For a long time on this forum, some respected authors talked about the decline of the era of aircraft carriers, their complete futility and uselessness at the very high cost of construction and operation. We will not consider all areas of application where it is quite possible to find in some areas a more successful replacement for aircraft carriers. Consider only one thing - air support for ground anti-terrorist operations.
Despite the fact that the fight against terrorists is a private task, it threatens to become the main number one headache for so many countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia for many years, and perhaps for the coming decades.
The Russian aviation group has a total of 35 airplanes: 18 front-line bombers, 12 attack aircraft, 4 fighter, 1 PTR. The project's 1143.5 aircraft group was to consist of 50 units of airplanes and helicopters: 26 MiG-29K or Su-27K, 4 Ka-27РЛД, 18 К-27ПЛ, 2 К-27ПС.
Thus, by changing the composition of the group to predominantly multi-role fighters, it is possible to obtain the equivalent of the shock power of the group in Hamim. At present, Su-33K and MiG-29K aircraft can be based on the Admiral Kuznetsov TAKR.
Compared with Su-24M and Su-34, Su-33K planes have a lower maximum combat load - 6500 kg instead of 8000 kg, and approximately a comparable radius of combat action. Apparently, it does not have the ability to use KAB-500, and air-to-surface missiles with laser, satellite and television guidance, however this is most likely due to the concept of use — the air defense of the ship group and the attack of the enemy ships with Moskit missiles. Additional equipment for strikes against ground targets is quite possible. There is no RTR aircraft in this wing, but at one time it was supposed to create a whole family of ship planes based on the Su-27: Su-27KSh attack aircraft, Su-27KRTS attack and target designation, Su-27KPT jammer, Su-27KT tanker. The MiG-29K has an even lower maximum combat load (4500 kg) and a smaller combat radius of action, but a richer range of weapons.
Unfortunately, at present it is impossible to form a full-fledged air wing for an aircraft carrier, both because of the number of necessary equipment and because there is no necessary number of pilots trained for take-off and landing on the deck for high-intensity day-and-night combat operations.
The use of ground-based aviation and from the deck has its pros and cons. An aircraft carrier, when being protected by escort ships and RLD helicopters, is virtually invulnerable to terrorist attacks. Aviation at a ground airfield can be attacked by mobile sabotage groups with mortars. Dust storms do not affect the aircraft carrier, raised aircraft can use satellite-guided munitions. The effect of storms can be partially compensated by the aircraft carrier's ability to change the area of aircraft lift. The redeployment of aircraft on an aircraft carrier is carried out together with "its" airfield and ammunition, no one closes the air corridor, there is no dependence on the quality of the ground airfield in the country of destination. At the same time, the ground airfield will have advantages in the possibility of a better rest for crews and attendants, a larger number of stationed ammunition and fuel, and ease of maintenance of equipment. Strikes with cruise missiles can be considered generally only as a supplement, considering both their cost (the salutik from 26 missiles is about 1 billion rubles) and the impossibility of objective control immediately from the results of video recording.
Given that Nimitz-class aircraft carriers can fly up to 120-140 sorties per day for two weeks at 40-60 departures intensity, it is possible to conduct an 1-1,5 air operation a month without replenishing fuel and ammunition. For Admiral Kuznetsov, the numbers, of course, will be different.
The bottom line is that the aircraft carrier is such a universal ship that there will always be a task that it will perform better than other means.
At least for now.