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attacks on US carriers

Discussion in 'US Navy Forum' started by fitz4609, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. fitz4609

    fitz4609 Gold Member

    Nov 24, 2005
    North of the Valley
    I have another history type question.
    Aside from the political ramifications, was there some reason that US aircraft carriers were never attacked from North Vietnam by Mig-17s or Mig 19s?
    Would it not have been possible that during the return of one our strike groups a mig could not have made its way past our CAPs to attack?
    What about a low level below radar approach?
  2. lcarreau

    lcarreau Reload Artist

    Sep 22, 2003
    Arlington, TX
    Carrier groups are very heavily defended with the carrier being in the very center of the group. You may recall a few years back where we accidently shot down a jetliner because a destroyer mistook it for an attacking aircraft. I believe carriers are just about the most heavily defended of any of our miltary assets.


  3. Navy87Guy

    Navy87Guy Salty Dog

    Dec 4, 2004
    Stafford VA
    As far as carriers in Vietnam, most of the enemy aircraft weren't capable of the kind of overwater flight it would have required. They typically operate under Ground Control Intercept (GCI), which means that a radar operator on the beach tells the pilot where to go and what to do. That doesn't work so well over water.

    We also have "delousing" procedures that we use to identify friendly aircraft returning from the beach. It would be hard to blend in with a returning strike package and not be detected.

    Even if they did make it out, there are always picket ships stationed to provide air defense coverage for the carriers, along with Combat Air Patrol (CAP) stations manned by fighters specifically to intercept incoming bad guys.

    So short answer...not likely that a third-world opponent could mount a successful attack against a carrier at sea. Then or now.

    For lcarreau --

    The incident you were referring to was the USS VINCENNES shooting of the Iranian Air Bus in 1988. VINCENNES was an AEGIS cruiser, not a destroyer. Lots of things went wrong that day and tensions in the Gulf were high due to to the ongoing Tanker Wars and attacks by Iranian patrol boats on tankers and merchants in the region. There is no doubt that mistakes were made by the crew of VINCENNES, but given the info they had available at the time, they made the decision based on the safety of the ship and crew.

  4. spober


    Feb 22, 2005
    wendel n.c.
    bet if they had a french exocet missle(like the argintine air force used to destroy the english HMS Shetfield was it?)they could have.but it was a decade later and more relivant the NVA werent likly to get French missles or even French fries for that matter.