According to Chinese admiral and pundit, Beijing might resolve China’s territorial disputes by sinking two US Navy aircraft carriers and taking out thousands of American sailors in the process. Rear Adm. Lou Yuan’s is not making an empty threat though; the Chinese military has already deployed an array of weapons that it procured for the specific reason to target American flattops.
However, a US Navy test that was conducted back in 2005 has already proven that even If you can hit the US Navy aircraft carriers; they are not that easy to sink. As per media reports, Lou made this provocative comment back on December 20, 2018, at the Military Industry List summit.
Lou, who is an anti-American author, social commentator, and military theorist at the PLA Academy of Military Science, said, ‘What the United States fears the most is taking casualties. Sinking just one carrier could kill 5,000 Americans. Sink two, and you double the toll. We’ll see how frightened America is after losing 10,000 sailors.’
Keeping the chance of a full-scale war breaking out between the two countries, sinking a carrier is not an easy job. In fact, back in 1964 Viet Cong saboteurs were able to inflict damage and briefly sink the previous US Navy escort carrier Card that was moored in Saigon. It was operating as an aircraft ferry for US Military Sealift Command. The last time anyone was able to sink US Navy aircraft carriers permanently was during WWII.
A total of twelve American carriers sank during the war after taking intensive air attacks. The last aircraft carrier to sink was the USS Bismarck Sea that became the target of Japanese kamikazes back in February 1945. During the decades to follow, the flattops have suffered severe accidents including fires and collision. However, none of them have sunk. Why? It is quite difficult to sink a buoyant ship that is thousand-feet-long.
The US Navy knows about the durability of US Navy aircraft carriers from an experiment that it conducted back in 2005. The US Navy actually tried to destroy its decommissioned carrier, The USS America. War Zone reporter Tyler Rogoway said in 2018, ‘The ship was pummeled by explosions both above and below the waterline. After nearly four weeks of these activities, the carrier was scuttled. On May 14, 2005, the vessel’s stern disappeared below the waterline, and the ship began its voyage to the seafloor. America stood up to four weeks of abuse and only succumbed to the sea after demolition teams scuttled the ship on purpose once and for all, it’s clear that America was built to sustain heavy damage in combat and still stay afloat.’
According to naval historian Robert Farley, ‘So there are two questions that remain for anyone who thinks they even have a shot at taking down one of these enormous steel behemoths. Can you do it? And even if you can, is it worth it?’