Aircraft Carriers III

U.S. Aircraft Carrier Deployments at 25 Year Low as Navy Struggles to Reset Force
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How Much Does Presence Matter?
A key tenant of Navy operations after the Korean War was constant U.S. naval presence in the world’s hot spots as a deterrent to aggression, with the carrier strike group as the most visible tool.

“There is no replacement for a carrier strike group in any phase of any kind of conflict. There are multiple examples of when a carrier strike group was put in place to deter,” then-Director of Air Warfare Rear Adm. Mike Manazir said during a House Armed Service readiness subcommittee hearing in 2015.
“Cuba in 1961. 1996, through the Taiwan Strait, two carrier strikers were sailed through there. The deterrence factor to the United States is significant. The carrier strike group, and no, sir, because of the resources the nation puts into the carrier strike group, which is not only the carrier but the five destroyers, cruisers that go with it and all the people that go into that, it is worth that deterrence factor.”

The reduction in deployment does come as the air war against the Islamic State has reached a nadir and the requirement for air power in the Middle East is far lower than at the height of conflicts of Afghanistan and Iraq. Naval aviation was key to U.S. airpower needs in the Middle East, with carrier-based strike fighters responsible for up to a third of air missions. That commitment put not only a strain on carriers but also the strike aircraft in the air wing.

The Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet mission capable rates have been steadily declining since 2012, largely due to heavy use in support of Middle East operations. Less than half of the Super Hornet fleet is currently mission capable, according to Navy data obtained by USNI News.

“It’s not the just availability of the ship, it’s the availability of the squadrons. These aircraft have to go into maintenance, many time depot level maintenance. You can’t keep flying these aircraft at that rate,” Wittman said.
“We have to add more F/A-18 aircraft to the carrier fleet while at the same time we’re trying to ramp up and bring in F-35C into the inventory.”

In the meantime, there has been a quiet shift in Middle East naval presence. There hasn’t been a carrier in the Persian Gulf since USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) left in March.

In September, almost a hundred Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy boats exercised in a rehearsal to block merchant traffic in the Strait of Hormuz. Instead of a carrier strike group being nearby, there was a single guided-missile destroyer and a handful of coastal patrol craft operating in the Gulf. And while the Russians conducted a massive naval exercise in the Mediterranean Sea earlier this month, the closest carrier strike group was on the other side of the Atlantic operating off the coast of Canada.

Navy leaders acknowledged that getting the force healthy would require choices for changes in how the Navy conducts its presence operations.

“When you’re resetting, there’s going to be tension, so the balance between those two things. How do you get a force ready to fight at the high end, and how do you reassure partners and allies on the other side? I think you can do both at the same time, but there’s going to be some working through this as we go,” VCNO Moran told USNI News.
“There are people who are perhaps a little concerned that there’s not a carrier in the Gulf right now, but there are other people in the [North Atlantic] that are delighted to see us back there because there’s other issues there as well, so I think we are trying to strike that balance.”

Clark told USNI News a key to the new reality of carrier presence was to clearly communicate with allies that things would be different.

“There’s an advocacy component to this, where you have to explain to your allies that your presence and the posture you see day-to-day is going to change,” he said. “That’s not a reflection of us retreating. It’s not a reflection of our lack of credibility, but it’s part of our overall strategy. You have to explain the strategy and make it clear to them and they will also need to see the benefit that sometimes they get more presence than they would have in the past.”

For Wittman, the Navy and the Pentagon need to take care to signal to adversaries the U.S. strategic intention.

“I do think it’s a big deal because it’s key for us to have presence, especially these days. We watch the behavior of our adversaries get increasingly aggressive, and without presence there it could encourage our adversaries to be even more aggressive,” he said.
“Just a delay in a carrier deployment or presence in and of itself – if this were a first-time occurrence, I would say that it’s not that big a deal, but I think you have to look at it in the broader perspective. What’s led up to this?”

Eric Sayers, who previously served as a special assistant to the commander at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and as a Senate Armed Services Committee staffer, said the troubles in carrier readiness should force the Navy to consider more presence missions that aren’t centered on a carrier strike group.

“I see an opportunity here for the Navy to have a conversation about how they bring significant combat capability to bear beyond the aircraft carrier,” he told USNI News this week. “Even when we don’t have a carrier sailing in the Gulf or the Pacific, we have other highly-capable destroyers, cruisers, attack submarines, and cruise-missile submarines forward-deployed globally performing a conventional deterrence mission for the nation. This often gets overlooked, as we are too quick to tally the days without a carrier deployed in a specific theater.”

For Work, having a more lethal fighting force is worth small gaps in U.S. carrier presence.

“When people say ‘when you reduce your presence, something will happen,’ this is such a large dynamic world and this is such a small minor input, I just can’t imagine any country saying ‘I’m going to risk a war with the United States simply because they don’t have a carrier out right now,’” he told USNI News, referring to the 22-day gap in U.S. carrier presence this summer.
“If they’re going to risk a war with the United States, it’s going to be, ‘hey, we think we can win.’ And they may pick a time when it’s advantageous, but the lack of a carrier isn’t going to be the trigger in my view. There are a lot of people who say absence does send a signal; I just don’t buy it.”
an alternative would be to organize Task Forces (just saying)

Obi Wan Russell

Jedi Master
VIP Professional

While all Forum members eagerly await pics and video of the historic first landing of an F35B Lightning on HMS QE, we are able to confirm that such will be available tomorrow Friday 28 Sep following a media embargo from MoD until then.
The Press Release will contain pics and video of the first landings and take offs that have been confirmed as occurring earlier this week.
One day to wait!28070929_10155127320811481_3694740524805577623_o.jpg 42654174_10155598628676481_8663288505952108544_n.jpg 19961527_10154569834426481_7494615411514280579_n.jpg 42246735_1108924249266839_7664985759576752128_n.jpg
Sep 17, 2018
LOL it's been some time:
Aircraft Carriers II (Closed to posting) Mar 25, 2014
"Have you heard of shipborne rolling vertical landing (SRVL) yet? In case you haven't (as me, of course :) check this:
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guess now it's time again for
What is Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing?

September 17, 2018
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and now noticed SRVL info inside
UK prepares for F-35B carrier trials
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First F-35 landing happened on QE on the 25th September. 2 F-35's involved. Nathan Gray was the first to land followed by an RAF piloted F-35. Ski jump takeoffs have been performed as well..

Both the UKDJ and Janes appear to have broken the media embargo and have released some detail early...looks like they've had a slap on the wrist from the MoD and have deleted their tweets. The link below with an image of a ski jump launch might not work soon...

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