Source: FAS, Defense News
An Office of the Secretary of Defense review of the US Navy calls for reducing aircraft carriers by 20% to support a 20% increase in smaller ships. This would cut carriers from 11 to nine to add 65 frigates and unmanned ships. The addition of ships would be mainly (about 50) frigates. This would help boost the number of US Navy ships from 297 to over 355.
The attempt to remove about $30 billion from the US carrier program has brought out supporters of aircraft carriers. The supporters argue that aircraft carriers are not expensive floating vulnerable targets. They say that aircraft carriers are the best way for the US to project force into countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
If the US is not able to increase the number of ships then China’s Navy would be on track to outnumber US ships by two to one in the 2040s.