HMS Dreadnought battleship was a revolutionary design at the height of technology when first launched in 1906, which sparked an arms race which partly hurled Europe into the fires of World War I from 1914 to 1918.
The big disappointing issue and problem with the Dreadnought class, which heavily influenced battleship designs until the ending of World War II in 1939 and 1945, was favouring large battleships with massive guns that worked as large floating parcels with long guns.
In 1906, with the advancement of torpedo technology, aeroplanes would first be used in warfare throughout World War I, which also saw the development and progress of aircraft carrier technologies.
The technological innovations and advancements in torpedo technology meant that more giant battleships like the Dreadnought class became obsolete and were replaced by aircraft carrier doctrines with a strong destroyer escort.
The United States may be making a similar mistake as the old European navies by being over-reliant on supercarriers and dismantling the US destroyer-focused Navy dedicated to protecting sea lanes and instead the production and creation of America’s 11 nuclear-powered active supercarriers.
Advancement of Technology
Three technologies spell the doom of large focus battleship navies with ship designs like the HMS Dreadnought.
These technologies are the torpedo, aeroplane and submarine.
The Confederate States of America developed the first submarine during the American Civil War in 1861 to 1865.
The submarines during World War II destroyed eight Japanese aircraft carriers.
This showed that large battleships and overreliance on larger ships are more vulnerable to torpedoes than smaller vessels.
This was why navies during World War II focused more on having aircraft carriers and smaller vessels so that fighting ships such as destroyers and frigates had a better chance of manoeuvring away from incoming torpedoes.
The remaining 377 U-boats were either surrendered or destroyed by German semen.
Following technology, we have the torpedo, the first one called the Whitehead torpedo. In 1866, Whitehead invented the first practical self-propelled torpedo, the eponymous Whitehead torpedo, the first modern torpedo.
French and German inventions followed closely, and torpedo describes self-propelled projectiles that travelled under or on water.
The final technology that spelt the end of large battleships was the 1903 Wright Flyer.
Wilbur and Orville Wright spent four years researching and developing the first successful powered aeroplane, the 1903 Wright Flyer. It first flew at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903, with Orville at the controls.
With a thorough understanding of the impact of the advancement and development of torpedo, aeroplane, and submarine technology, which led to the ending of big ship doctrine and battleship, I don’t have high manoeuvrability.
By looking at the development of these three technologies and the events of World War One and the ending of the Second World War in 1945, we can see how present-day supercarriers may be under threat due to the advancements in Drone technology, which is being demonstrated to be effective during the Ukraine war from 2014 with the Russian Federation taking the Crimea peninsula until the present day.
Ukraine War and Drone Technology
Humanity has been developing drone technology since the First World War; the first successful remote-controlled aircraft, the British “Aerial Target,” flew in 1917 for anti-aircraft training.
In 1935, the US Navy developed the “Curtiss N2C-2,” an early radio-controlled drone designed for target practice and surveillance.
Currently, the Ukrainian military is successfully flying drones to attack the Russian Federation, with over 190 targets being attacked by Ukrainian drones. Further successful Ukrainian military actions have taken place, with Ukrainians using drones to destroy Russian tanks and ships.
The drone technology the Ukrainians are using against the Russians is predominantly from manufactured goods that can be bought from gadget stores or even a Walmart in the USA, which are being repurposed for use in warfare.
This could potentially mean for America’s carrier fleet that the doctrine of large vessels is becoming obsolete.
Using smaller aircraft carriers and not having all the American eggs spread about multiple vessels in one basket is much more practicable.
With the future of warfare being drone technology on the high seas, the supercarrier may go the same way as the large battleship.
The Americans have wasted money building 11 supercarriers, each costing about $13 billion.
That means the Americans wasted $143 billion on a technology that could be obsolete within a decade due to the advancements taking place due to the Ukrainians being innovative in fighting the war against Russian invaders.
Very often, significant advancements in military technology take place in wartime.
The submarine’s development was due to the deficiency and weakness of the Confederate States of America.
The Ukrainian military, being outnumbered by the Russian Federation, adopting new technologies and methodologies, such as the drone being applied to modern military warfare in the 21st century, has potentially made the American supercarrier doctrine obsolete.
The good news is that everybody else has done the same as the United States and that the Chinese, Russians and others will need to return to the drawing board.
Luckily, the United States is still the wealthiest nation on earth and the global currency, which means the US has money to throw at the problem.