But it sill doesn't have its f-35 as planned so the carrier is still not as operational as intended.
The question is the definition of CATOBAR, and whether it requires a steam catapult... and it does not.
The fact that EMALS cats may or may not be ready for operational service is irrelevant... when they are it will still be CATOBAR.
The C means catapult... but not any particular type of catapult.
It could be a mediaeval catapult using ropes and a dropping rock to pick up and hurl an aircraft into the air long enough for its engines to get traction and momentum and keep the aircraft in the air under its own power.
Hell, it could be a massive crane that picks up the aircraft and swings it round in circles letting the cable go longer and longer until the cable is 2km long with the aircraft doing 2km circles of the carrier and then release the aircraft to go on its way.
Roll the cable back up and pick up the next plane...
Or an Airship that operates over the carrier... you could put an enormous radar in it so it could be your AWACS platform and it could have enormous cables hanging from it... attach your fighter planes to the cable attached to where the arrester hook is attached and use three cables to pick the plane up level... when it gets to 100m above the deck detach the other cables and just keep the cable to the area near the arrester hook attached so the plane flops down and is pointing nose down as you keep pulling it up in the air... get the pilot to start up his engines and raise his undercarriage and at say 3 or 4 km altitude release the cable and let him drop vertically down... with his engines running he should be able to accelerate to flight speed pretty rapidly and pull back on the stick and fly away...
Its possible to improve the valving of the steam cats to gain much better control of the launch.
I would think such a feature would be desirable, but they never solved it as far as I am aware...
They probably considered this, but EMALS offered more advantages in the longer run. Since they are working on similar system for EM guns they probably had a good understanding that it could be done.
They had steam catapults as a mature and working system and they have made a leap into the dark with the promise of EM cats.
Could say the same about 5th gen stealth fighters...
It's an issue with the maintance software use onboard of the carrier.
The point of the carrier is to use f-35, not f-18.
Nimitz are enough if they just wanted to keep the f-18.
Not Russias problem and certainly not relevant to this thread topic.
The Russians are in a position where they can either spend decades and lots of money developing steam cat technology from scratch, or a similar amount of time and money developing EM cats.
The value of the latter is clear because the technology and materials will be useful for EM guns and also all electric drive ships and other useful technologies that will be useful for all electric aircraft and land vehicles too...
Steam... not so much.
However until some 3rd world country hits a carrier with a hypersonic missile I expect the US to persist in this madness.
The thing is that most of the time super carriers are not madness, for most of their bullying they just need to make sure they don't bully the wrong country by accident...
I have no doubt that current trends towards AI, hypersonic weapons, and distributed sensor networks will render these flat-top turkeys to be liabilities in peer-power conflicts. The age of the carrier is over, just as happened to the great armoured battleships of yesteryear.
The big battleships didn't disappear... they could never be armoured to the point where they could withstand an aerial bomb and no way to engage something that so out ranged its guns... but as the Soviets showed... small boats could carry the equivalent of a battleships broadside in the form of anti ship missiles... but that is not to say war has changed on sea so much that air power is meaningless... a group of ships with an aircraft carrier is certainly better defended than any group of ships that does not have aircraft... aircraft are not just eyes and ears... they move so fast and can test defences and get surface ships to light up and reveal their positions without risking a ship.
And what makes the other ships better ? If such missiles can destroy a carrier they can destroy a cruiser like the Nakhimov that Russia is building or a simple frigate.
Exactly... if big ships are not safe then smaller ships are even more vulnerable.
To think there is safety in numbers is very naive... like saying that the Soviets beat the Germans with numbers... those german soldiers would have been happy enough to mow down wave after wave of Soviet soldier... numbers didn't bother them... especially when wasted stupidly thinking numbers is the solution.
It's just a matter of time before US has its own hypersonic missiles.
And they will all have ranges to be used as stand off range. So no one will use it in fear of enemy missiles.
So US carriers will be quite safe.
I wouldn't say safe, but certainly safer than smaller navies with less ships to protect them.... right now the US could make all their ships completely safe by sailing them all to the southern atlantic... they would have enough sub hunters to keep Russian subs at back and Russian surface ships couldn't get close without being noticed in a war situation... of course it would render their fleet totally useless... but it would be safe.
Equally Russian ships can be kept largely safe by keeping them in Russian waters under air and land coverage of air defences and missile batteries, but equally rather useless except for self defence.
To explore the worlds oceans the Russians need bigger ships and they need a couple... not a lot... but a couple of decent large aircraft carriers to provide air defence and AEW for those ships.
WWIII starts it wont steam to the US and take on them yankees... they will more likely try to make it to home port and add to the local air defence.
It does not, but bigger ships are bigger targets and the CVN is central to the entire US force projection structure. Russia tends to not do this unless invited. But yes any ships will be at huge risk to these weapons
So you are saying bigger military air bases are also bigger targets and terribly vulnerable and should be replaced with thousands of smaller airfields?
I mean if a ship is too big to protect then a 1km long small airfield would be too... so Russia should stop wasting money on aeroplanes and just concentrate on SAMs like the British were going to do in the 70s because fighters are obsolete and missiles can do everything?
Hint they still can't, but defences are better with planes and sams and radars on the ground and in the air... it gives depth to the defences.
[You're saying that Russian cruisers and frigates will also be vulnerable to hypersonics (fair point) but then conclude that "US carriers will be quite safe"?
Hypersonic manouvering missiles are new and a tricky new problem to deal with, but the best way to deal with current threats includes big ships and aircraft carriers... what makes you think the solution is small ships?
I would expect the best way to ensure you can shoot down a hypersonic threat that is at 60km altitude or higher is a big powerful laser... now what sort of ship would be best to carry that... I would say at a guess at least a cruiser... but if a cruiser could be safe wouldn't an aircraft carrier be safe too and wouldn't it be useful to have aircraft with your ships?