Will China Make US Aircraft Carriers Irrelevant? – Community News
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Will China Make US Aircraft Carriers Irrelevant?

Nov 29, 2021 11:55 a.m. ET

Captain Jerry Hendrix’s premise that the Navy should give precedence to attack aircraft over any other new combat aircraft is correct (“The US Navy’s Range Has Diminished Dangerously,” op-ed, Nov. 19). He suggests that aerial refueling could reduce the range limitations of fighters, but it’s not a panacea. China equips its fighters with long-range missiles that will force US tankers to orbit at a distance beyond the unfueled radius of our fighters.

With aircraft carriers pushed 1,500-2,000 miles out of China to stay out of range of ballistic missiles, pilots would face unsustainable 7-10 hour missions. They would also not have a reliable diversion base if there was no air refueling on their return legs. Simply put, American fighters cannot sustainably reach China without putting tankers, carriers, or themselves an unaffordable risk.