The U.S. Navy is beginning the planning process for its next-generation carrier air wing. New fighters, drones, radar planes and resupply aircraft are in testing or concept development. The result, sometime after 2030, could be an even more powerful naval air force.
For decades the Navy’s super-carriers have represented one of America’s most powerful tools for diplomacy and combat. In a new shipbuilding plan published in March, the Pentagon committed to maintaining 10-12 nuclear-powered carriers through 2042. A typical carrier air wing includes more than 40 fighters, four or five each radar planes and jamming planes plus helicopters and a detachments of cargo haulers — 60-70 aircraft in all.