Are aircraft carriers obsolete?

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Considering the advances made in anti ship missile guidance systems, do aircraft carries have much of a future? They're fairly big, fairly slow targets that should be fairly easy to detect and hit. Are they a dinosaur at this point, only viable a intimidation tools and only effective against technologically backward opponents?
 
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Depends on what the aircraft carrier is being used for. The carrier battles of WW2 are a thing of the past.

An aircraft carrier can act as a moveable airport and command post, this extremely useful for humanitarian aide and disaster relief. The carrier when docked can create fresh water and electricity which can be used onshore for operations.

Most carriers have a complement of marines whicb can be used onshore also.
 
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I'm mostly uninformed when it comes to anti-ship missiles and weaponry, but I'd think the aircraft carrier still stands as the epitome of modern warfare. It is the ultimate force projection warfare, being able to carry fleets of aircraft, military equipment, and personnel to theaters half a world away. They may be slow but they're often accompanied by their own fleet of naval support vehicle and, despite the advances in missile technologies, I'd imagine carrier groups have anti-missile countermeasures which are just as advanced.
 
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The anti missile features might be advanced, but they could get overwhelmed by the enemy launching a swarm of missiles at the same time. Also, there's no reason why the missiles themselves couldn't be invisible to radar, which would mean the aircraft carrier would only be able to detect their heat signature when they're relatively close.
 
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I do not think they will become obsolete anytime soon. Mostly because we do not have anything superior just yet.
 
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If you want to deploy a small air force with the firepower of a small army, then nothing does it better than an aircraft carrier. If you get five together then you basically have an air force that can rival almost any country (speaking about US naval carriers here).

Despite this, they are big targets and are quite slow at getting to where they are going. They also have a small navy protecting them so their firepower and effectiveness at sea cannot be underestimated.
 
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No, not at all. While you make a good point about Anti-Carrier missiles being available today, they aren't available to everyone. The ones that people do have are huge and are in no way able to be rendered "invisible". Aircraft Carriers make great staging posts for aid and a safe haven for pilots who might otherwise have to land their craft in a dangerous area.
 
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I would not see it being obsolete as they do need it for emergency landings or stop points to get across after refueling airplanes and jets that cannot just stop at any ordinary airport or in a foreign country. Out at sea nobody can see what it is going on and it is a safe zone for the ugly sky ahead.
 
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No, they are far from being obsolete. While they aren't used to control the seas anymore, they make for an amazing FOB. You have aircraft, infantry, supplies, all sorts of high tech communications and surveillance equipment, cruise missiles... pretty much everything you need. All that in one fleet that can move pretty much anywhere.

While an aircraft carrier alone would be a vulnerable target (despite it's anti-missile defences) the fleet around it is there for the purpose of defending it.
 
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The name is a misnomer these days - they are not "carriers" but "floating airports" - they are needed to get aircraft and missile systems in range. Although modern ship-to-ship, air-to-ship and ground-to-ship system make them easy targets, they can also employ antimissile-missile system, chaf, high speed canon, jamming and drone defense systems - not to mention the air defenses they can employ.

Until there are long range micro-drones and better submarine evacuation and recovery vehicles (to rescue civilians and troops, and deliver fast attack groups like SF teams), then carriers are here to stay.
 
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Oh yeah, they're here to stay, but how effective are they though? China for example has developed ballistic missiles they say are capable of hitting aircraft carriers from thousands of kilometers away. The biggest issue for such a system would be finding and hitting the intended target, but once these issues are solved I just don't see what good aircraft carriers would do against technologically advanced nations.
 
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Oh yeah, they're here to stay, but how effective are they though? China for example has developed ballistic missiles they say are capable of hitting aircraft carriers from thousands of kilometers away. The biggest issue for such a system would be finding and hitting the intended target, but once these issues are solved I just don't see what good aircraft carriers would do against technologically advanced nations.
A long range ballistic missile would be easy to track and take down, if we can land a rocket on a fast flying rock in space in 3 dimensions calculating exactly where it will be in ten years to the minute (and with tech ten years old of course), and we can blow the door off a bunker from 3000 miles away, then targeting a carrier is not exactly going to be taxing - its hitting it that is.

Technological advances in attack and mitigated by the same in defense. Carriers in WW2 were at the mercy of Kamikaze pilots because they could out manoeuvrome and come in under the big guns, and were moving too fast and were too heavy for small arms fire to stop the impact. These days they would be blown from the sky before the pilot could even visually confirm they presence. Things change, new risk come and new ways to mitigate follow. Even more so these days, with DOD markets, companies are thinking ahead to possible inventions and mitigating against them too, rather than reacting. There is a lot of money involved, and the competition is fierce.

Long range missiles and drones have a role to play, but neither can mount ground offensives, captures or evacuations/extractions for this we need troops and support. Countries also have defense systems: long range attack works against countries like Iraq, but not so well against ultra modern countries who have developed defense system throughout and since the cold war for just such attacks.
 
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It appears that many nations have intentions to continue building aircraft carriers. The United States has plans to build seven or eight more super-carriers. One alternative to the aircraft carrier and the super-carrier is the Mobile Offshore Base (MOB). I understand that one of these can be as large as ten carriers, yet this concept was abandoned in 2001 as not being cost effective.
 
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I don't think there going anywhere either. It may happen in the future, but for now I do believe they are still needed.
 
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Oh yeah, they're here to stay, but how effective are they though? China for example has developed ballistic missiles they say are capable of hitting aircraft carriers from thousands of kilometers away. The biggest issue for such a system would be finding and hitting the intended target, but once these issues are solved I just don't see what good aircraft carriers would do against technologically advanced nations.
A cruise missile will not get anywhere near an aircraft carrier. They have their own jamming and air defence systems (such as the Phalanx and SeaRam in the future) as well as ships in their fleet which are specifically designed for air and missile defence. Same thing with anti-submarine warfare... there are ships (and usually submarines) with the very purpose of defending a carrier against enemy submarines.

You make it sound so easy because you read something about it on the internet or saw it on the news. I can't be arsed to do more reasearch but according to wikipedia "No aircraft carrier has been sunk in wartime since the sinking of the Japanese aircraft carrier Amagi in Kure Harbour in July 1945." Now that doesn't mean that no one managed to succesfully attack a few, but if that happened then even those times are pretty rare I think.
 

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