With endless territorial disputes all around the world, the aircraft carrier is a symbol of grandeur and might for fleets all over the world. These modern ‘battleships’ have been one of the most valuable assets in any nations’ fighting equipment. These ships have made a significant influence on the defense systems of various countries since their introduction. These massive aircraft carriers, sometimes known as floating airbases, have a full-length flight deck capable of carrying, arming, deploying, and recovering aircraft. These warships, which serve as the flagship of a naval fleet on the waterfront, may transport a variety of aircraft, including fighters, strike planes, and helicopters. Wondering which country has the most extravagant aircraft carriers? Keep your eye on the list because we wrote down the top 10 aircraft carriers in the world that you might not know to exist.
Here are the top ten most noteworthy aircraft carriers currently in operation around the world.
The Stratolaunch airplane was designed to transport spacecraft to a high altitude where they would be dumped and then self-launch into orbit. According to Stratolaunch Launch Systems, the Stratolaunch can carry a payload of up to 500,000 pounds (250 tons). The massive Stratolaunch boasts the world’s longest wingspan of 117.3 meters (384.8 feet), well exceeding the previous record holder, the Antonov An-225 “Mriya” heavy-lift cargo plane. The Stratolaunch is propelled by six massive Pratt & Whitney PW4000 jet engines, which replaced four engines on the Boeing 747. Paul G. Allen, Bill Gates’ old Microsoft partner, formed the Stratolaunch Corporation, which died a few months before the plane’s inaugural flight, in October 2018. However, soon after the initial flight, stories of Stratolaunch’s demise began to circulate online. The firm was sold due to financial difficulties, and the massive aircraft appeared to be destined for the same fate as the unsuccessful Hughes H-4 Hercules, or “Spruce Goose,” which only flew once in 1947. The Stratolaunch Carrier Aircraft has successfully completed a second test flight, with more likely to follow in the coming months, paving the way for the aircraft to be used as a launch platform for fully operational hypersonic vehicles under the new owners, who plan to use the gigantic aircraft as a launch platform for reusable hypersonic flight research vehicles.
- Nimitz Class, USA
The ten nuclear-powered aircraft carriers of the US Navy’s Nimitz class are the world’s second-largest aircraft carriers. They are unquestionably among the best of the type, with all of the characteristics that such battleships require. They were built in 1968 and debuted in 1972. They were re-launched as multirole carriers with nuclear propulsion systems not long after. The lead ship of the class, USS Nimitz, was launched in May 1975 and the tenth and final ship of the class, USS George H.W. Bush, was commissioned in January 2009. The class is named after World War II US Pacific Fleet commander Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. These 332.8m-long aircraft carriers have a 4.5-acre flight deck capable of handling over 60 aircraft with a full load displacement of 97,000t. Two nuclear reactors power these ships, which can carry 3,000 to 3,200 ship’s company, 1,500 air wing, and 500 other crew members and reach speeds of over 30 knots.
- Gerald R Ford Class, US
The UK Royal Navy’s largest aircraft carriers are the world’s third-largest aircraft carriers. The Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers are the largest warships ever built for the British Navy and the second-largest non-US Navy warships after Japan’s Yamato-class battleships. HMS Queen Elizabeth was the first of the Royal Navy’s two Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers to be commissioned in December 2017, while HMS Prince of Wales was launched in December 2017 and will be commissioned in 2020. Both ships have a displacement of roughly 65,000 tonnes and a length of 280 meters. These ships, which are equipped with cutting-edge technology and automated systems, only require a crew of 679 for a combat mission.
- Queen Elizabeth Class, UK
The UK Royal Navy’s largest aircraft carriers are the world’s fourth-largest aircraft carriers. The Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers are the largest warships ever built for the British Navy and the second-largest non-US Navy warships after Japan’s Yamato-class battleships. HMS Queen Elizabeth was the first of the Royal Navy’s two Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers to be commissioned in December 2017, while HMS Prince of Wales was launched in December 2017 and will be commissioned in 2020. Both ships have a displacement of roughly 65,000 tonnes and a length of 280 meters. These ships, which are equipped with cutting-edge technology and automated systems, only require a crew of 679 for a combat mission.
- Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia
One of the best aircraft carriers currently in service is Russia’s Kuznetsov class carrier. The 305m-long Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, which is now serving as the Russian Navy’s flagship, has a full load displacement of 58,500t. This heavily armed ship, with its multi-role capability, has the potential to serve as an aircraft carrier in addition to being studded with armaments that make it deadly enough. The aircraft carrier’s 14,700m2 flight deck can accommodate Su-33, MiG-29K, and Su-25UTG/UBP STOVL fighters, as well as Ka-27S, Ka-27LD32, and Ka-27PLO helicopters. In addition, Admiral Kuznetsov can accommodate 1,960 ship’s companies, 626 air groups, and 40 flagstaffs from other countries.
- Liaoning, China
The type 001 aircraft carrier Liaoning, the only aircraft carrier in service with China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), is the world’s sixth-largest aircraft carrier. Originally intended for the Soviet Navy as the second Kuznetsov-class aircraft, the vessel was later purchased by China following the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991. In September 2012, the ship was refurbished and commissioned for PLAN. Liaoning, which is now designated as a training ship, provides a platform for the Navy to test, train, and familiarize itself with aircraft carrier operations. Liaoning can carry roughly 50 aircraft, including fixed-wing planes and helicopters, and has a full load displacement of moreover 58,000t.
- INS Vikramaditya, India
The INS Vikramaditya, the Indian Navy’s largest warship in service, is also among the world’s largest aircraft carriers. In 2013, this 283.5-meter-long modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier was commissioned. This battleship was purchased by India in January 2004 after serving in the Soviet Navy and the Russian Navy under the names Baku and Admiral Gorshkov, respectively. INS Vikramaditya can carry a maximum of 36 aircraft, including 26 Mikoyan MiG-29K multi-role fighters and 10 Kamov Ka-31 AEW&C and Kamov Ka-28 ASW helicopters, with a displacement of 45,400t.
- Charles De Gaulle, France
The Charles De Gaulle, France’s first nuclear-powered surface ship, has been in service since 2001 and is one of the country’s most important aviation carriers. The ship, which has a 780X103X27.8 foot construction and a total displacement of 36,000 tons, is the only nuclear-powered carrier in service with navies other than the US Navy. The battleship can carry 40 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, including the Rafale M, E-2C Hawkeye, Super Étendard, EC725 Caracal, AS532 Cougar, and SA365 Dauphin, with a displacement of 42,500 tonnes. The aircraft carrier can reach a top speed of 27 knots and is equipped with two K17 reactors for propulsion. Its design is based on the requirement for a battleship to be versatile and stealthy. The ship, which is known for its versatility, is highly combat-friendly, capable of both assaulting and conducting missions.
- Cavour, Italy
The Italian Navy’s flagship, the Cavour aircraft carrier, has a full load displacement of 30,000t and is equipped with short-range defense systems, cannons, and decoy launchers. Cavour can accommodate fixed-wing aircraft such as the AV-8B Harrier and JSF, as well as EH101, AB212, NH 90, and SH3D helicopters, thanks to its 232.6m x 34.5m flight deck. The aircraft carrier, which has a length of 2444 meters, can also accommodate up to 24 main battle tanks. With the help of six diesel generators, it can reach a top speed of 16 knots.
- Juan Carlos I, Spain
The multi-purpose amphibious assault ship-aircraft carrier Juan Carlos I of the Spanish Navy was the navy’s first warship to use diesel-electric propulsion. Juan Carlos I, which was launched on September 30, 2010, has a displacement of 26,000 tonnes and a 202-meter flight deck with a ski-jump ramp. The Juan Carlos I can accommodate 900 naval troops, as well as equipment and support for 1,200 soldiers. This navy aircraft carrier is 757.3 feet long, 105 feet wide, and 23 feet tall, with a top speed of 21 knots. The ship, named after a past Spanish king, can carry Harrier, F-35 Lightning II, CH-47 Chinook / V-22 Osprey, and McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II / Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II aircraft, among others. As a result, this aircraft carrier is extremely adaptable and a great asset to the Spanish army.
To protect their maritime rights and interests, the majority of world countries are currently manning or developing technologically superior aircraft carriers. There are currently 41 active aircraft carriers in use by thirteen different navies throughout the world of which eleven come from the United States Navy and each one from China, India, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom.