The Ford Class aircraft carrier is the successor to the Nimitz that served since 1975 and throughout the Cold War. But times have changed, and carriers don't enjoy the domination they had, and whether it can weather a difficult time for such powerful ships.
A single carrier is worth billions. The CVN-78 Ford is equipped with tech and weaponry like the Nimitz. It is made to see service till the next century. Hopefully, like its forebear, it will spawn just as many.
Now, many experts think there are too many ways they can deny it. A carrier's success depends on getting its airwing to deal damage, but adversaries have become creative.
Smaller Ones to Replace Obsolete Supercarriers
The use of lethal anti-access/area-denial systems or A2/AD-like China's is daunting, but other adversaries are just as problematic. The rise of A2/AD has affected this weapon system's cost-effectiveness. The 90 years of sailing threatened left and right is not worth the cost.
It cannot be denied the Ford-class is still an effective system once the threat of missiles is gone!
Many say that they are obsolete, but there is more to it. It means that the Ford is already useless even before entering service ironically, the most advanced ship built by any nation, reported the National Interest.
Although some have been deemed obsolete, the USS New Jersey, A-10 warthog, has soldiered on despite being old. They fought against modern weapons and survived. These proved effective in a new theatre of combat. Similarly, the Ford Class aircraft carrier has a lot to offer and is less likely to be useless as a battlewagon.
In addition to Full Ship Shock Trials, Sailors of #Warship78 "make noise" in several other ways. Check out this video to see some of the things we #Wolverines were up to during our last underway!#NavyReadiness @COMNAVAIRLANT11 pic.twitter.com/B4idNmLXwt— USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) (@Warship_78) July 26, 2021
Getting close enough for a knockout punch for CVN-78 to enter the A2/AD system is unnecessary, according to War on the Rocks, it can be used differently. US carriers have been used in many missions. And just because they cannot do one kind of mission, that is not the end because they are versatile.
Since the days of the Cold War, Russia has designed ways to combat a carrier airwing, using submarines, sensors, and planes to attack a Nimitz directly. But, the F-14 Tomcat was made for that. Each new weapon system had a counter, but we never had a chance for an exact demo.
The next-generation A2/AD is very fluid. Like Chinese hypersonic missiles are a danger to the CVN-78, using pinpoint defenses, electronic spoofing, or misleading sensors can, in theory, stop an attack. It has some tricks to use for underwater threats as well, and the US Navy is prepared.
Carrier Equipped with Versatile Weapon System
Even older carriers are obsolete, and there is an upgrade to resolve it and keep them helpful even not in fighting.
The problem is not the carrier and its tech. It has the capacity of over 50-planes on the flight deck, which can be modified for whatever missions. So, they cannot deal with A2/AD very well, but there are other tools for the job.
Military planners know what an airwing can do, even far away from the enemy. Undermining the value of what planes or even missiles might be launched is a mistake; they are still lethal.
For now, the Ford-class aircraft carrier can't strike close to the heart of the enemy, but the development of standoff weapons for carriers might fix that.
Even if anti-access weaponry will keep a deadly carrier away, sending missiles from a long distance is from a carrier is not so farfetched.