Naval Air: September 26, 2000


The US Navy has recently tested an interesting new concept in recent simulated wargames. The CORSAIR project envisions a tiny aircraft carrier, displacing 4,000 tons (compared to 90,000 for a Nimitz-class fleet carrier) and carrying seven Joint Strike Fighters (compared to 70 combat aircraft on a Nimitz-class carrier). The concept, which hasn't even reached a drawing board yet, was created by Vice Admiral Art Cebrowski, President of the Naval War College, the same man who introduced the Streetfighter small warship into last year's wargames. Cebrowski is pushing the idea of Network Centric Warfare. The idea is to use many small units instead of a few very large ones. These would be linked by computer datalinks and would effectively comprise a single unit rather than a dozen or more individual ships. An interesting part of the Corsair concept is that if the US bought 10 Corsairs instead of a single Nimitz-class carrier, it would be able to deploy them all to a single major crisis, or it could send one of them to a small crisis, such as providing cover for a small Marine unit evacuating an embassy in a country undergoing a civil war. Cebrowski also wants to develop the High Speed In-Theater Transport. This could beach itself to load heavy equipment and vehicles. It could be used to rapidly shift equipment around in a given theater, or as an assault vehicle.--Stephen V Cole


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