An aircraft carrier is considered the most valuable sea-based asset and offers an incomparable military contraception with its ability to project strategic Air Power over long distances. Aircraft carriers are some of the largest and most impressive vessels in the world. These floating fortresses act as platforms for launching aircraft, allowing them to take off right from the sea! Here, we’ll look at 5 of the world’s biggest aircraft carriers (and world’s best aircraft carrier indeed) and provide a brief overview about them. Checkout a comprehensive guide about Aircraft Carriers of India.
An aircraft carrier is a warship that serves as a seagoing airbase, equipped with a full-length flight deck and amenities for carrying, arming, deploying and carrying aircraft. It is the principal ship of a fleet, as it permits a naval force project air power globally without depending on local bases for staging aircraft operations.
Aircraft Carriers have evolved since their inception in the early 20th century from wooden vessels used to deploy bombs to nuclear-powered warships that carry numerous fighters, strike aircraft, helicopters, and other types of aircraft. While heftier aircraft such as fixed-wing gunships have been launched from aircraft carriers, these aircrafts have not yet landed on a carrier.
What is the history of Aircraft Carriers?
During World War I the British navy arose with the first real aircraft carrier with an unimpeded flight deck, the HMS Argus, that was built on a converted merchant-ship hull.
A Japanese carrier, the Hosho, that entered service in December 1922, became the first carrier ever designed in the modern world of 20th century.
There are a few breath-taking aircraft carriers out their like Aircraft cruise, Anti-submarine warfare carrier, Escort carrier, Fleet carrier, Flight deck cruiser, Helicopter carrier etc. As of January 2023, there are 47 active aircraft carriers in the world operated by fourteen navies.
World’s Biggest Aircraft Carriers to exist today
There are a few notable contenders for the title of the world’s biggest aircraft carrier. The United States Navy operates the USS Gerald Ford, which is the highest-displacing warship ever built and measures in at an impressive 1,106 feet long and 252 feet wide. It is the biggest aircraft carrier in world today.
Additionally, China operates their own version of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, the Chinese Type 001A aircraft carrier. This beastly vessel measures 896 feet long and has a deck area of 4 acres. Finally, Russia’s sole Admiral Kuznetsov is estimated to be 1,000 feet long.
Let us have a look at world’s biggest aircraft carriers.
USS Gerald R. Ford (100,000 tonnes)
The USS Gerald R. Ford is literally is the world’s biggest aircraft carrier. It has a displacement of around 100,000 tonnes, making it larger than any aircraft carrier to exist before. It is the biggest aircraft carrier in USA and the biggest aircraft carrier in world.
It has four missile elevators, an advanced arresting gear system and two Rolls-Royce Marine turbine propulsion engines that can propel it up to 30 knots (56 km/h). It is certainly one of the world’s best aircraft carrier.
Nimitz Class (97,000 tonnes)
A general example of the Nimitz Class is the USS Carl Vinson, which is responsible for stationing nuclear-powered aircraft and has seen a number of deployments since 1986. The class also includes the USS George Washington, USS Dwight D Eisenhower, and USS Ronald Reagan.
USS Ronald Reagan Aircraft Carrier (Nimitz Class)
The USS Ronald Reagan Aircraft carrier is the second of the United States Nimitz-class aircraft carriers and the first to be named after former President Ronald Reagan. It was commissioned in 2003 and it has a displacement of around 97,000 tons with a length and beam of 1,092 feet and 252 feet respectively. I
t’s powered by two A4B nuclear reactors providing 564MW of electricity for its four propellers. Its complement of airwing further enhances its capability to project power across the globe. The power that can only be possessed by one of the world’s biggest aircraft carriers.
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Liaoning Aircraft Carrier (66,000 tonnes)
The Liaoning is the first aircraft carrier commissioned into the People’s Liberation Army Navy Surface Force. It is a refurbished Ukrainian ship called the Varyag, which China purchased from Ukraine in 1998 and completed in 2012. The Liaoning has a displacement of 66,000 metric tons, making it one of the largest aircraft carriers in the world. It can carry up to 50 fixed-wing planes, 26 helicopters and an array of weapons including two 30 mm defense systems and two anti-aircraft guns.
Queen Elizabeth Class (65, 000 tonnes)
The Queen Elizabeth category of aircraft carriers is Britain’s largest and most advanced carrier group. These two vessels are the HMS Queen Elizabeth and the HMS Prince of Wales, commissioned in 2017.
They boast a total displacement of 65,000 tonnes, making them one of the world’s largest aircraft carriers. Each carrier can carry up to 40 aircraft, including F-35B Lightning II fighters, Merlin anti-submarine helicopters and EA-18G Growlers Electronic Attack aircraft.
Admiral Kuznetsov (60,000 tonnes)
Admiral Kuznetsov, previously known as CVH-11 and Riga, is the only aircraft carrier of Russia that is in still in active service. This 305 m (1,001 ft) ship has a displacement of around 60,000 tonnes and is powered by eight boilers and four steam turbines to reach a maximum speed of 29 knots (54 km/h).
The vessel received several upgrades that included modernizing its onboard systems as well as replacing its propellers with jet engines.
Charles De Gaulle (42,500 tonnes)
This carrier has a total displacement of 42,500 tons with a 780X103X27.8 feet structure and it is the only nuclear-powered carrier with navies other than the US Navy. The first French nuclear-powered surface ship, Charles De Gaulle, is one of France’s most important aircraft carriers and has been in service since 2001.
The future of aircraft carriers is certainly solid. Future oceans will be more multifaceted and contested than ever, especially with the new threats that are emerging.