This Defense News article is discussing a topic I have long thought is an interesting idea.
If I was guessing though, I'd suggest most people first read this article from Defense News and had a cynical thought or two...
London's decision to fit catapults on its planned second aircraft carrier opened up the prospect of French Rafale strike fighters flying off a British flattop, with reciprocal rights for British aircraft off the French carrier, French Defense Minister Hervé Morin said Oct. 26 at the Euronaval trade show.The US Navy talks about building cooperative task forces of ships for meeting low end challenges, but with exports of the Super Hornet and Joint Strike Fighter coming, there is also the possibility that some allies might be interested in integrating higher end strike capacity into our carrier air wings.
Morin asked the French military staff to assess whether the installation of catapults would allow French aircraft, such as the Rafale, to operate off the Royal Navy vessel, and the answer was: "Yes, it's technically feasible," he told journalists.
That opened up potential opportunities of interoperability and mutual interdependence between the British and French fleets, he said. With such cross-deck operations came the possibility of a "permanent presence at sea," he said.
Don't dismiss too quickly, I honestly think there is merit to the concept.
The Navy has integrated US Marine Corps Hornets into carrier air wings, so it isn't like there isn't a mature understanding of how to take a squadron and integrate. It also isn't like the US Navy hasn't identified just about every detail in the process.
We already base an aircraft carrier in Japan, so why not offer Japan the opportunity to operate a few squadrons from our forward deployed aircraft carrier? In the case of Japan we are building capacity and reserve into the forward deployed carrier air wing.
The same approach might also be useful should the US government ever seek to forward base an aircraft carrier in Australia. Australia already flies the Super Hornet, and plans to eventually fly the F-35. All we are doing is suggesting that opportunity exists should Australia choose to fly the F-35C version.
If the US Navy truly believes the Carrier Strike Group is the focal point of naval power, why wouldn't the US Navy examine the possibilities for an integrated, international option when it comes to carrier air wings? Australia cannot afford to build aircraft carriers and Japan cannot legally build aircraft carriers, but there isn't a technical reason why both countries couldn't field and operate a squadron of aircraft capable of flying off a US Navy aircraft carrier.
Obviously there are good reasons not to reduce the number or size of our own squadrons and air wings, but this is about adding resilience to naval aviation and broadening our strongest partnerships beyond traditional approaches while exploring new ways to build capabilities and capacity that shares cost burdens. I recognize the pool of nations this opportunity exists with is limited, but to name a few it might work with Japan, Australia, and the Dutch - all traditional maritime powers and close US allies.