Interesting discussion about that exciting new weapon, the US navy railgun. A lot of feedback in the comments, mostly skeptical, about new 'wunderwaffe'.
I think it boils down to this: against a third-world opponent, nothing works like a carrier group for overwhelming global force projection; conversely, if you're fighting a first-world state with up-to-date weaponry, your carrier group is toast.
First-world state-on-state warfighting doctrine doesn't seem to have kept up with drone & missile technologies. Drones and missiles are orders of magnitude cheaper than the platforms (aircraft, tanks, ships) they target.
Offensive modes involving pre-positioning and saturation-attacks seem impossible to reliably defend against. And if all else fails, comment 13 observes:
"when articles talk about a naval war between China and USA in 2050 using some sexy new weapon, they never seem to cover that old weapon - nuclear ICBMs."Five missiles in an area-spread with megaton warheads - no carrier group is going to look too clever after that.
My favourite fictional account: "Firelance" by David Mace (although the Vindicator is a cruise missile platform, not a carrier).