Why Is America Reducing the Size of its Aircraft Carrier Force?

Discussion in 'Military' started by onedomino, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. onedomino
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    onedomino SCE to AUX

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    With all the demands on the US Navy it does not seem to make sense to reduce the size of the carrier force. Will this mean longer deployments for the remaining 11 carriers? I realize that the JFK is older and not nuke powered, but its aircraft were nevertheless a formidable force. The JFK reconditioning and repair cost of $335 million pales in comparison to the $4 billion dollar cost of a new nuke carrier. I hope these guys are not just seeking to save cash by mothballing the JFK.

     
  2. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I think NATOAIR addressed this on another thread.
     
  3. NATO AIR
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    NATO AIR Senior Member

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    The JFK is a piece of shit anyway :)
     
  4. onedomino
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    onedomino SCE to AUX

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    Did you cover this topic as thoughtfully in the thread to which Kathianne refers? I was questioning the the carrier force size reduction from 12 to 11. You may think the JFK is a pos, but $300 million was spent on repair and reconditioning in November 2003. Further, that pos recently came back from defending American while on station for many months in the Persian Gulf. Fairly potent pos, I'd say.
     
  5. NATO AIR
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    NATO AIR Senior Member

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    I'll fully explain now (you're making me talk about work!)

    Three years ago, the USS KITTY HAWK (CV-63) forward deployed in Yokosuka, Japan, was unable to complete a scheduled deployment to Guam (and on to Singapore from there). Basically, the material condition of the ship had deteroriated so badly it was a walking trash heap. The entire chain of command at the time was disposed of, new people were brought in, and the Navy spent hundreds of millions of dollars to reverse, recover and repair the ship from more than a decade of bad maintenence decisions, shoddy repair work, etc etc.
    What makes this so critical is that this is where the post 9/11 Navy Revolution began. Forward deployed, with all other carriers either in the midst of a deployment, a maintenence period or a transition period, the Navy could only find a short term replacement for the Kitty Hawk battle group (about two to three months) in the Pacific at the time. The repairs the Kitty Hawk required would take a stateside carrier a year and a few months to finish. The Kitty Hawk crew and the Japanese Ship's Repair Facility (SRF) workers worked around the clock, using innovative repair techniques, extremely long work shifts and a fair amount of radicial redesign of certain machinery spaces. They completed this massive repair bill in less than three months. The ship went back on another deployment, this time in preperation for the upcoming liberation of Iraq.

    The Navy comes to find out (after it spent nearly a billion upgrading the oldest ship (the Kitty Hawk, which was supposed to have been decommissioned in 1998) in the Navy, including a total flight deck redesign enabling it to carry the brand new Super Hornet jet) the rest of its non-nuclear carriers have the same problem. What did it do?

    The USS Constellation (CV-64), homeported in San Diego, was in as bad shape, but not nearly as bad as the Kitty Hawk. Months before Op Iraqi Freedom, the Navy took a long, hard look at the "Connie" and decided to put a massive band-aid on all of its problems and send it out for one last deployment (Iraqi Freedom). Why was the Constellation scrapped rather than the Kitty Hawk, despite the Kitty Hawk being in worse condition and being older?

    The answer concerns costs of swapping the crews out, the embarassment and admission of weakness to Chinese and North Korean observers of having to swap out an aircraft carrier that had just arrived in Japan.

    Now, the last non-nuclear carrier left in active service, the JFK (CV-67). This ship is in worse shape than the Kitty Hawk is now, though it is much younger and is not expected to be decommisioned until 2018 (remember now, the Kitty Hawk is supposed to have been decommed in 1998). What happened to the JFK and why?

    As the Navy figured out after the Kitty Hawk's Guam debacle, the other non-nuclear carriers had all endured shoddy maintenence, uneven and unfocused planning around that maintenence, terrible preventive maintenence and uneffective restoration and renovation techniques. Basically, all of them were in various stages of falling apart. The Navy decided to let the Constellation go, and now was left with the Kitty Hawk and the JFK. The Kitty Hawk is in its best shape yet, while the JFK is much worse for wear. In the past five years, JFK has endured several spectacular failures in the yards (this is where the carriers go for their repairs, maintenence and renovation), wasting more than a billion dollars (if not more) of the Navy's money. Only recently has the JFK been able to recover from these debacles and become ship-shape again, performing well in the Gulf last year.

    However, the Kitty Hawk is still in better condition than the JFK. Both cost the Navy an ungodly amount of money to operate because of fuel, unlike the nuclear carriers. The Navy is looking at the JFK and seeing the walking dead.

    The final reason, above all else (more than money, material condition, political situations in Japan, etc etc) is the post 9/11 Navy revolution. No longer do aircraft carriers operate by the 6/6/6 rotation (we in the forward deployed Navy overseas gave that up immediately after 9/11, after all, we were the special operations platform in Afghanistan and the most effective aircraft carrier in Iraqi Freedom). Stateside, carriers spent 6 months in workups, 6 months deployed (often for little to no real reason) and 6 months in maintenence. After 9/11, this situation was no longer in keeping with what America needed it from its Navy.

    The Navy developed the Fleet Response Plan in 2004, culminating in the extraordinary deployment of 7 aircraft carrier battle groups at the same time around the world during Summer Pulse 2004, a massive wargames/humanitarian exercise that revolved around hypothetical multiple emergencies, terrorist attacks and conflicts happening around the same time and how the Navy could respond in the post 9/11 world. The Fleet Response Plan is near-permenent, and represents the new Navy operating doctorine. All of the ships in the Navy now operate by it, which calls for ships to be ready for emergency deployment within 96 hours (the old days, it was a week to two weeks for stateside ships) and deploy for lengths from a few weeks to 9 months, no longer the old 6 month deployment length. The Navy's entire schedule has changed, no longer the old, rigid version but a new fluid and flexible regimen.

    For years, we in the FDNF have been doing more with much less. Now the rest of the Navy is required to operate like us... which means fewer ships, longer deployments, more work and more bang for the taxpayer's buck. That means the Navy doesn't require 13-17 aircraft carriers (as some people have stated), it only needs 11. The 11 (actually 12 with the JFK still in operation now) we have now do the work of nearly 20 aircraft carriers.
     
  6. 007
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    007 Charter Member Supporting Member

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    (NatoAir)... what he said. :read:
     

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