Chief of Naval Operations Outlines Future for Drones, Minicarriers

Defense One: The U.S. Navy may need fewer large Nimitz-class aircraft carriers in the future, but that doesn’t necessarily mean fewer ships that can carry aircraft, Chief of Naval Operation Adm. Michael Gilday said in an interview with Defense One on Tuesday. Light aircraft carriers or ships that can serve as small carriers wouldn’t necessarily look like big super carriers from the past, in part because new smaller drones will provide some of the capability that today you only find in carrier air wings.

“Light carriers might more aptly be named the ‘aviation combatant of the future’,” Gilday said in his first public remarks about the 25-year fleet plan unveiled by Defense Secretary Mark Esper last week. Dubbed “Battle Force 2045,” the plan calls for “eight to 11” large-deck carriers, down from today’s 11.

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