The U.S. Navy’s twelve nuclear-powered aircraft carriers are among the most potent expressions of American military power. These large-deck aircraft carriers are the centerpiece of America’s maritime force structure and warfighting strategy and constitute the most visible expression of America’s will to shape global politics and discourage aggression. However, because of changing mission requirements and enemy capabilities, there has been a concern that U.S. Navy aircraft carriers could be more vulnerable to attack.
Developments like China’s DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) has generated a tremendous amount of interest over the past five years, explaining China’s defiance posturing against clearly superior U.S. Navy capabilities. Launched from a mobile truck-mounted launcher into the atmosphere, with most likely over-the-horizon radar, satellite tracking and possibly unmanned aerial vehicles providing guidance to a target in the open oceans, China’s ASBM also incorporates a maneuverable warhead, or MaRV, to help find its target. The problem for China is that each U.S. Navy carrier hosts a wing of 70 aircraft which if necessary can be launched at the rate of one every 30 seconds, with a typical carrier air wing capable to precisely target over a thousand separate aimpoints many hundreds of miles from the carrier in a single day. It’s importantly to additionally remember that U.S. countermeasures are already formidable. In short, nobody is losing sleep over this “anti-ship ballistic missile threat” since nobody believes it could be capable of defeating a single U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.
How worried do you think the U.S. Navy should be when it comes to the much-discussed China’s ASBM? Sound off and share your opinions and comments in the section below.