Are Aircraft carriers really that dangerous today? Can’t they just be destroyed easily by long range missiles?


Every video I watch on the US Military seems to indicate aircraft carriers are a huge advantage. But why can’t they just easily be destroyed by long range missles or even missles from planes, they seem pretty easy targets.

In: 1197

That’s why they are always escorted by ships that are designed to shoot down missiles and enemy aircraft. And yes, it is a huge advantage being able to send a ship that has more aircraft than many countries’ air forces to operate almost anywhere in the world. Eliminates a lot of logistical challenges and lets you run more missions more frequently closer to the enemy with more air power.

Carriers never operate alone. They are at core of carrier-group. This consists of various anti missile, anti plane and anti submarine ships. Idea is that nothing gets through to carrier.

Aircraft carriers are the US Navy Ult unit if this was a video game. Or close at least. It’s a floating island, with enough mobile firepower to launch an invasion and level the battlefield, escorted by a fleet of specialized protector ships. It’s on my bucket list to be on the deck of one of those things as a jet takes off. Must be the coolest feeling to be that close to so much power.

First, attacking an aircraft carrier is a MASSIVE escalation in any sort of international conflict. So people don’t do it because that thing projects overwhelming regional force and can cruise-missile the living shit out of your cities unless you take it out. So that’s a huge deterrent. Most countries don’t want to effectively declare war on a country that has enough resources to float an aircraft carrier.

But even so, what’s preventing you from just flying a dozen planes loaded with missiles at it?

Well, first, there’s military intelligence. That aircraft carrier is backed up by a bunch of other ships, each with its own information and defense systems, as well as satellite systems that are constantly scouring the area. So they’re going to have plenty of warning that you’re coming after it. Plenty of time for it to launch fighters and come shoot you down.

Then there are anti-missile weapons onboard the carrier and its companion vessels that are specifically engineered to zero in on and shoot down inbound planes and the rockets or torpedoes that they might fire. This isn’t World War II where you pumped flak airbursts out and hoped for the best. Aircraft carriers have laser-aimed autotargeting guns and stuff now.

So you get detected way out, and you AND your missiles and torpedoes get shot down as you approach.

That’s apparently a central pillar of China’s strategy to be a “regional superpower,” where their missiles can keep US aircraft carriers far away from say Taiwan in a conflict.