Saturday, August 10, 2019

Note to China, Russia, Iran And North Korea: US Aircraft Carriers Are Almost Unsinkable Giants Of The Ocean


Having served on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War, I’ve often argued that the sinking of an aircraft carrier is a most difficult thing.   

The carrier has a strong steel hull and in addition to the carrier’s defensive aircraft, the warship has missiles and other defensive weapons. And the carrier serves as the center of a battle group that includes submarines and surface warships with anti-aircraft and anti-missile weapons, which are all geared to protect the "Queen." 

So I was interested in reading Blake Stilwell’s piece at wearethemighty.com on how difficult it was for the U.S. Navy to intentionally sink the decommissioned aircraft carrier America. (Seen in better days in the above photo). 

The USS America was a Kitty Hawk-class supercarrier first built in the 1960s and served through the Vietnam War, Cold War clashes, and on into Desert Storm. Decommissioned in 1996, the Navy decided the ship's best post-service use was as a target. America would help design the newest fleet of supercarriers to be even less vulnerable to enemy fire than she was.

The America did not go down easy. For four weeks the Navy hit the ship with everything they could muster, short of a nuclear weapon.

Even today, the wreck lies in one piece at the bottom of the ocean near Cape Hatteras. Despite the Navy's best efforts, they just could not sink the indefatigable carrier. The last time any carrier was lost to battle damage in combat was in World War II, where 12 such ships were sent to the bottom after heavy fighting. The America didn't engage in combat, but the attacking forces were out to hit her as if she had. The sinking of America was a test run for vulnerabilities in American aircraft carrier designs. 

The good news is that China is going to have a really hard time doing it, even if they use an intercontinental ballistic missile. The bad news is that it's somehow possible to sink these floating behemoths, and if done could kill up to 6,000 American sailors. Still, good luck getting close. 

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

https://www.wearethemighty.com/gear-tech/american-carriers 

You can also watch a video of the sinking of the America via the below link:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6gLwFXYH3M


Note: I hope my old ship does not share the same fate as the America. Even though it was for a good cause, it was sad to see the proud and mighty America go down.

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