AbstractAn aircraft carrier refers to a warship, planned in such a way that it can deploy and recover aircraft. All over the world, the navy normally uses Aircraft carriers in the sea to protect airpower, without any reliance on the local airbases to stage operations of the aircrafts.
This essay will give a description of why aircraft carriers will become outdated, due to vast technological advancements in the aircraft industry. The essay will also explain why aircraft carriers have been useful, by indicating why they may not become obsolete. In addition, the essay gives a description of modern technologies likely to replace aircraft warship, and discuss difficulties experienced while using the warship as compared to other forms of weapons during the war.
According to Ireland (2008), the aircraft carriers were invented in1910 by Eugene Ely, a civilian pilot, when he built a wooden platform over a bow. They evolved from the vessels that carried balloons, when the British royal navy launched kites. They were used to drop leaflets of propaganda and proclamations against the empire of Napoleon. During the First World War, navies of Britain, Italy, Germany, and Russia launched hot air balloons to be used for observation (Beyer et al, 2007). The carriers have been used to carry a large number of jets and fighter planes, especially along the coastline. They have been particularly useful during wars, as the navy uses them to supply weapons, and artillery needed by soldiers.
The navy uses the aircraft carriers in the sea, and this allows military aircrafts to land and take off on the flat decks of the warships. The decks store aircrafts, which are brought up using elevators. Aircrafts land safely, with the use of arresting cables, which have a hook attached on the aircraft. Aircraft carriers are accompanied by vessels such as destroyers, and they carry weapons of war such as missiles. They provide cover to other warships and can perform operations in waters outside the borders of a country freely (Beyer et al, 2007).
Reasons why the Aircraft carrier may not become obsolete
Despite the numerous technological advancements in new weapons and artillery of war, the aircraft carrier may not become obsolete. Several reasons explain why the carrier may not be obsolete.
They have advanced Self-close defense system
Aircraft carriers have advanced self-close defense system, designed to detect any possible external threats and attacks on the ship. The carriers have automated sensors and weapons that can be used fro combat during an attack from enemies. The self-close defenses system coordinates and identifies potential threat and executes necessary procedures during times of attack. Thus, the aircraft may not become obsolete owing to the defense system that allows for the detection and prevention of threat (Ireland, 2008).
They are still a major investment for many countries
According to Fontenoy (2006), many countries still carry out investments in the aircraft carriers, with budgetary allocations including in them a component of the warship. Since the carriers have been used for many years, most nations all over the world have come to trust the carriers. Therefore, many countries still invest in them, because they have proven useful during war. The investment in these warships serves as an indication that they may not necessarily become obsolete. Investments in the warship may take place for including the future.
The strategic significance is obvious and irreplaceable
The strategic significance of aircraft carriers may make them not to become obsolete in times of war. Advancements in the warships have made it strategic during times of war, as modern navies use it to project their powers (Fontenoy, 2006). Flights have become a vital asset and machine during the war. Based on this, ships powered by nuclear powers that carry fighter jets and planes have been widely used during times of war. The carriers have the capability to carry many aircrafts; therefore, they have been significant in wars. Navies use them to protect the boundaries of the country, by releasing fighter planes from the sea and water bodies (Polmar, & Genda, 2006).
Why the aircraft carrier will soon become obsolete
In the recent years, the use of aircrafts carriers has declined, with proponents of new forms of technology to replace the warship arguing that it is obsolete. Attempts to replace the aircraft carrier have been done, owing to shortcomings of using the aircraft carriers.
Highly advanced ASM has appeared
In the modern world, there have been highly advanced nuclear weapons for use during the war; this technology is highly advanced and likely to replace the use of aircraft carriers. Countries prefer to use modern technology and weapons during wars as compared to using the outdated aircraft carriers. Preference has shifted to modern forms of machinery and artillery during wars. Since most nations do not want to lag behind technologically, they prefer to reduce investments in aircraft carriers. More efficient and manageable weapons are being used by navies during the war, with aircraft carriers being used only when it is impossible to use other machineries (McBride, 2000).
Chant & Bishop (2004) asserts that the technology of aircraft carriers has been in existence for many years. As such, the carriers can be regarded as a mature technology. This technology will be replaced by newer technologies, which will not include aircraft carriers. New weapons such as missiles and supersonic aircrafts from airbases will replace use of aircraft carriers. Hypersonic jet technologies will make it easier and possible for jets to be launched from airbases than from warships. These jets enhance efficiency, as they are quick and save on cost of fuel and investment needed to construct aircraft carriers.
Huge cost and maintenance burden
Countries have reduced their involvement on the construction of aircraft carriers as battleships for use in wars. The carriers cost countries enormous finances, with their large size and complexity. Countries have diverted the finances they used for aircraft carriers to more useful weapons and vessels of war that can be used in future conflicts. These Battleships hinder the manufacture of crucial and more recent weapons. The carriers will become obsolete, as countries invest in new and modern weapons. Many nations have realized the need to cut expenditure on obsolete vessels and weapons of war such as aircraft carriers. Great emphasis is placed on newer and modern weapons, and vessels than outdated warships. Consequently, with less expenditure, and investment on aircraft carriers, they will become outdated (Polmar, & Genda, 2006).
Capabilities may have limits
The carriers will become outdated because it does not take longer for enemies to destroy them. During wars, it has become easier for opponents to sink the carriers, even without having to cause a lot of damage to them. They normally float, and as such, enemies can have a clear view of the warships from a distance. Thus, it is easier to spot the location of the carriers and target them; their large size also makes it more visible and easy to attack. Therefore, enemies do not have to be close to sink the carrier; in the modern times, countries have missiles that can be used from the land. These missiles can be fired from hundreds of miles away, without any need for sophisticated launchers. Weapons designed to counter warships become sophisticated in the modern world. Thus, the carriers are slowly becoming outdated, because they can be destroyed by ordinary means when the enemy is in the sea or on land (McBride, 2000).
The use of aircraft carriers in wars will diminish in the modern world, since the carriers carry a large number of guns, similar to those mounted by battle ships during the end of nineteenth and early years of the twentieth century. It does not carry large guns, but only small ones, thus its use will slowly diminish. In the modern world, commanding the air has become vital when it comes to military operations. Therefore, modern weapons to be used during the war should be designed in such a way that they enhance military operations in the air. As a result, aircraft carriers will become outdated as nations work towards the manufacture of vessels that make air force operations more effective (Chant & Bishop, 2004).
In the future, there is the likelihood that aircraft carriers will no longer be used during wars by most of the countries. The ships have greater disadvantages as compared to the advantages obtained from them. In addition, the invention of modern forms of technology for use during wars will make the aircraft carriers become obsolete. Numerous technological advancements in war will replace nuclear warships, as countries shift their interest in more modern forms of war machinery. However, some navies have advanced their aircraft, with most of them using nuclear weapons in aircraft carriers.
In conclusion, the essay discusses whether aircraft carriers will become outdated. Despite the numerous and significant uses of the carriers, most navies adopt more efficient and modern forms of technology for use in times of war. If the investment in other forms weapons continues, the aircraft carriers will become obsolete, and their use will diminish. The huge costs of maintenance and initial construction will make the carriers a rare investment for most nations.
Beyer, Calvetti, L. & Cechi. L. (2007).Aircraft Carriers: Inside and Out. The Rosen Publishing Group.
Chant, C & Bishop, C. (2004). Aircraft carriers. Summertime publishing Ltd.
Fontenoy, P. E (2006). Aircraft carriers: An illustrated history of their impact. Library of Congress.
Ireland, B. (2008). The History of Aircraft Carriers. Southwater Publishers.
McBride M.W (2000). Technological change and the United States Navy. JHU Press
Polmar, N. & Genda, M. (2006). Aircraft Carriers: A History of Carrier Aviation and Its Influence on World Events, Volume 1. Potomac books, Inc.