|Today several nations have small ?harrier carriers? and no ?conventional? carriers, including the UK, Italy and Spain (not to mention the Wasp carriers of the USMC). I?ve heard that while these smaller carriers are cheaper (by several times) then a conventional carrier, they cant handle nearly as wide a variety of planes, including a real AWAC plane. Is this true?
Isn?t there anything at all that could be used? Isn?t there some way possible to create a craft that has S/TOVL capabilities that can be used as an awac? Couldn?t a few NH-90?s (or other helicopters) be converted to carry radar pods? Couldn?t a few UAV?s carry some radar pods and send the radar info back in a steady stream to an ?air control room? on the base carrier?
I?m asking this out of a honest curiosity regarding the technicalities involved.