Since the First World War, the importance of sea-based aviation has evolved, including the increasingly diverse mission sets aircraft carriers provide. Expert opinions on the future effectiveness of air power from the sea have also changed dramatically.1
Decades ago, most experts in the field held the opinion that sea-based air power would be a critical piece of future conflicts, and that global powers should invest heavily in this core, military capability.
More recently, many experts’ opinions have changed, stating carriers will be kept from the battlespace due to the rapid increase in the capabilities of Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) integrated weapon systems.2, 3
Various state-sponsored and non-state actors, utilizing unconventional warfare tactics, pose a plausible threat to the force protection of any naval vessel. However, strategists consider China and Russia as the most likely potential adversaries to have peer capabilities, credibly able to threaten a Carrier Strike Group (CSG).
While surface and subsurface systems also pose serious risks to the carrier, the lethality of air threats is growing at an exponential rate.
This article will highlight the developments of air threats to aircraft carriers and how future countermeasures might ensure CSG survivability.
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