The photo is from Navy.mil but what caught my attention are the aircraft on the flight deck. Or rather the lack of aircraft. If you've ever seen a pic of a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier from the 70's or 80's it appeared as if you barely had room to turn around on one. Now its rather empty. The caption to the photo states that the ships are in the South China Sea so I am assuming that they have there full compliment of aircraft. So my questions are... Is the Navy operating with full air wings? Has the number of aircraft in an air wing been reduced? Are we operating our aircraft carrier to its full ability? If an aircraft carrier can safely operate 90 aircraft but we're only sending 40 out does that make sense?
If you have the answer to the 'limited' number of airplanes on this aircraft carrier then please hit me with the answer. But on a gut level that pic just doesn't look 'right'. Just as an example of what I mean by a lack of aircraft...below is a picture of the USS Enterprise.
CBD left some links that are worth a look. Air Wings have indeed gotten smaller.