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Increase the Carrier Air Wing Size | U.S. Naval Institute


Debate over the utility and relevance of the U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (CVN) in a high-end fight continues unabated. Most recently, retired captain and naval aviator Robert C. Rubel argued in Proceedings that its role in such conflicts should change in the face of current and emerging antiaccess/area-denial (A2/AD) threats. The carrier air wing should now primarily support missile-capable surface combatants, Rubel claims. [1] This is one of several articles published in recent years advocating a role reversal for the CVN that, at least during the initial stages of war with an A2/AD-centric foe, would place it in a secondary position to its missile-armed escorts. [2]

Rubel presents a number of sensible ideas to make this new concept work, including programming for a long-range interceptor variant of the F-35C (similar in mission to the Cold War–era F-14) and expediting development of the MQ-25 unmanned aerial tanker. However, the concept could be jump-started right away by maximizing capabilities that already exist. One defense writer suggested increasing the number of F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers in the carrier air wing (CVW). [3] Given the two aircrafts’ very important primary missions in a contested battlespace—air superiority and electronic warfare (EW) respectively—it is worth exploring this idea in greater depth in relation to Rubel’s argument.

by Bread&Circuses • 28 views • 0 comments • 1 week ago • category: General
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