Quora, the LinkedIn of knowledge markets (to which AskReddit is the… Reddit? or something), has some really cool threads every now and again. Like this one, about just how hard it is to sink an American aircraft carrier at the heart of one of our naval strike groups:
The carrier is protected by guys who fly some of the most sophisticated aircraft on the planet in defense of those carriers. Anything that’s within a VERY long distance of a carrier is known to the battle group. Anything that acts aggressive is going to get shot down or blown up a LONG way from the carrier.
Getting through a carriers fighter cover is far from trivial. A carrier has more fighter aircraft aboard than most nations have total. And in battles between planes and ships (in case you were thinking of killing a carrier with torpedo boats) planes win. Dramatically. See the pacific theater for details.
Oh, and this part:
Carriers have their own defensive systems, based on Gatling guns that fire a hundred rounds a second, and use two radars…One tracks the target, one tracks the outgoing bullets. A computer just moves the gun until those lines meet. Then you die. Those systems are fully automatic, and incredibly devastating. The carriers also have their own local defensive missiles, just in case you weren’t being pounded enough by the carriers air wing, the AEGIS missiles, and the gatling guns.
I’m pretty sure we’re never going to use them, but from an engineering perspective, it’s pretty awesome.