What would a Stealth Air Craft Carrier look like?

I’m talking about the Carrier, not the aircraft.

How big is it? What is it shaped like? How fast is she?

I can’t even begin to imagine how you would hide something that big from radar/sonar observation. They have developed stealth ships, but very often things do not scale up properly. And given the shape for those ships, that doesn’t leave much for a flight deck, which would greatly diminish the ship’s utility. Also, you’d have to keep virtually everything below decks, which seems very impractical.

Would it be possible to have a submarine with a flat top that had the ability to store a few aircraft in its hull, which could take off after surfacing?

Could you have drone bays instead of flight decks? Open up a tiny port, launch a drone out like you would a torpedo/missile, close the port and go stealth again?

U.S. Submarines already do this.

Carriers are unlikely to ever be stealthy. They’re just too big, too irregular in shape and have too much going on to be able to create any meaningful stealth for them.

Which is kinda okay. Because a carrier task force is an intimidating thing. Sometimes you want a misbehaving nation to know there’s a really big stick off shore that’s about to hit them if they don’t start behaving.

Really? Which ones? (I’d love more info)

Take your pick.

As I understand it, in modern naval doctrine there is no such thing as just a carrier. The carrier is bound to the carrier group, which is a collection of ships designed to protect the force-projector against short- to medium-range attack. This includes submarines, which are already quite stealthy enough for even Clancy’s ghostwriters.

So carriers are not stealthy for the simple reason aircraft can’t land on the kind of clutter of weird-angled panels you’d need to deflect radar away from returning to its source. (Look at the F-117 for an example of this.) However, they don’t have to be stealthy because of all the missile ships (cruisers? battleships? corvettes?) and submarines and so on that prevent anything from getting close enough to them for their stealth to be an issue.

Define stealth: visual, radar, sonar, etc…

You could possibly make it somewhat stealthy in regards to radar by coating the ship with RAM (radar absorbing material) and making changes to the exterior structure to aid in reducing radar signature reflections. That is actually all possible. And, it will have an affect on radar return from another ship and maybe increase its detection range. But, by how much I don’t know and I don’t know of any real credible sources that give the amount of radar return reduction. However, with something that big, you can see it miles away with an observational aircraft so it would be a waste.

Using a really big submarine, like the newer Virginia class, with the new joint fighter or something that can do a vertical take off and landing, would be stealthy. Open up a horizontal bay door, raise the elevator, launch the aircraft, lower elevator, close bay doors, and then submerge.

But, why? Yeah, it’d be cool, but why not just use a cruise missile that will have even less of a radar signature, certainly faster than any drone, maybe as fast as a current VTOL fighter. The current Harriers are subsonic and the Tomahawks are as well. I think the joint fighter that I am thinking of is super-sonic, so, it would be faster than a cruise missile like a Tomahawk. I’m talking for strike capability though.

If you want something to used for observation then the current launching of drones via the missle tubes would be the way to go. It would be a pain to retrieve though.

Call it say, 250 miles.

As I understand it, there is an ongoing school of design where they try to make carriers “stealthier”, or at least “Less obvious on radar”. Basically consolidating and enclosing antennae and the like, finding ways to make the island (the big tower thing) smaller, etc. I’ve read of a couple of the newer European carriers using two smaller islands instead of one big one as a means of reducing the radar cross section. None of this is going to make an aircraft carrier not show up on radar, of course, but the idea is to at least make it a bit harder to see. Every little bit can help you in a fight.

There have been a few of those, but they were never “floating airports” like real carriers.

Stealth ships in WWII. I think there were later attempts to make ships ‘invisible’ to sight by means of camouflage, as well as lowering radar footprint.

The easiest functional way to make the carrier “stealthy” is to increase the range of its embarked stealthy aircraft. The perfectly radar-visible carrier then stands way the hell off outside radar range and the aircraft hit you by surprise.

Have it disguised as a barge or something. It could be strealthy once.

I imagine future technology will render stealth technology obsolete. Whether it be advanced real time spy recon satellites, sound, magnetic or exhaust sensing technology, my guess is that stealth will be overcome before long.

I’m pretty sure carriers can already be tracked via satellite. They aren’t exactly so fast you really need to keep track of where each one is right this minute.

I do feel sorry for the poor guy who DOES manage to lose track of one while taking a coffee break.:smiley:

Obviously, if it really worked, it would not look like anything at all. :smiley: