That prediction of fragility in combat might have been conjecture until very recently, albeit fairly universally endorsed. But now ... well, now we've seen Ukraine defeat Russia's much vaunted Black Sea Fleet with little more than naval drones, aerial drones and some helpful, accurate intelligence from its friends. Quite literally, that fleet is no longer a combatant: reduced to ignominious retreat to more distant ports. Maybe - just maybe - US Carrier Groups have so much air-defensive firepower that they stand a chance of defending the mighty jewel at the centre of the protective ring. But maybe not even them. And certainly not the RN. Asymmetric warfare at its apogee. Like the advent of the torpedo, before destroyers were invented. Think what anti-capital-ship effort even Iran could mount these days, let alone China.
Did I say a costly folly? The expenditure alone - past and ongoing - on the UK's aircraft carriers is bad enough. But the way that the very possession of the carriers drags UK defence policy into deep and distant waters will probably be more costly still.