OOC: Question as to carrier groups
I was going through, trying to learn what I needded to know about ships and aircraft that are part of a navy, and came up with something very unusual. Despite all my calculations, my nation has come out to being able to hold eight hundred and twenty-four carrier groups, each one slightly larger than a standard United States carrier group. For clarification, my nation has a population of just over 800 million, has a total of one million people in the military, populates a group of islands and therefore spends most of its military funds and sends most of its people into the navy - and the US has 11 carrier groups. I just can't see myself having almost eighty times that...any help, anyone?
Oh, and this should probably be moved somewhere else. I still can't figure out where a question like this belongs.
Meh. If your population's that high you could feasiably support it, certainly, though I'd expect it to come at the price of having a comparatively small/poor army and air force. And if your economy's I think Thriving or above you equal or outstrip the USA's economy.
Depends...define what a carrier group is in your calculations and what ships you plan on using. Also, don't forget that you'd need port facilities, training facilities, maintenance crew, etc, and all of that eats up a good portion of your defense budget.
A nice, big carrier costs in the range of US$2billion to US$5billion, plus a few dozen billion for support ships.
First of all, my current military budget shouldn't be confused with my total military budget - I'm entering a republican period of government after a dictatorship in which the military budget was far higher which itself followed a socialist period of government with relatively high military budgets.
That said, a carrier group consists of a total of 100 aircraft(78 airplanes, 22 helicopters) divided between around 13 ships(1 aircraft carrier(Nimitz-equivalent), 3 aegis destroyers(Arleigh Burke-equivalent), 6 LCS ships(no modern equivalent, but essentially very, very small ships(crew 15-50 that will replace frigates in American battle groups by about 2015), 2 submarines(vary between Virginia and Seawolf equivalent), and 1 Supply Ship(equivalent to Supply Class). This is approximately equal in strength to a fully modernized United States Carrier Group, except that there's an extra AEGIS destroyer.
I fully understand that I shouldn't be able to have eight hundred of these, so lay the criticism on me.
You did your math horribly horribly wrong.
You know, getting 3,000+ posts is easy when you just walk into a thread and make completely unhelpful posts.
The raw nation stats can justify a military budget in the close neighborhood of $1.3 billion. If you assume similar overall budgetary priorities and efficiency to the United States, that would lead you to have around 4-5 times as many carriers. Carrier groups *only* average on the order of billions per year in cost, though (provided you don't start losing ships and personnel in combat or expending lots of munitions; less than $10B a year counting training, vacations, and planes isn't too unreasonable a figure.), so you could have more if your priorities are different; globally speaking, the US places a relatively high priority on carrier groups, though.
Don't forget the cost of building, maintaining, and replacing planes; fighterjets don't last as long as carriers.
There are many other items that eat up priority in the military operations field, of course - and research, and intelligence, and other military matters, like recruitment incentives, medical benefits, pensions, etc. You may be able to justify a hundred carrier groups if you did nothing else, but a couple dozen is much more reasonable, all things considered.
The Evil Overlord
Each US carrier has around 3500-5000 full-time crew, plus another 1500 or so air detachment crew, for a total of 5000 - 8000 personnel on board. Assuming that the average swabbie (E1 - O10) gets roughly $3000 US per month, that means each carrier will require 15-24 million dollars in wages per month, or 180 - 288 million dollars per year. Add in a crew of 300 personnel per destroyer, 200 or so per frigate, 120 per submarine, 350 per cruiser, 180 or so for each supply ship. Assuming rough USN equivalents, that gives you an additional $132 million dollars per year, for a total of roughly $366 million USD per year- just in pay for the crews for ONE carrier group. 8 carrier groups would cost nearly $3 billion USD just for the crew.
Add in the costs of fuel, food, spare parts, and other supplies (roughly another $100 million per year, estimated), the maintenance, supply, and staffing of shore facilities to keep the ships ready to sail (you'll need at least one set of these for every three carriers), AND the staggering costs of a massive satellite network to keep everything more-or-less in contact, and you'll begin to get the idea. Large fleets are expensive, in terms of personnel, equipment, maintenance, basic supplies, communications requirements, and paperwork.
My country is over 3 Billion population. My Navy went over 1000 ships only a few RL months ago- and I am a maritime nation. Figure that your national budget is roughly 10% of your GDP. Your military budget will likely only be a decent fraction of the national budget. Not all of your military budget will go to the navy (if it does, you're making a serious mistake). Start with those numbers, and determine your military capabilities from there.
You also need to consider what you want to do with your large number of carrier groups. Remember that military power and military force are the instrument by which a state continues 'politics by other means' as Clausewitz said. Contrary to what Denzel Washington's character says in Crimson Tide, this actually means that war should only be used as a means of achieving a political aim and in conjunction with other methods of politics when they have not proven effective alone. As such, your large navy needs to serve a purpose to justify itself, and it is dificult to see what carrioer battle groups in isolation could achieve.
No service can win a war by itself, despite arguments to the contrary from each of the service arms. Douhet and Mitchell argued that war could be won from the air, the Gulf War was hailed as the realisation of that goal, but you need troops to win and hold that ground. Soimilarly, arguments have been put forward that war can be won and nations kept safe by a navy alone. Certainly Britain found security in a large navy and comparatively small army, but it only did this through skillful use of diplomacy, both in preventing war and in leading others on continental Europe in fighting the ground war before it got to Britain.
The value of a carrier battle group is in projecting air power against targets on land, air and sea. However, such operatrions are fairly limited in terms of range and scope because all they can do is destroy things, deny movement of arms and supplies and protect the sea lanes, enabling the use of the sea to move civil and military traffic, and you are slightly more limited in your options unless you have secure bases to resupply at.
As such, if the purpose of your military is solely to protect your presumably maritime state and perhaps assist multinational forces with your naval forces then a well rounded carrier force, with sufficient frigates, destroyers, missile platforms, and perhaps marine forces and with capable ASW and anti-air may achieve this, but if you intend to fight wars on the ground then you will need to reconsider the disposition of your forces and invest in a more rounded military.