering searches for the attacking submarine.

Another possible explanation for the skillful (simulated) attack of the Safir might be the French commander’s capable use of naturally occurring complex hydro-acoustic conditions. Prof. Chi describes a long list of such conditions, including well known phenomena such as “convergence zones,” “sound speed gradients,” as well as the more mysterious “cold eddy” [冷涡] and “afternoon effect” [午后较应]. Likewise, the Chinese expert mentions that weather can be a major asset for a stalking submarine as it can significantly hinder the operations of surface and especially air ASW forces without significantly impacting undersea operations.

At the end of the interview, Prof. Chi is asked whether the Soviet nuclear submarine-centric model for naval development or the American aircraft carrier group-centric model is inherently superior. But the Chinese expert rejects the question as too simplistic. He says that Soviet Admiral Sergei Gorshkov wanted a “balanced fleet,” but Moscow’s efforts in the naval realm ultimately fell short of that aspiration. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy, Chi contends, did succeed in this endeavor, so that the Washington’s fleet has “作战实力和能力无人能比” [combat power and capabilities without any peer] across all domains of naval warfare. It is likely positive from a deterrence perspective that Chinese experts have such esteem for American naval prowess, of course, but the article also illustrates how Chinese military analysts are diligently probing for cracks in the U.S. Navy’s armor, as they seek to develop their own naval capabilities that likewise cause “有人敬畏,有人怕” [people to admire and people to fear].

Lyle J. Goldstein is Associate Professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI. The opinions expressed in this analysis are his own and do not represent the official assessments of the U.S. Navy or any other agency of the U.S. Government. This first appeared in late 2015 and is being reposted due to reader interest.

Source: National Interest “Report: Nuclear Submarines May Be The U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier’s Worst Enemy”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


The Navy Has Spent $13 Billion On An Aircraft Carrier That Can’t Deploy


The delay could further inhibit the ability of the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet to deploy carriers.

by David Axe

November 13, 2019

Key point: The USS Gerald R. Ford might not be able to deploy until 2024.

The U.S. Navy’s new aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford might not be able to deploy until 2024. That’s years later than the Navy originally expected. The delay could further inhibit the ability of the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet to deploy carriers.

The nuclear-powered Ford, which cost no less than $13 billion to build, has been undergoing trials off the U.S. east coast since commissioning in 2017.

The Ford class, in theory, represents a major improvement over the previous Nimitz-class supercarriers. The Navy so has ordered four Fords. Lead vessel Ford was supposed to deploy for the first time in 2022.


The Fords are bigger than the Nimitzs are, boast superior sensors and a more efficient deck layout and feature precise electromagnetic catapults rather than the maintenance-intensive steam catapults that the Nimitzs have.

Sea trials have underlined a host of problems with the thousand-feet-long Ford that have compelled the Navy repeatedly to delay the ship’s first operational deployment.

The Navy’s decision to conduct explosive shock trials of the new flattop before deploying her also has contributed to the delays.

The most high-profile failures have involved the Electromagnetic Launch System catapult, a new aircraft arresting system called the Advanced Arresting Gear, the weapons elevators that haul bombs and missiles from the munitions magazines to the deck and the ship’s primary sensor, the Dual Band Radar.

Ford has four weapons elevators, each requiring precision installation of components weighing tens of tons. As of October 2019, just three of the elevators were working. “We certified now and turned over to the crew three elevators,” James Geurts, the Navy’s top acquisitions official, told lawmakers on Oct. 22, 2019. “The fourth one is very close.”

We’re about 75 percent done with the entire project,” Geurts explained. “We’re talking about in some cases [lining up] 70-ton doors and hatches. It’s not a technology issue. It’s a construction completion issue in terms of getting all the doors and hatches where they need to be.”

Naval Sea Systems Command head Vice Adm. Tom Moore said he was optimistic the Navy and shipbuilders would be able to make up for recent delays and get Ford out on her maiden deployment earlier than 2024. “We’re going to pull back as far to the left as we can, but I think we’re going to beat that,” Moore said at the same Oct. 22, 2019 hearing with lawmakers.

But Ford’s problems are just one factor in the Navy’s worsening struggle to sail carriers from the East Coast. USS Harry S. Truman in August 2019 suffered electrical problems that delayed her own planned deployment. Problems overhauling USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in late 2018 “left the carrier unable to relieve USS Abraham Lincoln in the Middle East and forced Truman into a double-pump deployment,” Sam LaGrone reported for USNI News.

The Navy’s controversial proposal in early 2019 prematurely to decommission one of its East Coast flattops would have compounded the shortage.

The sailing branch proposed to decommission the 21-year-old Truman in the early 2020s, just halfway through her planned service life, in order to free up billions of dollars for newer ships including Ford-class carriers.

But decommissioning Truman would have dropped the carrier fleet to a low of nine vessels in the 2030s, despite a legal requirement for the Navy to operate at least 11 carriers at all times. If the fleet lost Truman and couldn’t buy or deploy Fords fast enough owing to technical problems with the new ships, the carrier force could’ve shrunk even further.

Lawmakers objected to the Navy’s plan, forcing fleet leaders to backtrack. Truman is set to continue in service. But the delay in deploying Ford amounts to a cutback all its own. An aircraft carrier that can’t deploy doesn’t contribute anything to America’s national defense.

At the Oct. 22, 2019 hearing, Rep. Elaine Luria, a Virginia Democrat, castigated the Navy, describing Ford as a “$13-billion nuclear-powered floating berthing barge.”

David Axe serves as Defense Editor of the National Interest. He is the author of the graphic novels War Fix, War Is Boring and Machete Squad.

Source: National Interest “The Navy Has Spent $13 Billion On An Aircraft Carrier That Can’t Deploy”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for r


A Chinese Navy with 10 Aircraft Carriers? It Could Happen


It could be the reality by 2049

by Richard D. Fisher Jr.

Key Point: Limiting China now may prevent this.

In his reaction to the December 6 Chinese Global Times article quoting experts saying China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) may require five or six aircraft carriers, David Axe wrote an article asking, “Could Beijing really pull it off?” The short answer is that Beijing is just getting started.

For the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) one of the most important missions for state media like the Global Times is to ensure that the Chinese people never doubt the increasing power of CCP’s dictatorship and that all others come to accept the inevitability of China’s “benevolent” global leadership. The Global Times and many other outlets daily promote scores of articles touting elements of Chinese power ranging from specific new weapons to China’s grand strategies. From now on, a major goal of China’s state media and its strategic information operations will be acclimating the world to a globally-projected People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

One key characteristic of such articles is that they usually do not convey new information, but can track with what is already reported or mentioned in publicly available information. For example, on December 31, 2008, Kenji Minemura of the Asahi Shimbun, reporting from Beijing and citing “military and shipbuilding sources,” wrote that China would build two “domestically produced” aircraft carriers in addition to the Varyag/Liaoning, purchased from Ukraine. Then on February 13, 2009, he reported China would build two nuclear-powered carriers “in 2020 or later.” So a decade ago Chinese “military and shipbuilding sources” mooted the goal of five carriers, but why should this be viewed as China’s final goal?

Signs abound that China is building or seeking the infrastructure necessary for global maritime projection. China has assembled design teams for non-nuclear (CV) and nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (CVN) and has shipyards in Dalian and Shanghai now producing aircraft carriers. Multiple indications from Chinese sources indicate that after building two 65,000 ton CVs, the Shanghai yard will then start making larger CVNs for generations to come. Dalian could continue to build flattop carriers, or transition to landing helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious assault ships, but these might also follow the production of up to eight Type 071 landing platform dock amphibious assault ships. By 2049, the 100th anniversary of the CCP, the PLA could have over ten CVs and CVNs. In addition, Chinese sources indicate that the PLA Marines will be expanded to a force of 100,000, suggesting an eventual “Gator” navy of thirty to forty large amphibious projection ships.

The bases to support such a fleet is also discernible. In April 2013, the PLA revealed a newly-built naval base for its first aircraft carrier Liaoning in Qingdao, and before that, a new naval base in Yalong Bay on Hainan Island had been completed. Both today could likely accommodate four aircraft carriers. Should the PLA ever succeed in conquering democratic Taiwan, it is conceivable that Taiwan’s naval bases and ports, some newly built, could eventually accommodate at least six to eight nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. From Hainan and Taiwan bases, PLAN nuclear-powered carrier battle groups, including nuclear powered supply ships, could sortie very quickly to isolate Northeast Asia, isolate U.S. Navy forces in Guam and Hawaii, or project power to assert China’s interests in the South Pacific, the Indian Ocean, Africa, and in the Atlantic Ocean.

A global network of military access arrangements and bases is perhaps the second most important secondary product of China’s three to ten trillion-dollar Belt and Road initiative (BRI) and Maritime Silk Road infrastructure building initiatives; additional to the “purchase” of global governing political elites. PLA military network building has long complemented China’s economic and political power projection. Beijing’s economic and political muscle includes the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the pan-African China Africa Defense and Security Forum, and the clear intention to build a similar “forum” covering Latin America and the Caribbean. With the first real PLA foreign base or “logistical facility” in Djibouti, we can monitor Chinese interest in establishing similar military access in Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Maldives, Seychelles, Vanuatu, Fiji, Sao Tome and Principe, Nigeria, Zambia, and Venezuela. If the PLAN goes unchecked, it is reasonable to expect that around 2049, it could be supporting a presence in the Mediterranean, Atlantic Ocean, and the Arctic.

It is important to consider that this is just the tip-of-the-spear of the maritime dimension of China’s global projection of the PLA. There will also be hundreds of C-17 size 60-ton capacity Xian Aircraft Corporation Y-20 transports. Moreover, the help of Ukraine, Xian may also be producing one hundred ton capacity transports similar to the Antonov An-124. The PLA Airborne Corps is now introducing a second generation of light airborne armor and artillery, additional to new medium-weight wheeled armor units in the PLA Ground Forces, already available for airborne projection. There is also the PLA’s space power projection, with the PLA now racing the United States to the Moon where it will build dual-use bases for civil and military use to support military control of the Earth-Moon System.

Before one blanches at the many years of near trillion-dollar a year defense budgets necessary just to ramp up to the level needed to deter a globally-projected PLA, it is useful to consider the alternatives. By the time China has two carriers, a North Korean nuclear crisis could divert U.S. attention to the point of tempting China to initiate its long-planned invasion of Taiwan. In addition to the potential U.S. lives lost in this war, the twenty-one million people of Taiwan could suffer the humanitarian catastrophe of Xinjiang-like concentration camps to eradicate their democratic culture. This could then set a pattern for the coming century, as the United States and the democracies face repeated harsh choices of either opposing or accepting China’s all around aggression from the seas and space, to its imposition of new digital dictatorships.

But this not need not come to pass. The United States and the democracies can avoid spending decades relearning lessons from the last Cold War. It is possible now to start developing policies toward China based on the premise that the CCP constitutes an existential threat to the democracies. Limiting China’s broad access to economic and technical innovation centers in the democracies can be helped with a new global organization similar to the Committee on Export Controls (COCOM). For its part in the near-term, America can beat China to the Moon, and be the first to occupy strategic areas on its poles. Also, smart investments in defense systems with long-term impact can be made, such as considering a new class of 65,000 ton Landing helicopter dock ships armed with scores of vertical launchers for intermediate and medium-range ballistic missiles. Instead of retiring the U.S. Air Force’s B-1 bombers, repurpose them as supersonic maritime control strike platforms, maybe even giving them to the U.S. Navy.

Finally, after withdrawing from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, Washington should not limit itself to only investing heavily in its own short, medium, and intermediate-range missiles. America also should change longstanding policies limiting the missile arsenals of its allies, and then work with them to build new long-range deterrent capabilities. For them, missiles are a far less costly military investment, and they have a greater prospect for deterring the Chinese should America have to move its forces to counter Chinese aggression. Furthermore, only when the United States and its allies are so armed might China change its decades-long refusal to join arms control agreements which actually limit its missile forces.

Source: National Interest “A Chinese Navy with 10 Aircraft Carriers? It Could Happen”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


The $13-Billion ‘Barge’? The U.S. Navy’s Newest Aircraft Carrier Can’t Deploy


The U.S. Navy’s new aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford might not be able to deploy until 2024. That’s years later than the Navy originally expected. The delay could further inhibit the ability of the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet to deploy carriers.

by David Axe October 24, 2019

The U.S. Navy’s new aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford might not be able to deploy until 2024. That’s years later than the Navy originally expected. The delay could further inhibit the ability of the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet to deploy carriers.

The nuclear-powered Ford, which cost no less than $13 billion to build, has been undergoing trials off the U.S. east coast since commissioning in 2017.

The Ford class, in theory, represents a major improvement over the previous Nimitz-class supercarriers. The Navy so has ordered four Fords. Lead vessel Ford was supposed to deploy for the first time in 2022.

The Fords are bigger than the Nimitzs are, boast superior sensors and a more efficient deck layout and feature precise electromagnetic catapults rather than the maintenance-intensive steam catapults that the Nimitzs have.

Sea trials have underlined a host of problems with the thousand-feet-long Ford that have compelled the Navy repeatedly to delay the ship’s first operational deployment. The Navy’s decision to conduct explosive shock trials of the new flattop before deploying her also has contributed to the delays.

The most high-profile failures have involved the Electromagnetic Launch System catapult, a new aircraft arresting system called the Advanced Arresting Gear, the weapons elevators that haul bombs and missiles from the munitions magazines to the deck and the ship’s primary sensor, the Dual Band Radar.

Ford has four weapons elevators, each requiring precision installation of components weighing tens of tons. As of October 2019, just three of the elevators were working. “We certified now and turned over to the crew three elevators,” James Geurts, the Navy’s top acquisitions official, told lawmakers on Oct. 22, 2019. “The fourth one is very close.”

We’re about 75 percent done with the entire project,” Geurts explained. “We’re talking about in some cases [lining up] 70-ton doors and hatches. It’s not a technology issue. It’s a construction completion issue in terms of getting all the doors and hatches where they need to be.”

Naval Sea Systems Command head Vice Adm. Tom Moore said he was optimistic the Navy and shipbuilders would be able to make up for recent delays and get Ford out on her maiden deployment earlier than 2024. “We’re going to pull back as far to the left as we can, but I think we’re going to beat that,” Moore said at the same Oct. 22, 2019 hearing with lawmakers.

But Ford’s problems are just one factor in the Navy’s worsening struggle to sail carriers from the East Coast. USS Harry S. Truman in August 2019 suffered electrical problems that delayed her own planned deployment. Problems overhauling USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in late 2018 “left the carrier unable to relieve USS Abraham Lincoln in the Middle East and forced Truman into a double-pump deployment,” Sam LaGrone reported for USNI News.

The Navy’s controversial proposal in early 2019 prematurely to decommission one of its East Coast flattops would have compounded the shortage.

The sailing branch proposed to decommission the 21-year-old Truman in the early 2020s, just halfway through her planned service life, in order to free up billions of dollars for newer ships including Ford-class carriers.

But decommissioning Truman would have dropped the carrier fleet to a low of nine vessels in the 2030s, despite a legal requirement for the Navy to operate at least 11 carriers at all times. If the fleet lost Truman and couldn’t buy or deploy Fords fast enough owing to technical problems with the new ships, the carrier force could’ve shrunk even further.

Lawmakers objected to the Navy’s plan, forcing fleet leaders to backtrack. Truman is set to continue in service. But the delay in deploying Ford amounts to a cutback all its own. An aircraft carrier that can’t deploy doesn’t contribute anything to America’s national defense.

At the Oct. 22, 2019 hearing, Rep. Elaine Luria, a Virginia Democrat, castigated the Navy, describing Ford as a “$13-billion nuclear-powered floating berthing barge.”

David Axe serves as Defense Editor of the National Interest. He is the author of the graphic novels War Fix, War Is Boring and Machete Squad.

Source: National Interest “The $13-Billion ‘Barge’? The U.S. Navy’s Newest Aircraft Carrier Can’t Deploy”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


America’s New Carrier Class Has Less Striking Power but Costs 6x as Much as an Old Forrestal


Just to give you an idea how much more corrupt and inefficient the MIC has grown since the 1950s

Invincible Empire

Navy Matters16 hours ago

The Ford class aircraft carrier represents the pinnacle of carrier development. Its features represent the best aircraft carrier characteristics ever conceived and have never before been matched. The Ford instantly obsoletes every other carrier that has come before. Or so the Navy would have us believe. In true ComNavOps fashion, let’s take a level-headed, objective look at a comparison between a supposedly hopelessly obsolete carrier design, the Forrestal, and the revolutionary Ford.

Here’s a quick comparison: 

Forrestal

Ford

Cost, FY19 dollars

$2.1B

$13.5B+

Length Overall, ft

1067

1106

Displacement Full Load, tons

81,101

100,000

Speed, kts

33

30+

Range, miles

12,500b

unlimited

Propulsion, Shaft Hp

260,000

?

Air Wing, number of aircraft

82-86

63-70

Combat Aircraft, number of aircraft

58-60

40-44

Crew without Air Wing

2700

2832a

a Reportedly around 700 less than a Nimitz class

b Estimated – USS Enterprise, CV-6, had a range of 12,500 nm at 15 kts (Wikipedia); I’ve been unable to find an actual range for Forrestal

USS Forrestal

USS Ford

So, how do the two carriers compare? Well, two factors just leap off the page.

Cost. The Ford just explodes any previous carrier cost by a staggering amount. Ford costs over 6x a Forrestal !!!!!! We could build 6 Forrestals for one Ford. Even compared to the Nimitz class, the Ford is about 60% more expensive (see, “Carrier Costs”).

The Ford cost is simply not sustainable. A single Ford represents nearly a full year’s shipbuilding budget all by itself. There’s no mystery about why our carrier fleet is steadily declining and why our air wings are steadily shrinking – it’s all about the cost.

Air Wing. The other number that leaps off the page is the size of the air wings and the number of combat aircraft (fighters and strike). Despite a whopping 23% increase in displacement, the Ford carries far fewer aircraft: only ¾ of the Forrestal air wing and 70% of the combat aircraft (less when F-18 tanker aircraft are excluded from the count).

Note that F-35C squadrons will be only 10 aircraft, further reducing the air wing and combat aircraft numbers. (2)

Combat. The reason a carrier exists is, of course, combat. Does the Ford offer any combat enhancements over a Forrestal? None. The only combat related claim ever made for the Ford was the now-debunked (by GAO and others) sortie rate claim. In fact, the Ford has a few features that actually decrease its combat capability such as the EMALS catapults that can’t be individually or easily repaired without taking all the catapults off line in a massively time consuming electrical flywheel spin down and spin up procedure.

All other combat characteristics are identical between the two carriers: same number of catapults, same launch capacity, same flight cycle operations, same aircraft recovery capacity, same number of elevators, etc.

Conclusion. So, what do we gain from our staggeringly expensive $13B+ state of the art Ford class carrier? Absolutely nothing! In fact, the Forrestal cost a fraction of the Ford and carried a larger air wing. Some of you may be saying that the Ford could carry a larger air wing and you’d be right, in theory. The reality, however, is that the carrier costs so much that we can’t afford the air wing. What’s a carrier without an air wing? A floating paperweight! What’s a carrier with a reduced air wing? A marginally useful combat carrier.

Note: You know that we only have 9 air wings for our 11 carriers, right? That means we only have a maximum of 9 operational carriers.

Consider, however, if we were to build modern versions of the Forrestal for $2.1B. Compared to the Ford, that would leave us with $11.4B to buy more carriers and more more/larger air wings.

A modern Forrestal sized air wing (say, 85 aircraft), at an average of $100M per aircraft, just to use a round number, costs around $8.5B – well within our $11.4B savings and still leaving us with $2.9B we could use for another carrier or escorts.

So, why are we building 100,000 ton, $13B+ Fords when we’ve just demonstrated that a modern Forrestal could provide the same combat capability and larger air wings for a tiny fraction of the cost?

___________________

Reference – Air Wing Composition

Typical air wing composition in mid-1980’s with number of squadrons, type of aircraft, and number of aircraft per squadron. (1)

2x F-14 Tomcat, 12 ea = 24

2x A-7 Corsair, 12 ea = 24

1x A-6 Intruder, 10-12 plus 4 KA-6D

1x E-2 Hawkeye, 4-6

1x EA-6B Prowler, 4

1x SH-3 Sea King, 6

1x S-3 Viking, 10

Total = 82-86

Combat = 58-60

Typical current air wing composition with number of squadrons, type of aircraft, and number of aircraft per squadron. (1)

4x F-18 Hornet, 10-12 ea = 40-44

1x E-2 Hawkeye, 4-5

1x EA-18G Growler, 5

1x MH-60S Seahawk, 8

1x MH-60R Seahawk, 6-8

Total = 63-70

Combat = 40-44

Source: Navy Matters

Source: Anti-empire “America’s New Carrier Class Has Less Striking Power but Costs 6x as Much as an Old Forrestal”

Note: This is Anti-empier’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.