Sail to Steam
Wood to Ironclads
Dreadnaughts to Carriers
Carriers to ?????
Consider the magic of Carbon. Building a ship or aircraft out of carbon results in more structural strength than the metals of the past. Building an aircraft or ship out of carbon gives it a natural "sink" that absorbs electromagnetic radiation; making the aircraft or ship more "stealthy" than before. Shaping a carbon constructed ship or aircraft can cause it to reflect radar away from the emitter; again, more stealthy than before. This is, after all, much of the premise behind the B-2 Bomber, or Sea Shadow ship.
Now, enlarge the vision. Hearken back to the giant dirigibles of the 1930's...constructed then out of aluminum and canvas. Substitute Carbon for those materials. As carbon is almost half the weight of aluminum, and several times stronger than steel of the same weight, it would be possible to re-create those giant airships of the past, in exact dimensions as before, but using the new carbon materials; end up with craft that weighed almost half; thereby increasing their payload by that much; and, making them stronger as well.
Consider a new type of Navy; one that can take full advantage of the "Aerial Ocean".; one comprised of flying ships. From small craft carrying a dozen crew members, or giant flying aircraft carriers carrying new UCAV aircraft.
Ships that can fly overland; without worrying about "draft" or shorelines, or ice. Ships that simply float in the air; that can hover, or land and take off straight up and down like a helicopter.
Ships that can land in the water, or land on any unprepareed empty field.
Ships without range limits, or re-fueling needs. As airships are by their nature, very large, they can carry large arrays of solar cells. Coupling these with other forms of power generation such as fuel cells or similar technologies; it is possible to create ships that fly without need of any fuel
Airships can carry immense payloads; these can be configured in almost any form of defensive or offensive manner wanted.
An "Aerial Ocean" Navy, more versatile than the past.......no longer limited to the water.
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