Report: US Navy aircraft carriers face ever-greater threats

Aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in the Arabian Gulf. Image: US Navy

New technology developed predominantly by Russia and China might reduce the U.S. Navy aircraft carriers’ influence as they will be facing a choice between operating further away from shores or assuming great risks, a report from the Center for New American Security said.

The report outlines advancing short- medium- and long-range threats the carriers face every time they are forward deployed.

China has developed surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), and tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) capable of reaching Taiwan. According to the report, the estimated range of these Chinese capabilities reaches as far as Turkey in the West and well beyond the coast of Japan in the East.

Anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities and the growing interest in their development comes at the time when the U.S. carriers’ capabilities to operate at distance are reduced, the report says.

The final proposal made in the report calls on the U.S. Navy to shift its focus from the carriers to other means of delivering forward presence with drones and submarines which would have an easier job of operating in the dense A2/AD environment.

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