Ariel Center for
Policy Research



NATIV  Volume Sixteen   Number 6 (95)  ■  November  2003 ■ Kislev 5764 ■ Ariel Center for Policy Research





Aircraft Carriers: The Most Effective Diplomacy

Ran Ichay

The Mediterranean Sea always was a central field of the Israeli-Arab battle. As a geographically-diplomatically isolated country, Israel does not have any means but the sea for maintaining vital contacts with its allies. It was through the sea, that the Hebrew community in pre-independent Israel was able to bring two main and extremely needed resources: people and arms.

This urgent need to use the sea as a central line for supplies to Israel in turbulent times, came up again 25 years later, during the Yom Kippur war, when members of the IDF, severely at risk, received arms and equipment from the US.

The above mentioned must be considered along side the well-known fact that Arab armies prepare themselves for future war by studying deeply Israel’s advantages and examining methods to overcome them – and thus, leave the Israeli side surprised and unprepared.

In addition, the non-conventional threat from Iran, far away from Israeli borders and on the edge of Israeli fighter aircraft’s range leads to a conclusion, that Israel must increase its ability to act also in places outside the normal range of its ships and fighters.

The most simple solution might be that Israel will have one or even two small aircraft carriers, less then 20,000 tons each – in order to sail its strike power to areas that are outside its normal range. It is not always possible to bring the enemy to the right corner, where your full advantage is clear. In this case, you have to do the opposite: to bring the right corner to the enemy. The aircraft carriers will also be able to react, in the first few hours of the war, when Israel’s land air bases and reserve forces will be heavily attacked by the enemy – missiles and fighter-bombers from the ships will be the initial reaction of the IDF.

This reform in the Israeli seaborne capacity – will turn the sea forces from a small force into a real navy.


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