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Could North Korea really sink a US aircraft carrier?

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The U.S. has developed sophisticated missile defense systems that surround their carriers. (Spc. 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/U.S. Navy via AP)

The Korean Peninsula continues to simmer as the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Un, launched another ballistic missile test over the weekend. In response, the United States has sent forces to the region, including Ohio class missile submarines and the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. In turn, North Korea has promised to sink the carrier. But is North Korea actually capable of sinking the USS Carl Vinson?

The best way for them to do so would be with "carrier killing" ballistic missiles. The Chinese have developed new and faster cruise missiles that can strike and kill American carriers. But even if we assume the North Koreans have the same weapon systems, we know they don't have the same skill in tracking and locating enemy forces.

The "carrier killing" cruise missile is an overrated system; it's a new version of technology that has been around since World War II. As a result, the U.S. has developed sophisticated missile defense systems that surround their carriers.

The USS Carl Vinson has a combat air patrol that tries to identify and destroy missile batteries, followed by Aegis cruisers (when traveling with the carrier), land based missile systems like the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense based in South Korea, and finally the close-in weapon systems. This doesn't even include simple logistics such as the carrier moving out of range of North Korean weapon systems, and the significant chance that the U.S. could "kill the archer" by unleashing cyberattacks that ruin the launch.

Read the rest of the piece at OpsLens.

Morgan Deane is an OpsLens Contributor and a former U.S. Marine Corps infantry rifleman.

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