Saturday, 5 June 2010

Survivability: Sea Basing Versus Land Basing

Analysis of warfare is a bit like mathematics.

You have to treat both sides of the equation equally or your conclusions will not make sense.

Such unbalanced nonsensical analysis is often used to claim that aircraft carriers are not capable of surviving in the modern battlespace.

An aircraft carrier can be attacked by an aircraft (if it can get past all the aircraft in the carrier's air wing) but that aircraft has to come from somewhere.

It may come from a sea base,another aircraft carrier,which is just as vulnerable to being attacked.

It may come from a land base which is far more vulnerable to being attacked than any aircraft carrier.

In the 65 years since the Second World War over a hundred air bases on land have been attacked,damaged,put out of action or even overrun in various conflicts.

In the 65 years since the Second World War not one aircraft carrier has ever been damaged by enemy fire let alone put out of action.

Why are air bases so much more vulnerable than aircraft carriers?

There is an oft repeated saying in the military.

"If you can find it, you can hit it. If you can hit it, you can kill it."

To find an aircraft carrier one must use submarines,surface ships or aircraft,all of which can be destroyed before they locate the carrier.

To find an air base one need only buy a map.

To attack an aircraft carrier one needs submarines,surface ships or aircraft to overcome it's air wing and escorts.

To attack an air base and the lines of communication it relies on one needs a road side bomb or a mortar;a rocket propelled grenade;a sniper rifle;a heavy machine gun or a ballistic missile based on Second World War era technology.

It is inherently easier to find and kill an airbase than to find and kill an aircraft carrier.

Which is why air bases have been destroyed so frequently both during and since the Second World War.

Not one aircraft carrier has been damaged by enemy fire in sixty five years because attacking an aircraft carrier is exceedingly difficult to do.

Particularly for a land based air force whose fixed air bases are subject to attack by the air wing of the aircraft carrier it has not located yet.

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