Are aircraft carriers a weapon of a bygone era? No matter how


USS Enterprise is the "First and Best" atomic titanium during the Cold War. Photo: US Navy


Of course, this article should start with the fact that many copies have been broken in the disputes on the topic of aircraft carriers - this is an extremely acute issue that has excited inquisitive minds since the beginning of the Cold War, or, perhaps, the end of World War II - since then, many military analysts, naval commanders, and just amateurs questioned the very fact of the need for carriers of carrier-based aircraft. Such reflections arose both from banal ignorance and from the inexorable technical progress of weapons (in particular, missile weapons) - a number of these factors over and over again brought the existence of such large and vulnerable, in the opinion of many, ships under a natural question.

In our time, theories that aircraft carriers have become a relic of the past, like battleships, are heard more and more often - they are especially heated by controversies in the US Congress, which, of course, are the world leader in the construction and practical use of such warships, and are leading this tradition since the Second World War (it is worth noting that overseas policy They have been conducting such discussions for more than a decade - and, unfortunately, many people extremely misunderstand the ordinary "political showdown" of American officials and the military).

These disputes, however, do not diminish reality in any way - and the reality is that aircraft-carrying ships are making a new round of their development before our eyes and are by no means going to leave their rightful place; By no means, with the development of helicopters, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, and unmanned aircraft, the world has received a real "aircraft carrier boom" - light support ships and serious attack ships are being built absolutely everywhere, from China and the United States to Turkey and Italy. Skeptics rush to ridicule this phenomenon - it is widely believed that it is nothing more than "symbols of state prestige." Such opinions sometimes sound convincing and even reasoned - however, as in most cases of criticism of a particular type of weapon, the most important thing is overlooked ...

Concept


Remember this word, because now it will occupy all our attention - perhaps the concept is the first thing that we need to know and understand in this or that type of weapon.

Not a single weapon is created spontaneously, without tasks and well-thought-out tactics of use - of course, there are examples of the opposite, and there are many of them, but we are talking about proven and working technologies. Returning to the topic of aircraft-carrying ships, there are two main concepts that were born and developed in this area of ​​weapons:

1) The British concept - an aircraft-carrying ship is considered a classic naval combat unit, the only difference of which is aircraft armament. A classic concept that was developed, for example, in the USSR.
2) American concept - aircraft carrier is considered as a mobile air base; aviation in it prevails in importance over the ship as a combat unit - hence, for example, the tradition is born according to which the captains of aircraft carriers are naval pilots, and not naval officers.

Currently, the American concept of using aircraft carriers prevails in the professional environment - it has proven its practicality, and its effectiveness is beyond doubt. In turn, the British concept is widespread among amateurs - it is for this reason that "paramilitary observers" so often question the need for the construction, and indeed the very existence of any aircraft-carrying ships.


USS Abraham Lincoln as part of an aircraft carrier strike group at the RIMPAC exercises - such photographs often mislead the layman about the actual construction of a combat order of the American AUG. Photo: US Navy

It should be noted in this a very funny logical incident - it never occurs to anyone to assert that aviation is meaningless in the conditions of modern war, that it has outlived its usefulness and its development has reached a dead end; by no means, even amateurs understand that aviation in any of its forms is the main and actual weapon in the realities of today's battlefield. With all this, it is completely commonplace to think that it is not needed in the fleet - and it is precisely to this unreasonable conclusion that the opponents of the entire aircraft carrier lead. Without an aircraft carrier, naval formations have no planes, helicopters and UAVs - therefore, the Navy is deprived of the most formidable weapon of our time. Without aviation, it is impossible to build a working target designation system; the fleet becomes "short-sighted" and weak even in carrying out patrol missions, not to mention search, strike, amphibious, anti-submarine and a great variety of others. Even the most high-tech and high-speed missile will be absolutely useless without the coordinates of the enemy - and it is precisely AWACS planes and helicopters that can provide the most reliable detection and target designation, guaranteed to send missile salvos to the “final destination”.

In the Soviet Union, the theme of aircraft-carrying ships was banned for a long time - in fact, this is how one could briefly describe the politicized perception of carrier-based aircraft by the highest military circles of the USSR. Many myths generated in those years ("an aircraft carrier is a weapon of aggression" or "an aircraft carrier is an unarmed trough") continue to exist today, despite the fact that the course of modern history has successfully refuted them. This point of view can be justified by various factors - technical, economic, psychological, - but now one thing can be said for sure - it was fundamentally wrong.

The Commander-in-Chief of the USSR Navy, Sergei Georgievich Gorshkov, also realized this - despite the ideological clichés prevailing in the highest echelons of power, he was able to implement the construction of a whole series of aircraft-carrying ships of several types.

Yes, it is now customary to criticize Project 1143 for "low efficiency" and "lack of expediency" (there are, however, opposite opinions about the ships of this project, which present it as a kind of Soviet absolute weapon) - to some extent, such statements are true, because the main weapon of the Soviet aircraft carriers - aviation - was represented by a very mediocre attack aircraft Yak-38. But in no case should we forget that the Krechets carried Ka-25 and Ka-27 helicopters on their decks: this significantly expanded the capabilities of Soviet cruising strike groups, allowing them both to conduct anti-submarine warfare and to provide target designation for their powerful missile weapons.


The Red Banner heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser "Kiev" is one of the brightest symbols of the Soviet military machine. Photo: Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

Yes, when we talk about carrier-based aircraft, helicopters should never be overlooked - they are an incredibly useful and multifunctional tool in the arsenal of any fleet, which can provide a wide range of tasks: from patrol and search to logistics and strike. To reduce the concept of "carrier-based aircraft" to supersonic fighters alone is extremely incorrect and fundamentally wrong. A helicopter carrier can be the perfect core of any battle group, providing, albeit in a concise format, many of the functions of its older counterparts. The USSR understood this perfectly well, having created a number of excellent deck-based vehicles.

Currently, in the fleets of many countries of the world, one can observe the "evolution" of aircraft carrying forces, associated with both the development of UAVs and the emergence of the American stealthy carrier-based fighter F-35B, which has the ability to vertical takeoff and landing - this machine led to the revival of the class of light aircraft carriers. the construction price and technological level of which are quite acceptable for the European and Asian allies of the United States. Of course, this class of ships is extremely blurred within its borders - it includes both low-displacement aircraft carriers and universal amphibious assault ships and even "Izumo-class" helicopter-carrying destroyers of the Japanese Navy. In any case, the presence of the F-35B on the decks significantly expands the strike capabilities of such ships - and the combination with helicopters makes it possible to create a full-fledged multifunctional core for a combat group capable of autonomously performing tasks in the far sea zone.

The following ships can be distinguished as prominent representatives of this class:

1) Universal landing ship-aircraft carrier "Juan Carlos I" (Spain)
2) Universal landing ship "USS America" ​​(USA)
3) Light aircraft carrier "Cavour" (Italy)
4) Helicopter destroyer "Izumo" (Japan)
5) Universal landing ship-aircraft carrier "TCG Anadolu" (Turkey)

Undoubtedly, such a concept makes it possible to significantly expand the arsenal and strengthen the power of the navy; It is also true that ships of this type are inferior in their capabilities to larger carriers of carrier-based aircraft, but this in no way diminishes their value - a small air group does not mean that such a ship is ineffective.

Separately, it would be worth considering the Turkish UDC "Anadolu" - technically this ship is a copy of the Spanish "Juan Carlos I", and its air group was designed for the basing of carrier-based fighters F-35B. However, the consequences of their own policies intervened in the initial plans of the Turkish leadership - the United States refused to supply its fifth generation aircraft, and the first Turkish aircraft carrier, in essence, was left without weapons.

In this regard, Turkey took the risk of taking an extremely interesting and unusual path, which has been exciting the minds of many military analysts for the second decade, and to create an air group based on unmanned aircraft. The Turkish aircraft manufacturer Baykar Makina has already launched work on the creation of vertical take-off and landing UAVs - from this it can be concluded that Ankara wants to get its hands on a heavy attack drone - perhaps a deck analogue of Bayraktar AKINCI (however, perhaps in in the end, we will see the end result of these works and a jet drone). If the project is successfully implemented, Turkey will become a "trendsetter" in the field of "budget" aircraft-carrying ships - so far no one has dared to implement such a bold concept, which, of course, will have far-reaching consequences: unmanned carrier-based attack aircraft will radically change the current the combat value of light aircraft carriers (at least, it can be noted that even on ships of existing projects it will be possible to place a significant number of such aircraft, and this will be cheaper than VTOL aircraft).


TCG Anadolu and its sister ship TCG Trakya may become the world's first UAV carriers. Photo: Turkish Ministry of National Defense

The evolution of naval and land missile weapons by no means removes naval air platforms from the scene - on the contrary, it makes them even more relevant as a universal means of both defense and attack - such ships become means of strategic projection of military power on the sea lanes of a potential enemy; the reduction in the cost and simplification of designs, concepts and approaches to the construction of aircraft carrier forces perfectly underline their necessity and usefulness in the composition of the naval forces - from weapons of exceptionally rich and developed countries carriers of carrier-based aircraft become available replenishment of arsenals and developing countries (for example, India and Turkey) ... The imaginary vulnerability of such large surface ships is interpreted fundamentally incorrectly - it is impossible to consider an element of the system (which an aircraft carrier strike group is) outside the framework of the system itself - this is as absurd as, for example, to demand that a divisional logistics battalion be able to organize effective air defense ... Like any tactical unit, the naval group works in conjunction, which, in turn, ensures the fulfillment of all the necessary combat missions - and it is absolutely pointless to demand the fulfillment of this condition from its separately taken element.

Summing up, we can safely say: no, the aircraft-carrying ships are not only not outdated - by no means, they are expecting an extremely rapid development in a new format and quality; carriers of carrier-based aircraft will only become obsolete on the day when the very concept of aviation will become obsolete and a thing of the past - as long as the means of air warfare are relevant in any of their incarnations, aircraft carriers will also exist.
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  1. steelmaker Offline steelmaker
    steelmaker 14 March 2021 09: 18
    0
    The article contains a lot of information for thought and controversy. For global approval or condemnation, I do not have such information. But:

    A classic concept that was developed, for example, in the USSR.

    After the Second World War, the USSR had many other problems and aircraft carriers were postponed for later. Even now, after the collapse of the USSR, there is no money, and there is no need to restore what was destroyed. 30 years have passed. The USSR had its own bases, even in Cuba, so aircraft carriers were not needed either. And the USSR was not going to attack and conquer by military means. Hence the concept is - defense!

    Turkey will become a "trendsetter" in the field of "budget" aircraft carriers

    Even Turkey understands that aircraft carriers are high technologies. And Russia is obliged to own high technologies! If he wants to be a Great Power! Therefore, at least a couple of aircraft carriers Russia is obliged to have !!!
    1. Andrey V. Offline Andrey V.
      Andrey V. (Andrei) 14 March 2021 10: 56
      +4
      Let me disagree with you - having a videoconferencing system does not mean that we are an aggressor eager to tear apart someone's land, does it?

      Then why do planes and helicopters on the deck of a ship automatically become weapons of aggression?)

      Aviation is a multifunctional tool. The fact of the matter is that military professionals in the USSR perfectly understood the need for aircraft carriers and built them - and by no means for "aggression", but simply because they are necessary in naval warfare.
      1. steelmaker Offline steelmaker
        steelmaker 14 March 2021 14: 46
        -1
        And what does the videoconferencing have to do with it? You have an article about aircraft carriers. And ASU is created for aggression in the first place. If not, prove otherwise. If two aircraft carriers are not enough for you, write, we will discuss your proposals.
        1. Andrey V. Offline Andrey V.
          Andrey V. (Andrei) 14 March 2021 15: 48
          +2
          I am happy to discuss with you the topic of aircraft carriers, if you understand and accept the fact that ground and naval aviation are absolutely identical to each other)

          Let me give you a simple example: a carrier-based helicopter that hunts for a missile submarine in our inner water area - is it a weapon of aggression?
          1. steelmaker Offline steelmaker
            steelmaker 15 March 2021 13: 23
            -1
            Your article is competent. And I do not own such global information on aircraft carriers as you do. I pulled out two lines from your article that are interesting and understandable to me. Good luck and more interesting articles.
            1. Andrey V. Offline Andrey V.
              Andrey V. (Andrei) 15 March 2021 18: 26
              0
              Thank you for your kind words!
  2. The comment was deleted.
  3. gorenina91 Offline gorenina91
    gorenina91 (Irina) 14 March 2021 11: 20
    -1
    Are aircraft carriers a weapon of a bygone era? No matter how

    - Yes, who would argue ...
    - Such an AUG (and more than one) with an additional "support group" (with a bunch of submarines and destroyers not directly included in these aircraft carrier groups) will roll up ... - yes, at least ... - besides, today's China ... - yes will preliminarily give a very good "general illumination" for the Chinese air defense, electronic warfare, electronic warfare, etc. ... - Chinese satellites will begin to transmit all kinds of garbage, and all the main Chinese electronics on the ground will simply lose their control and functions ... - Well, and ... - there are already simultaneous missile and air strikes on all Chinese targets ... - And all this colossal, innumerable Chinese army (with all its numerous armored vehicles and motorized infantry and artillery and MLRS) ... - China will not save ...
    - For backward Russia, China is terrible ... - they just throw their hats over us ... - But these "Chinese hats" are unlikely to reach the Americans, across the ocean ...
    1. Ulysses Offline Ulysses
      Ulysses (Alexey) 14 March 2021 23: 01
      -1
      Such an AUG (and more than one) with an additional "support group" (with a bunch of submarines and destroyers not directly included in these carrier groups) will roll up ... - but at least ... - besides, today's China.

      Will pollute someone else's sea with the products of his vital activity and dump it back.
      This is the best case for AUG. repeat

      Pomnitsa, in the spring of 2017, 2 AUGs were hanging out near the shores of North Korea (then they even sent a third) to intimidate the "plump" one.

      And nothing fell for the Koreans there, no one and nothing lost control and functions.
      US President Donald Trump said that he and the leader of the DPRK Kim Jong-un have a good relationship. laughing

      For not all Somalia.

      The world has checked out the "fsyu mosch" of the American AUG.

      1. Andrey V. Offline Andrey V.
        Andrey V. (Andrei) 15 March 2021 00: 14
        +2
        Ulysses, please explain why you and many others interpret this mediocre American political gesture as a reflection of the real combat power of the AUG?)

        In fact, there were not even real strike groups there - only two ships with aircraft carriers in their composition. And it is quite understandable that the Americans dragged them there not even in order to scare them - they do it in a completely different way ("Flitex-82" as an excellent example), but for the sake of the notorious "good show".

        US policy may seem ridiculous, ridiculous and even stupid as you like - but in no case should we forget that their weapons are deadly, and are held in the hands of military professionals who have little in common with silly "talking heads" like Trump.

        The Japanese at one time, too, in all seriousness argued that they would prevail over the Yankees at the expense of morale and fortitude, considering them for a nation of idiots and cowards - we should not make such a mistake.
        1. Ulysses Offline Ulysses
          Ulysses (Alexey) 15 March 2021 00: 31
          0
          Ulysses, please explain why you and many others interpret this mediocre American political gesture as a reflection of the real combat power of the AUG?)

          And it is quite understandable that the Americans dragged them there not even in order to scare them - they do it in a completely different way ("Flitex-82" as an excellent example), but for the notorious "good show".

          The real weakness of the American AUG was manifested even during the war of the "coalition" against Iraq.
          This has already been discussed here and I took part in the discussion.
          If you don’t have time to find that topic, I can repeat it.

          Tomorrow night, I have to get up early, work hard.

          Check out a comparison of the effectiveness of ground and naval aviation during the Iraqi war at your leisure.
        2. Ulysses Offline Ulysses
          Ulysses (Alexey) 15 March 2021 18: 53
          +1
          Ulysses, please explain why you and many others interpret this mediocre American political gesture as a reflection of the real combat power of the AUG?)

          Because 3 AUG just don't drive.
          The bluff did not succeed, and the forces of funds were clearly not enough to complete the combat mission.
          I had to get out, because the "unacceptable losses" (both combat and image losses) clearly exceeded the profit from the demonstration flogging. repeat

          Actually, there were not even real strike groups there - only two ships with aircraft carriers in their composition.

          This fact only shows the current state of the US Navy.
          Previously, the AUG was formed around an aircraft carrier.
          Now in your interpretation, they are being fastened to what ??

          (Flitex-82 is a great example)

          Where is there a great example ??
          The usual atmosphere of the 80s of the last century.
          Ended up with the shooting down of a South Korean Boeing.
          Got it "pontozers"
        3. Ulysses Offline Ulysses
          Ulysses (Alexey) 15 March 2021 20: 07
          +1
          US policy may seem ridiculous, ridiculous and even stupid as you like - but in no case should we forget that their weapons are deadly, and are held in the hands of military professionals who have little in common with silly "talking heads" like Trump.

          The expediency of using aircraft carriers in combat operations casts doubt on their high cost. For example, a new aircraft carrier of the Ford class (CVN-78) will cost US taxpayers about $ 13 billion. And this is without taking into account the cost of aviation. In addition, the price rises significantly when you take into account the costs of the escort team accompanying the aircraft carrier. "At some point, the military benefits of an aircraft carrier may become irrelevant compared to the costs of building, maintaining and effectively deploying the ship and its air wing," - warns The National Interest.

          The publication comes to the paradoxical conclusion that, perhaps, Russia and China will not even need to physically destroy aircraft carriers in order to bring this type of weapon to extinction. The existing means of dealing with such ships and their high cost will force the American president and admirals of the US Navy to show maximum concern for the safety of aircraft carriers, which means the command will beware of actively using them during the war.

          https://rg.ru/2017/03/19/v-ssha-obiasnili-uiazvimost-avianoscev-pered-rossijskim-oruzhiem.html

          PS Americans approach the topic more sensibly than our home-grown "experts".
  4. Vladest Offline Vladest
    Vladest (Vladimir) 15 March 2021 01: 58
    -2
    The Turks want their own aircraft carrier. RF too ...
    1. Andrey V. Offline Andrey V.
      Andrey V. (Andrei) 15 March 2021 21: 46
      0
      Russia has an aircraft carrier - long-suffering, muzzled, but still there!

      The only pity is that for the entire time of its operation, we did not manage to turn it into a real combat unit ...
      1. Vladest Offline Vladest
        Vladest (Vladimir) 16 March 2021 19: 20
        -2
        Quote: Andrey V.
        Russia has an aircraft carrier

        The aircraft-carrying cruiser.
  5. Marzhecki Offline Marzhecki
    Marzhecki (Sergei) 15 March 2021 07: 08
    0
    Quote: Andrey V.
    Ulysses, please explain why you and many others interpret this mediocre American political gesture as a reflection of the real combat power of the AUG?)

    They are so calmer and sleep better ...
    And so, I completely agree with your second article.
    1. Andrey V. Offline Andrey V.
      Andrey V. (Andrei) 15 March 2021 18: 37
      0
      Thank you Sergey!
      1. Marzhecki Offline Marzhecki
        Marzhecki (Sergei) 16 March 2021 08: 05
        0
        I am not a military expert, but I touched upon the topic of aircraft carriers for Russia. From what I studied, I concluded: we need aircraft carriers, but heavy ones, like the "Storm", we simply cannot master, therefore the option with light aircraft carriers is a compromise. Variations on the theme of UDC, maybe something like the Japanese "Izumo".
        1. Andrey V. Offline Andrey V.
          Andrey V. (Andrei) 16 March 2021 11: 35
          +2
          I fully agree with you regarding the need for helicopter carriers.

          Moreover, we first of all need them as a means of supporting PLO, AWACS and issuing control points - especially since the necessary equipment is in the country, it only needs to be competently "assembled" on the carrier ship.

          With aircraft carriers ... it's a tricky question. Here, first of all, it is necessary to start "work on mistakes" taking into account the Soviet experience and, first of all, to create an adequate naval infrastructure - without appropriate logistics, even the most powerful fleet will face the fate of Lazarev and Kuznetsov.

          Do we need them right now? Not. We have lost and do not even understand the Soviet experience of using carrier-based aircraft, and our once quite good aircraft carrier, which is Kuznetsov, has not reached at least some combat readiness for several decades and has not been "overgrown" with an escort corresponding to its class.

          But we need naval aviation. Extremely needed.

          If the country receives it, then, I think, after a couple of decades we will be able to form a conceptual understanding of the need for carrier-based aircraft for us - or its absence.

          In general, I prepared material on this topic for the "Military Review" - it is now under moderation, but soon you will be able to see my reasoning about the fleet's need for full-fledged naval aviation in a more detailed version.
          1. Marzhecki Offline Marzhecki
            Marzhecki (Sergei) 16 March 2021 15: 36
            -1
            Quote: Andrey V.
            In general, I prepared material on this topic for the "Military Review" - it is now under moderation, but soon you will be able to see my reasoning about the fleet's need for full-fledged naval aviation in a more detailed version.

            Share the link as it comes out.
            1. Andrey V. Offline Andrey V.
              Andrey V. (Andrei) 17 March 2021 12: 44
              0
              https://topwar.ru/180891-rossijskij-flot-kaznit-nelzja-pomilovat.html

              Please)
    2. The comment was deleted.
    3. Ulysses Offline Ulysses
      Ulysses (Alexey) 15 March 2021 21: 08
      +1
      Who sleeps today ?? repeat

      The author mumbled and ran off somewhere.
      Doesn't want to continue the conversation.
      Apparently it is necessary to spill more forums. laughing
    4. Ulysses Offline Ulysses
      Ulysses (Alexey) 15 March 2021 21: 09
      0
      They are so calmer and sleep better ...

      Time 20-00 in my Kaliningrad.
      Something the author of the article is in no hurry to discuss.

      Apparently he distributes his "articles" to other forums. laughing
      1. Andrey V. Offline Andrey V.
        Andrey V. (Andrei) 15 March 2021 21: 31
        +2
        It seems that we, with you, did not have a discussion - I just asked why you put an "equal" sign between stupid policy and real combat capabilities)

        By the way, the quote you quoted from NI is a great example of the discussions I mentioned in the article.

        For more than half a century, the Americans have been threatening to get rid of aircraft carriers or reduce them, and as a result, they are only building new ones)
  6. greenchelman Offline greenchelman
    greenchelman (Grigory Tarasenko) 15 March 2021 09: 03
    0
    TCG Anadolu and its sister ship TCG Trakya may become the world's first UAV carriers. Photo: Turkish Ministry of National Defense

    - Brazilian PHM A2020 Atlantico became the first in the world in November 140
    1. Andrey V. Offline Andrey V.
      Andrey V. (Andrei) 15 March 2021 18: 28
      -1
      I beg your pardon, could you elaborate on this in more detail?

      Unfortunately, I have not heard anything about this, and I would be glad if you would enlighten.
      1. greenchelman Offline greenchelman
        greenchelman (Grigory Tarasenko) 15 March 2021 18: 33
        0
        Not a question https://greenchelman-3.livejournal.com/4808333.html
        1. Andrey V. Offline Andrey V.
          Andrey V. (Andrei) 15 March 2021 18: 35
          0
          Really!

          True, it is not clear whether they have already managed to equip it with a UAV, what is the list of the air group and according to what concept they will use this ship.
          1. greenchelman Offline greenchelman
            greenchelman (Grigory Tarasenko) 15 March 2021 19: 24
            0
            Well, there you can dig through the original source. But in a country where there are many wild monkeys, there are also UAVs.
  7. Ulysses Offline Ulysses
    Ulysses (Alexey) 15 March 2021 19: 52
    +1
    The evolution of naval and land missile weapons by no means removes naval aircraft platforms from the scene - on the contrary, it makes them even more relevant as a universal means of both defense and attack.

    Designed by by the internal office of the US Secretary of Defense, the plan for the optimization of the American fleet involves the use of 9 aircraft carriers instead of 11 available, limiting the number of cruisers and destroyers to the current values ​​(80 units) and commissioning of 55-70 small unmanned or low-crew ships into the Navy.
    These plans echo the recent statements of the head of the Pentagon Mark Esper, writes Defense News. The military department, said the minister, intends to shift the focus away from aircraft carriers as the centerpiece of the projection of United States power and place more emphasis on unmanned technology that can be used to accomplish missions at lower cost.

    https://rg.ru/2020/04/22/pentagon-predlozhil-spisat-avianoscy.html
    1. Andrey V. Offline Andrey V.
      Andrey V. (Andrei) 15 March 2021 21: 53
      +1
      After the death of Sheffield during the Falklands War, the American Senate threw a real hysterics - they were so mesmerized by the use of Argentine Exocets that they foolishly began to call for getting rid of all aircraft carriers in the Navy altogether. And this, for a minute, is the beginning of the 80s, when the Cold War did not even think about ending!

      So we should follow global trends more, and less - for the cries of politicians)