Ever since Billy Mitchell, a lot of people have claimed that battleships are obsolete–a sentiment that became common after WW2. I don’t believe it. I believe that battleships have a role to fill in modern force-projection. The trouble is that almost everybody is stuck 70 years in the past. I contend that a modern, well-designed battleship would be able to take care of itself quite well.
One of the most common arguments against battleships is that they are an inefficient use of manpower.
This argument is both disingenuous and incredibly stupid. The newest battleships in existence are 70 years old! (As I said, people are stuck 70 years in the past.) Any modern design that is even halfway competent would be computerized and otherwise changed to the point where it would require far fewer sailors to operate.
Another argument–submarines. It’s claimed that battleships are too vulnerable to torpedoes. What many people don’t realize is that some of these arguments can also be applied to aircraft carriers. (The US Navy tries very hard to pretend that those arguments don’t exist.)
When the last battleships were designed, submarines and torpedoes were just beginning to be advanced enough to be a major threat. Any new design would obviously take the current situation into account. It would be quite simple to make such a ship double-hulled, with energy-absorbing material between the hulls.
Another argument, and possibly the most common, is air power. Again, this argument applies to aircraft carriers as well.
Billy Mitchell famously argued that no battleship could defend itself against aerial attack. But today we have the Aegis and Phalanx, which any modern battleship design would most assuredly include.
In addition, most modern anti-ship weapons are designed to be used against an un-armored target. The Iowa-class ships had 7.5 inches of armor on the decks and a belt of 12.1 inches. And if that’s not enough, simply borrow a page from the army and use reactive armor.
Make a modern battleship nuclear-powered, and it would be able to either out-fight or out-run everything else afloat.