Thursday, 3 December 2009

Light Carrier caught between two stools

The Invincible carriers where design for submarine warfare in the North Atlantic against the USSR. They where hardly capable of  defending themselves against a large air wing or force, which limited how close they could be brought to land against a country with a developed air force but the USA has never brought their big carriers into that level of danger, at least with the Invincible class you risk loosing less if one is destroyed but with only 3 carriers you can only be in three places at once and only then on the rare occasions that one of the carriers is not in refit.
During WWII, when modern carrier warfare first developed and the only time it has actually been used. Carriers of this size only ever acted in concert with larger carriers providing air cover and often with smaller carriers even more in harms way.
The Invincible calls was similarly designed to operate under the protection of the American super carriers or land based aircraft. independent use of the carriers, or through deck cruisers to given them their full title, was not envisaged by planners as they lack of AEW aircraft shows. The AEW weakness has been patched up but not totally solved, the use of V22 Osprey aircraft with not only Radar but also some command and control and some Electronic Warfare capability to protect the carrier would allow ships of the size of the Invincible class to operate independently.
Fundamentally it is the composition of the air wing that makes a carrier capable of independent operation, size is not important.

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