Will we actually see battleships again in the future?

There are two reasons for the disappearance of battleships: on the one hand, aircraft carriers have proved more valuable than battleships, especially during World War II.It therefore seems more sensible to invest a limited naval budget in aircraft carriers than in battleships.

Another reason for the disappearance of battleships is nuclear weapons.With a nuclear weapon you can destroy a large battleship, no longer, however heavily armored… but not at the same time two smaller ships sailing at a sufficient distance from each other. It therefore seems more sensible to invest a limited naval budget in a larger number of smaller ships than in a few battleships.

However, there are also reasons for the return of battleships, and the reasons for speaking against battleships are no longer as important as they were a few decades ago.

The likelihood of nuclear war today seems very low.In a war fought only with conventional weapons, heavily armored large combat ships can be more viable than smaller and weaker armored ships. A battleship can be more valuable here than, say, two smaller, less armored ships.

The biggest advantage of aircraft carriers over battleships was that their aircraft have a much longer range than the cannons of a battleship.Today, however, it is different: thanks to modern cruise missiles and missiles, battleships could also attack targets hundreds or thousands of kilometers away today.

Battleships could be heavier armored, more viable, and perhaps faster than aircraft carriers.

Compared to smaller ships, it’s not just the potentially higher survivability that’s an advantage.Battleships could also carry heavier weapons, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles or heavy cruise missiles. Even the heavy guns that a battleship can carry could still be beneficial today. Within their range, projectiles are usually faster than missiles and may be harder to intercept. Per shot they are cheaper than missiles and you can transport more ammunition – especially the latter can be beneficial, for example, in the prolonged shelling of coastal areas in the course of landing operations. Modern projectiles can be guided similarly rockets and equipped with a rocket engine for higher speeds and ranges. Electromagnetic cannons, such as railguns, could also be of interest for use on possible future battleships. These benefit from the fact that on a large ship there is usually more energy available and more space is available for capacitors, for example.

However, no new battleships are currently seriously planned.

Russia still operates some large Admiral Kirov-class nuclear cruisers.These were built in the 1980s, but are similar in size to classic battleships but less well armored. Its main armament consists of heavy missiles and cruise missiles. Direct, possibly heavy armored, successors of these ships are not currently planned.

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