The importance of aircraft carriers in military history cannot be overstated.
Aircraft carriers helped the United States win key naval battles during World War II, particularly in the Pacific Theater. In the decades following World War II, aircraft carriers gave the United States the ability to project its military might across the globe. But advances in naval warfare could reverse the role of the aircraft carrier.
In this photo provided by the US Navy, the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is first seen underway on its own engine April 8, 2017 in Newport News, Virginia. The first ship in its class – the first new model of US aircraft carrier in 40 years will spend several days conducting the builder’s sea trials, a comprehensive test of many of the ship’s key systems and technologies.
US Navy | Getty Images News | Getty Images
“If you want to operate aircraft carriers, you need a whole lot of cutting edge technology to be able to defend them,” said David Larter, naval war reporter for Defense News. “These are the advancements in anti-ship cruise missiles that can be launched from land. It is the advancement of cruise missiles launched by bombers or fighters that pose a huge threat.
Aircraft carriers are expensive, and losing one to a much cheaper anti-ship missile would be an absolute disaster. The Navy’s latest aircraft carrier, which is part of what’s called the Ford-class, costs $ 12.8 billion per ship, and that’s before the costs of planes taking off from the bridge, fixing new technology and operating the aircraft carrier on the high seas for months at a time. .
The United States has more active aircraft carriers than all the rest of the world combined. Expensive, massive and deadly, the aircraft carrier has been the cornerstone of American security for nearly a century. But with advancements in missile design, will it stay on top? Watch the video above to find out.