Why the Guy in Charge of the Navy Wants Smaller, Lighter Aircraft Carriers
Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite has called on the service to build up to six light aircraft carriers, which would increase the number of aircraft carriers in the fleet in a cost-effective way.
While speaking at a U.S. Navy Memorial event, Braithwaite proposed equipping the carriers with uncrewed aerial vehicles and sending them “where the threat is,” particularly against Russian submarines.
Braithwaite is likely the first Secretary of the Navy to openly support light carriers and advocate for deploying uncrewed aerial vehicles on their flight decks. This would mirror the Chinese Navy’s upcoming Type 076-class warship. Like the Type 075 amphibious assault ship, there’s evidence the People’s Liberation Army Navy plans to equip the Type 076 with catapults and arresting gear to operate uncrewed aerial vehicles.