Monday, June 04, 2018

From the Era Before Floating Air Bases

The Navy is considering keeping the Truman carrier group in European waters rather than sending it on to Central Command as originally planned.

This is intended to make American carrier deployments less predictable. That is a good reason to do this. Apart from any other reason, enemies shouldn't be able to predict where the carriers will be years in advance.

But what about the worry about not having a carrier on station? There is concern that holding the carrier back from CENTCOM causes a gap there, but that isn't much of a worry any more:

Beginning in 2015, the Gulf has intermittently been without a carrier strike group for months at a time as land-based aircraft have backfilled the strikes on ISIS targets.

What a concept! Land air bases!

So I have to ask as I have on other occasions when the issue of a lack of a carrier in a region has come up, why can't we base carrier aircraft wings ashore? Especially when the targets are on land anyway, that makes it easier to strike (and in the Middle East means we don't have to insanely put carriers in the Persian Gulf).

If we need more air power to face Russia in Europe, why not send aircraft--Navy, Marine, or Air Force--to land bases across NATO Europe rather than rely on a carrier?