The Navy's Multimission Carrier Airwing--Can the Mission Be Accomplished with Fewer Resources?

LCD-77-409: Published: Sep 12, 1977. Publicly Released: Dec 3, 1982.

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In response to budget constraints, the Navy reduced the number of aircraft carriers from 24 in the mid-1960's to 13 today. While the carriers today are fewer in number, they have more sophisticated weapon systems and other technological advances which partly offset the numerical difference. This technology upgrading is a continuous process and can be illustrated by the introduction of F-14 aircraft, which replaced the F-4's.

To cope with the reduction in carriers and to satisfy their mission requirements, the Navy combined the formerly separate attack and antisubmarine capabilities onto single carrier decks, thereby making carrier airwings multimission in nature.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress and the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to reassess the total aircraft requirements for multimission aircraft carriers and to determine the minimum number of aircraft required for each carrier and how to best satisfy the mission with the least resources. Congress should also consider the following two issues: (1) in view of the alternatives available to the Navy to provide the flexibility to adjust the carrier deckload, should the additional aircraft comprising the flexibility component be procured? and (2) if Congress should decide that each of the multimission aircraft carriers should have its own unique airwing including the flexibility component, then Congress should defer appropriating funds for aircraft in excess of the basic sea control airwing requirements until the Navy demonstrates that it can efficiently and effectively operate the entire multimission airwing from the carriers under simulated combat conditions.


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