NATO navies proposal

Current state


Ship costs



Nimitz: 6,93 billion USD

Ford: 9 billion USD

Wasp: 750 million USD

Invincible: 832 million USD

Charles de Gaulle: 3,7 billion USD

Mistral: 530 million USD

Cavour: 2,06 billion USD

San Giorgio replacement: 481 million USD

Juan Carlos: 638 million USD

Galicia: 260 million USD



Ticonderoga: 1 billion USD

Arleigh Burke: 1,96 billion USD

Type 45: 952 million USD

Georges Leygues:

Iroquis: 744 million USD

Sachsen: 1,06 billion USD

Durand de la Penne: 563 million USD



Type 22: 450 million USD

Type 23: 350 million USD (?)

Horizon: 782 million USD (Orizzonte in Italy)

FREMM: 500 million USD (Aquitaine in France, Bergamini in Italy)

La Fayette: 526 million USD

Floreal: 165 million USD

Gowind: 300 million USD

Halifax: 585 million USD

Brandenburg: 363 million USD

Maestrale: 200 million USD

Lupo: 112 million USD

Alvaro de Bazan: 600 million USD

Santa Maria: 285 million USD

Gabya: 212 million USD

MEKO: 387 million USD (Barbaros, Yavuz in Turkey, Vasco da Gamma in Portugal, Hydra in Greece)

Fridtjof Nandsen: 722 million USD

Karel Doorman: 148 million USD

De Zeven Provincien: 532 million USD

Iver Huitfield: 332 million USD

Thetis: 80 million USD

Oliver Hazard Perry: 683 million USD (est. for 2014)



Braunschweig: 309 million USD

Minerva: 120 million USD

Ada: 188 million USD

Skjold: 133,5 million USD

Baptista de Andrade: 85 million USD

Tetal I: 108 million USD

Tetal II: 144 million USD



Gepard: 35 million USD

Osprey-55: 40 million USD

Kilic: 75 million USD

Kralj: 66 million USD

Helsinki: 50 million USD



Ohio: 3 billion USD

Virginia: 1,75 billion USD

Seawolf: 2,3 billion USD

Los Angeles: 1,1 billion USD

Scorpene: 500 million USD

Gotland: 400 million USD

Type 209: 293 million USD

Type 212A: 540 million USD

Type 214: 366 million USD (Tridente in Portugal)

Vanguard: 2,54 billion USD

Astute: 1,95 billion USD

Trafalgar: 728 million USD

Victoria: 400 million USD

Ula: 748 million USD

Walrus: 350 million USD

Kilo: 350 million USD


All costs are only construction costs. Patrol boats and similar ships primarly meant for peacetime duties will be ignored.


Ship numbers


US Navy: 189 ships, 334 billion USD

Nimitz class carrier: 10 (69,3 billion USD)

Tarawa class assault ship: 1

Wasp class assault ship: 8 (6 billion USD)

Ticonderoga class cruiser: 22 (22 billion USD)

Arleigh burke class destroyer: 62 (112 billion USD)

Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate: 11 (7,51 billion USD)

Ohio class submarine: 18 (54 billion USD)

Los Angeles class submarine: 40 (44 billion USD)

Seawolf class submarine: 3 (7 billion USD)

Virginia class submarine: 10 (18 billion USD)

LCS: 4 (1,76 billion USD)


UK Navy: 32 ships, 30,46 billion USD

Invincible class carrier: 1 (832 million USD)

Ocean class assault ship: 1

Daring class destroyer (Type 45): 6 (5,71 billion USD)

Duke class frigate (Type 23): 13 (4,55 billion USD)

Astute class submarine: 2 (3,9 billion USD)

Vanguard class submarine: 4 (10,16 billion USD)

Trafalgar class submarine: 5 (3,64 billion USD)


An additional 1,66 billion USD have been added to the above sum so as to represent two carriers already retired and about to be replaced with new carriers.


French Navy: 38 ships, 23,77 billion USD

Charles de Gaulle type carrier: 1 (3,7 billion USD)

Mistral class assault ship: 3 (1,59 billion USD)

Horizon class frigate: 2 (1,56 billion USD)

Aquitaine class frigate: 2 (1 billion USD)

Cassard class frigate: 2

Georges Leygues class frigate: 6

La Fayette class frigate: 5 (2,63 billion USD)

Floreal class frigate: 6 (990 million USD)

Gowind class frigate: 1 (300 million USD)

Triomphant class submarine: 4 (12 billion USD (?))

Rubis class submarine: 6


Canadian Navy: 19 ships, 10,85 billion USD

Halifax class frigate: 12 (7,02 billion USD)

Iroquis class destroyer: 3 (2,23 billion USD)

Victoria class submarine: 4 (1,6 billion USD)


German Navy: 28 ships

Sachsen class frigate: 3 (3,18 billion USD)

Brandenburg class frigate: 4 (1,45 billion USD)

Bremen class frigate: 4

Braunschweig class corvette: 5 (1,55 billion USD)

Gepard class fast attack craft: 8 (280 million USD)

Type 212 submarine: 4 (2,16 billion USD)


Italian Navy: 35 ships

Cavour class aircraft carrier: 1 (2,06 billion USD)

Giuseppe Garibaldi class aircraft carrier: 1

San Giorgio class amphibious warfare ship: 3

Orizzonte class destroyer: 2 (1,56 billion USD)

Durand de la Penne class destroyer: 2 (1,13 billion USD)

Bergamini class frigate: 3 (1,5 billion USD)

Maestrale class frigate: 8 (1,6 billion USD)

Lupo class frigate: 3 (336 million USD)

Minerva class corvette: 6 (720 million USD)

Type 212 submarine: 2 (1,08 billion USD)

Sauro class submarine: 4


Three new LPDs to replace San Giorgios should cost 481 million USD each.


Spanish Navy: 14 ships

Juan Carlos class amphibious warfare ship: 1 (638 million USD)

Galicia class amphibious transport dock: 2 (520 million USD)

Alvaro de Bazan class frigate: 5 (3 billion USD)

Santa Maria class frigate: 6 (1,71 billion USD)


Galerna class submarine: 3


Turkish Navy: 65 ships

Gabya class frigate: 8 (1,7 billion USD)

Barbaros class frigate: 4 (1,55 billion USD)

Yavuz class frigate: 4 (1,55 billion USD)

Ada class corvette: 2 (376 million USD)

Burak class corvette: 6

Type 209 submarine: 14 (4,1 billion USD)

Kilic class fast attack boat: 9 (675 million USD)

Yildiz class f.a.b.: 2

Ruzgar class f.a.b.: 4

Dogan class f.a.b.: 4

Kartal class f.a.b.: 8


Norwegian Navy: 17 ships

Fridtjof Nansen class frigate: 5 (3,61 billion USD)

Ula class submarine: 6 (4,49 billion USD)

Skjold class corvette: 6 (801 million USD)


Portugese Navy: 14 ships

Karel Doorman class frigate: 2 (296 million USD)

Vasco da Gamma class frigate: 3 (1,16 billion USD)

Tridente class submarine: 2 (732 million USD)

Baptista de Andrade class corvette: 3 (255 million USD)

Joao Coutinho class corvette: 4
Dutch Navy: 10 ships
De Zeven Provincien class frigate: 4 (2,13 billion USD)

Karel Doorman class frigate: 2 (296 million USD)

Walrus class submarine: 4 (1,4 billion USD)


Belgian Navy: 2 ships

Karel Doorman class frigate: 2 (296 million USD)
Greek Navy: 42 ships

Hydra class frigate: 4 (1,55 billion USD)

Elli class frigate: 10

Osprey-55 class gunboats: 8 (320 million USD)

Asheville class gunboats: 2

Roussen class missile boats: 7

La Combattante class missile boats: 11


Icelandic Navy



Danish Navy: 9 ships

Iver Huitfeld class frigate: 3 (996 million USD)

Absalon class command ship: 2

Thetis class frigate: 4 (320 million USD)


Polish Navy: 11 ships

Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate: 2 (1,37 billion USD)

Kaszub class corvette: 1

Orkan class fast attack craft: 3

Kilo class submarine: 1 (350 million USD)

Kobben class submarine: 4 (>2 billion USD)


Bulgarian Navy


Romanian Navy: 11 ships

Type 22 frigate: 2 (900 million USD)

Marasesti class frigate: 2

Tetal I class corvette: 2 (216 million USD)

Tetal II class corvette: 2 (288 million USD)

Zborul class corvette: 3


Croatian Navy: 5 ships

Končar class missile boat: 1

Kralj class missile boat: 2 (132 million USD)

Helsinki class missile boat: 2 (100 million USD)


Albanian Navy
Slovenian Navy


Lithuanian Navy


Latvian Navy


Estonian Navy


TOTAL: 541 ship

31 carrier / assault ship

137 submarines


Ships to be used


Even the most capable vessel cannot be in two places at once. Therefore, small escort and combat vessels must not be disregarded as they are in the current forces.



Submarines are the primary combatant (there are only two types of ships: submarines and targets), and AIP or diesel-electric submarines are a must. Swedish Gotland class submarine has performed quite well when on lease, sinking an aircraft carrier in the deep water despite heavy ASW defenses. Its Stirling AIP engine allows it two weeks without having to use the diesel engine. Collins class submarines have also performed well in these exercises, sinking a Virginia class submarine and several surface ships (including ASW vessels), even when odds were severely stacked against them. In exercises from 1966 to 2013, DE and AIP submarines have sunk a declassified number of 16 aircraft carriers, two battleships and 10 nuclear submarines – real number is certainly much higher. Nuclear submarines cannot operate in coastal waters, while DE/AIP submarines can, and are easy to track with aircraft or satellites via hot water exhaust.


Following submarines will be used:


Type 214 (AIP)

370 million USD

20 kt, 2.300 km @ 4 kt / 780 km @ 8 kt submerged

12 kt, 19.300 km surfaced

84 days endurance

~30 days without snorkeling

250 m depth (400 m theoretical)


Virginia class (nuclear)

1,7 billion USD

30-35 kts

90+ days endurance

240 m depth


Virginia class will carry torpedoes and anti-ship cruise missiles, turning it into a kind of underwater battleship.



Carriers used will be exclusively new proposed carrier designs. Each will cost 850 million USD. Their main role will be support of the ground troops and providing air cover to surface units.



850 million USD

32 kts

20.000 t standard, 31.000 t maximum

34 aircraft



Since carriers’ best defenses are their own aircraft, and submarines are the primary sea superiority device, frigates will primarly be used for peacetime missions. Specialized air defense frigates add little to carrier’s own defenses as SAMs never had a Pk of more than 2% – against modern aircraft, it was 0,2%. Anti-ship work is primarly a duty of submarines, and carrier is capable of defending itself and its own battlegroup from aircraft, ships and submarines. In wartime, frigates can be used to escort the carriers alongside submarines and help defend it if aircraft cannot be launched in time or are otherwise absent on other duties (that being said, FLXs and ALXs low fuel consuption and excellent endurance may enable carrier to keep CAP overhead, like carriers did during the World War II). But primary duty of frigates during wartime will be direct fire support to troops on shore.


FREMM class multipurpose frigate

825 million USD

6.000 t

142 m length, 5 m draught

27+ knots

11.000 km range

145 crew

1 x 76 mm, 16 Aster 15 SAMs, 8 Exocet AShM, 16 SCALP cruise missiles, MU90 torpedoes



Missile gunships will be used for patrol and combat in archipelagos.


Hamina class missile boat

101 million USD

250 t

51 m length, 1,7 m draught

30+ knots

930 km range

26 crew

1 x 57 mm, 2 x 12,7 mm, 8 Umkhonto IR SAMs, 4 RBS-15 AShM, 1 depth charge / mine rail


This loadout will allow Hamina to defend itself with SAMs far more lethal than radar-guided SAMs when away from carriers, attack ships and deploy mines, plus provide direct fire support to troops on shore. As a result, it is ideal for anti-pirate work, patrol duties and any special ops where carrier would draw too much attention.




Funding between surface and submarine fleet will be divided 40:60. Within submarine fleet, funding between nuclear and AIP submarines will be divided 25:75. Standard carrier group will have 2 carriers, 2 general purpose frigates, 2 anti-submarine frigates, 2 air defence frigates, 6 corvettes, 2 nuclear and 6 conventional submarines; independent groups will add 4 general purpose frigates, 4 corvettes, 4 nuclear submarines and 12 conventional submarines.

Each procurement batch will thus be 2 carriers, 6 general purpose frigates, 2 anti-submarine frigates, 2 air defence frigates, 10 corvettes, 6 nuclear submarines and 18 conventional submarines, for a total of 27,82 billion USD.




US Navy: 552 ships

24 carriers

72 general purpose frigates

24 anti-submarine frigates

24 air defence frigates

120 corvettes

72 nuclear submarines

216 conventional submarines


UK Navy: 52 ships

4 carriers

6 general purpose frigates

2 anti-submarine frigates

2 air defence frigates

12 corvettes

6 nuclear submarines

20 conventional submarines


French Navy: 42 ships

4 carriers

4 general purpose frigates

2 anti-submarine frigates

2 air defence frigates

10 corvettes

4 nuclear submarines

16 conventional submarines


Canadian Navy: 25 ships

1 carrier

2 general purpose frigates

2 anti-submarine frigates

2 air defence frigates

6 corvettes

12 conventional submarines


German Navy: 20 ships

2 carriers

4 general purpose frigates

6 corvettes

8 conventional submarines


Italian Navy: 32 ships

2 carriers

4 general purpose frigates

12 corvettes

14 conventional submarines


Spanish Navy: 15 ships

1 carrier

2 general purpose frigates

4 corvettes

8 conventional submarines


Turkish Navy: 23 ships

2 carriers

4 general purpose frigates

8 corvettes

9 conventional submarines


Norwegian Navy: 26 ships

4 general purpose frigates

10 corvettes

12 conventional submarines


Portugese Navy: 12 ships

8 corvettes

4 conventional submarines


Dutch Navy: 12 ships

2 general purpose frigates

6 corvettes

4 conventional submarines


Belgian Navy: 3 ships

3 corvettes


Greek Navy: 8 ships

4 corvettes

4 conventional submarines


Dannish Navy: 6 ships

4 corvettes

2 conventional submarines


Polish Navy: 10 ships

2 frigates

4 corvettes

4 conventional submarines


Romanian Navy: 8 ships

6 corvettes

2 conventional submarines


Croatian Navy: 2 ships

2 corvettes


TOTAL: 848 ships

40 carriers

417 submarines



Some navies may have carriers despite not having naval versions of aircraft to fly from same carriers; in that case, carriers will be used exclusively as transport ships or helicopter carriers.

US Navy gets as large number of nuclear submarines as it has right now but with far larger number of conventional submarines than it currently has.

Auxilliary and support ships are not included in this outline.



Far larger number of ships included in this proposal will allow better coverage of the sea. Tripling of a number of submarines will allow far better sea denial capability, while larger number of corvettes will also allow better ability to perform peacetime duties. Large number of carriers with aircraft that are far superior in air superiority and close air support compared to aircraft currently carried on Western carriers means that NATO navies will have far better air superiority capability, but also that their carriers will be (for the first time in decades) useful for things other than establishing air superiority.

24 thoughts on “NATO navies proposal

  1. Defense against air threats in depth requires escorts around the carrier and the amphibs or power projection ships like the Mistrals and the Juan Carlos.

    The best estimate for the cost of those escort ships is the Alvaro Bazan.

    Assuming Nuclear attack subs are still going after the ballistic submarines the conventional submarines would not be able to self deploy across the ocean with out friendly bases, etc. all vulnerable to air raids, etc. Conventional subs away from your shores require substantial defensive arrangements plus they are vulnerable when cruising on the surface. Underwater it has already been noted their slow cruise speed and poor endurance at higher so their utility is very conditioned to circumstances.


    1. “Defense against air threats in depth requires escorts around the carrier and the amphibs or power projection ships like the Mistrals and the Juan Carlos.”

      Best defense against aircraft are fighter aircraft, SAMs and AAA are only a backup and not a very effective one either. In the case you missed, both FREMM frigate and corvette are able to use SAMs.

      “The best estimate for the cost of those escort ships is the Alvaro Bazan.”

      I used actual costs of ships…

      “Assuming Nuclear attack subs are still going after the ballistic submarines the conventional submarines would not be able to self deploy across the ocean with out friendly bases, etc. all vulnerable to air raids, etc. Conventional subs away from your shores require substantial defensive arrangements plus they are vulnerable when cruising on the surface. Underwater it has already been noted their slow cruise speed and poor endurance at higher so their utility is very conditioned to circumstances.”

      Nothing prevents usage of snorkels and similar stuff, plus conventional submarines are typically used in shore waters with bases near areas of operation.


    1. It costs 30 million USD more while having no anti-submarine capability. That being said, its air cushion approach may be better for stability and maneuverability.


      1. Hamina doesn’t have anti-submarine capability either. The Wikipedia page, stats that it has a rail for deploying depth charges, of mines used mostly for mines. Any way trying to hunt modern submarines with depth charges is idiotic even in coastal waters, it barely worked in WWII, and it’s sure as hell not gonna work now. What is needed for Anti-submarine work are systems know as Anti-Submarine mortars, modern versions of the WWII Hedgehog, such as the Russian RBU-6000 (, and UDAV-1 ( or the Swedish SAAB Dynamics ASW 601 ( which as you can see from the video is small enough to be mounted on a fast-attack-craft.
        The SAAB Dynamics ASW 601 could be easily retrofitted to the Skoljd or Hamina along with a small towed array sonar. But I think that thanks to it’s greater speed and air-cushion the Skoljd would make better use of it. It could cruise at low speed and thus be very hard to detect for a submarine. And once it positively identifies the submarine it could sprint at maximum speed on the air-cushion to the perfect firing position. The sub would have very small time to react and wouldn’t have much opportunity to counter-attack because the Skoljd being on the air-cushion would be almost immune to torpedoes. The Hamina in the same scenario would need twice the time to get in firing position and would be vulnerable to attack because it remains submerged.


      2. Andrei, just like ship-borne torpedoes these grenades are “last-ditch” defenses. if you have to use them it is probably too late. Just look at the range.

        With out knowing anything else about the ships’ operational concept my “guess” is that the Hamina’s role is to tow a sonar (it has one) and coordinate shore aviation resources to hunt for the submarine. If it had more endurance and if it had a lily-pad for the helicopter as well as the means to re-fuel and rearm the helicopter it would perform the anti-sub role better.

        Like I said earlier it does have a decent anti-surface as well as anti-air defense and a gun to assist with small vessels and maybe have a secondary role in anti-air. There is a ramp at the back which I assume is the same one that doubles for deploying depth charges or mines. It has a draught of 5’7″ and water jets so it is a very complete little ship.

        Skjold is more of an “old-fashioned” single mission boat. They are so small that most of the time they are armed to do just one thing in this instance surface warfare… it carries 8 missiles and that is a decent load. Three feet draught means it can lay in ambush and come out quickly, fire and then flee. Deck gun is slightly larger too which means it will fire further presumably at slightly larger targets.

        What I like about the Skjold is that with a 3′ draught it will operate in waters where there will be no torpedoes… not deep enough. Or submarines either… too shallow. Its speed is so high that torpedoes will not catch it in open waters and it will presumably operate under the air umbrella of shore aviation and aviation is the only thing it really has to fear. It is quiet a “GUN BOAT” type of ship.


      3. HGR
        What I suggested for the Skoljd is in light of Picards role for the Corvette and I quote: ” Missile gunships will be used for patrol and combat in archipelagos. “. Now in very shallow water like the Swedish archipelago, helicopters are useless for killing subs, because they can only attack submarines reliably with torpedoes, which when dropped from submarines still need something like 50 meters of water depth to not hit the bottom. Also in an archipelago there will not be much room to maneuver there will be a lot of obstructions a lot of places to hide for the submarine and there will be a big chance for the submarine to be identified and targeted at very low ranges, under an kilometer. That’s why the swedes developed that mortar. It’s designed to be used mainly from the CombatBoat 90, which operates only in the Swedish archipelago.
        What you are suggesting for the Hamina is a blue water scenario, for the Hamina to go hunt subs in deep water, but that is not the role Picard envisioned for them.
        From your posts I understand that just like the US Navy your are fixated just on blue water scenarios hence the desire for bigger range and helicopters and the classifying of the mortars as “last ditch” defenses. However this fixation is very dangerous for the US Navy as it has let them without reliable weapons to be used in close quarters scenarios such as coastal and archipelago environments, or against smaller targets such as divers, midget subs or even torpedoes, all their ASW weapons are long ranged to stand-off range.

        Skjold’s draught is 3′ only when at rest, at maximum speed when the air cushion is inflated it’s only about an inch or two.


      4. Andrei, very interesting read. What you mentioned about the USA Navy needs to have the caveat that their ships are designed to self deploy and fight on someone else’s littoral waters and archipelagoes, etc. While many of these Nordic ships are designed to fight on their own back yard and can afford to be a lot smaller. But your comment about fighting submarines in really shallow waters is very-very interesting and I will take up researching that.

        Going back to the original theme both ships are interesting designs. The Swedish one is practically impervious to submarine attack and the Finnish one only slightly less as long as it wants to be. I do not know of any torpedo that can operate on the type of shallows these two ships can.

        By the way, I have noticed that some British ships still fire Torpedoes from port holes in the superstructure and this would be a feasible way to fit deep diving torpedoes on these ships if they so wanted.

        In my opinion the Finish boat is a more versatile patrol boat. It is not all clear to me that the Swedish one with no superstructure and armed as it is with the eight harpoons would have enough space for anything more. But it might.


  2. Hamina with 580 mile range has low endurance, no helicopters or even torpedoes but yes it does have tow sonar. In an anti-sub role this vessel is dependent on shore based aircrafts for hunting submarines.

    It does have four surface to surface missiles that give it the ability to extend shore defenses or deal with unexpected surface threats.

    Carbon fiber composite superstructure; battle damage will be difficult to repair quickly.

    It is really a patrol boat and it should have been twice as big as it is with at least a lily-pad and helicopter refueling ability. Should have had its superstructure made of aluminum too.


  3. The Fords actually cost over $14 Billion — read the SARs, and divide the Project Cost by 4 (the number of Fords currently authorized);

    The Fords have nothing on the ‘Walts (the Zumwalt class Gunboats; they’re Destroyers in name only), though. They each cost over $21 Billion, making them the most expensive ships to date!


    1. Blacktail, the carrier’s are actually coming along pretty good.

      The Zumwalt not so good and I am not sure that anyone is clear about how those guns will be used given on-going developments is shore defenses. With out the guns it is a very expensive ship that brings very little to the table that is not there already with other ships. A rail gun if they can figure out the problem of cooling and distortion of the rails might make the ship relevant again (because of its immense electrical generation capacity).

      I am surprised you did not bring the San Antonio program to the discussion… an important ship type whose cost are really out of control.

      And if you think about it the ship type that came the closest to its initial budget was the LCS and it got cancelled… go figure.


  4. I believe that the most prudent course of action is to design custom warships and submarines from ground up.


    1. Chris, that is a course of action that will lead to high cost per hull… the reason that the Virginia submarines are comming under budget is precisely because they evolved it from previous Sea Wolf design.

      Or look at the Zumwalt… that was a new design and look what happened; budget was busted. I am now hearing that the role intended for the Zumwalt is not required any longer which is hard to believe.

      With ships you want to take an evolutionary attitude and bring changes in small increments mastering them first before making any further “improvements”.


      1. In the quantities that Picard is proposing, that is not likely to be the case. If anything, Picard’s designs may prove cheaper than existing ones, simply because he is unlikely to add unnecessary features that don’t add to the intended purpose of the vessel.


      2. Yeah, but designing a warship is quite a bit more complex task than designing a tactical aircraft, and I’m not sure I’m ready to tackle it.

        EDIT: I did design a carrier, but carriers are quite simple by comparision.


      3. “EDIT: I did design a carrier, but carriers are quite simple by comparision.”

        They’re basically glorified freighters. 😛


      4. “They’re basically glorified freighters.” – Well, in the old days you could take a coaler or any other bulk storage ship and convert it to a low end carrier but that is not possible any longer. The aircrafts weight 40,000 lbs. and they need catapults and crash land. Maybe you can use them for helicopters assuming you have a hangar.

        A front line carrier or amphib is a very complex and difficult endeavor…

        If in doubt just research the Russian purchase of several Mistral types from France… the Russians where unable to manufacture such a complex ship or better said they might be able to start its construction but not be able to complete it.

        Or the Indians frustration in building their own carrier including problems with the power plant and gears, etc. Difficult, difficult, difficult.


  5. “If in doubt just research the Russian purchase of several Mistral types from France… the Russians where unable to manufacture such a complex ship or better said they might be able to start its construction but not be able to complete it.”

    The truth is, most modern military craft are very complex.

    They have a learning curve, like any manufacturing. Note automobiles – getting into the industry is one with a long learning curve. Breaking the curve (ex: halting the production) sends you backwards far more than just the unit cost … it reverses many decades of hard earned research.

    That’s why the outsourcing of manufacturing is very dire indeed for many of the developed nations.


    1. Chis, one part that is missing from the discussion about carriers is that they are front-line ships in battles vs. other warships in open ocean and you can’t use converted bulk carriers or oilers for that role. If you have any doubt please research the Japanese losses of front line carriers, battle ships and cruisers in WW2 and you will find that of about 50 sunk about 40 where victims of carrier aviation.

      Second part is that with the advent of jet engines the complexities of a carrier has been multiplied as well as the size. Today only major industrial powers with experience in military ship-building are able to build carriers or front line power projection ships like the Mistrals.

      So the idea of working a naval force around carriers built from commercial hulls no matter how sturdy is not realistic and a double hulled Alaska oil carrier is probably the most sturdy commercial ship available and still will not do.

      The Russian have a singular problem with their ship building. They know how to build ships and have built or modified carriers for the Indians if not with great success at least with acceptable results but apparently a ship like the Mistral is out of their competence and was farmed out to the French. So as you can see these ships are not that easy to make.

      One thing that has clouded the decisions on carriers is that the USA Navy is essentially unchallenged in open oceans and has been battling second rate militaries for the last two decades but that is not a given that will continue for the next 50 years so we must plan for other possibilities.

      That and the peculiarity of fighting in the South China Sea as well as around the Japanese Islands and the Korean peninsula as well as the success of what today we know as asymmetric war fare (like in the Persian Gulf) which will include mines, small subs, swarms, suicide aircrafts, etc.

      So the Navy is having to build different ships for some of those environments but that does not mean they can give away the open oceans… that last one will lay the USA coast defenseless.


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