CVE for 2020

In my opinion The US Navy has far too much of its capital and assets wrapped up in the Supercarrier model.  The latest iteration, the Ford Class, costs roughly $14B each.  This is approximately 40% more than the Nimitz class and likely will grow over the course of the procurement process, almost completely assuring less than the projected 10 carriers will be built.

I posit the US Navy should reduce the 10 ship Ford Class to a 7 ship production run and free up $30-42B to be switched over to production of 6 smaller carriers of a new class.  I christen this class CVO  (CV other than Supercarrier).

From open source data, current production cost of an Essex Class carrier would run just over $1B.  To this we need to add the new radars, avionics, steel under Kevlar decks, steam catapults etc.  For this we will add on another $1B.  Then I would like the advantages of nuclear propulsion.  We can add another $1B (although I think that is way too much).  At $3B each, the cost of 6 would be close to half the money saved by dropping 3 from the Ford Class.

 So for a rough cost of $3B we would get this.

 Essex Class carrier size with a 9 degree angled deck layout.

Length – 850-880 foot
beam – 90 to 125 at maximal width of deck
Draft – 25 ft empty 29 ft loaded
Displacement – 35,000 tons empty 39,000 tons full

triple S8G nuclear reactors
60,000 shp each for a
total of 180,000 shp available able to cross connect steam with twin to quad shafts
Single A1B nuclear reactor 140,000shp

max speed 36
knots running at 85% on all 3 reactors
single S8G reactor max speed 15 knots
Max speed 33 knots A1B reactor

3 launch steam catapults and 3 arrestor wire sets


point defense
12 Rim-7 Sea Sparrow
2 Phalanx CIWS

Air Squadrons

Navy role

22 Attack  – 3 electronic suppression – 4 early warning radar – 2 logistics – 6 ASW fixed wing – 6 large drones

2 x 7 F/A-18C Navy pilots – CAP / Attack
1 x 8 F/A-18C Marine pilots – Attack
3 EA18G Growlers – electronic suppression
4 E-2C Hawkeyes – radar extenders
2 C-2 Greyhounds – logistics
6 HH-60H Seahawks – ASW
6 large drones TBD in type and multiple small drones

Marine support role

12 Attack  – 3 electronic suppression – 3 early warning radar – 4 logistics – 12 fixed wing Attack -6 ASW fixed wing – 6 large drones

1 x 6 F/A-18C Navy pilots –  CAP / Attack
1 x 6 F/A-18C Marine pilots – Attack
3 EA18G Growlers – electronic suppression
4 E-2C Hawkeyes – radar extenders
4 C-2 Greyhounds – logistics
6 HH-60H Seahawks – ASW
12 AH-1Z Cobra – Fixed wing Attack
6 large drones TBD in type  and multiple small drones

For me the bottom line is:

13 air power projection points is way better than 10

Smaller carriers are less expensive and the loss of one is less crippling while creating more varied mission options.

When serious power projection is needed a CVO task force of 2 or 3 CVO’s would have very similar power to a CVN but have the advantage of having multiple launch and recovery platforms.  Not to mention no more than 5 countries could / would seriously attempt to battle with a single CVO much less the way they should normally (2-3) be tasked against any serious opponent.


Filed under Military, Uncategorized

2 responses to “CVE for 2020

  1. Jimmy Carter had that idea back in the 70s. Turns out a small carrier is more expensive than a large one.

    • I think if you do the research, that wasn’t really true then and it definitely isn’t now. The issue is in trying to make the small carriers act like the big ones. I am not suggesting this as a replacement, rather as a supplement. The MIC does not like the idea of smaller carriers and neither do the cronies in the Pentagon, for that matter the cronies in Congress…

      The small ship costing more meme definitely falls flat when it becomes a class of vehicles with a production run not just as a one off.

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