Ships from the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and other cruiser-destroyer units based at Naval Station Norfolk sailed into the Atlantic earlier this month for the East Coast's first Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training, or SWATT, exercise with a carrier group.
There is an ongoing debate about the continued viability of the aircraft carrier. Proponents point to the fact the carrier provides a range of capabilities essential for power projection and sea control that, without basing rights, cannot be provided in any other way. Opponents note that several nations have drones and cruise missiles that vastly outrange the short-legged carrier air wing. They also note that China has developed a ballistic missile specifically to kill carriers. A particular concern is that a carrier and air wing alone cost $20 billion and 5,000 Americans live aboard. This is an enormous investment of eggs is a possibly fragile basket.
333 Squadron, Norwegian Royal Airforce/NTB Scanpix
For most sailors who served on the Admiral Kuznetzov, Mazut is the stuff of legends. The ultra thick, tarry black substance that powers the ship is known for being rather toxic, sticky, and not easy to get out of clothes. But why did the Soviet navy keep powering its ships with Mazut? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the fuel? Why exactly is the Kuznetsov so smoky?
China's first homegrown aircraft carrier and the first of the country's new missile destroyers set sail for sea trials recently, sparking speculation that a new carrier battle group may be in the making.