The Biggest Aircraft Carriers in the World

Aircraft carriers are warships used to deploy and recover aircrafts. It acts as a mobile airbase that can be positioned anywhere in the world. It allows a country to project a wider range for its air power than it would have if its aircrafts could only take off from actual land. During the 1980s, the United Kingdom was able to defeat Argentina in the Falklands War even though the war happened right in Argentina’s backyard. The UK was able to engage its enemy successfully by sending its aircraft carrier to the South American region.

Aircraft carriers are expensive to build and maintain, so much so that only ten countries currently have it in active service. Of these, eight has only one carrier. These countries are the UK, France, Russia, Spain, India, Brazil, China and Thailand. Italy has two carriers, while the United States has 10 in active service. Japan used to have as many as 20 during World War II.

These vessels sure have come a long way from its roots as a wooden ship used to deploy balloons. These days, aircraft carriers are powered by nuclear energy and can carry dozens of jetfighters and attack helicopters.

Here is a list of the top 10 biggest aircraft carriers in the world. All of them are Nimitz-class supercarriers.

 

10. USS Abraham Lincoln – 105,783 tons

 

The USS Abraham Lincoln was commissioned in 1989. This Nimitz-class supercarrier is based in Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia. Two nuclear reactors, four steam turbines and four shafts power it. It can go at a top speed of more than 30 knots. It has unlimited distance and can last up to 25 years. The ship carries two Mk57 Sea Sparrows, two RIM-116 Rolling Airframe missiles and three Phalanx CIWS. It can carry up to 90 aircrafts.

 

9. USS Nimitz – 110,250 tons

 

The USS Nimitz is the lead ship of the Nimitz-class supercarriers. It was commissioned in 1975. Its homeport is at the Naval Station Everett in Washington. It has a top speed of 31.5 knots with unlimited distance and range of up to 25 years. It carries two 21-cell Sea RAM and two Mk29 Sea Sparrow. It can carry up to 90 fixed wing planes and helicopters. It is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2020 when the Ford-class carrier USS John F. Kennedy goes onboard.

 

8. USS Carl Vinson – 113,500 tons

 

The USS Carl Vinson was commissioned in 1981. It is based in Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, California. It has a top speed of more than 30 knots, with unlimited distance and range of up to 25 years. It is manned by a crew of 6,062 personnel. The ship boasts of a couple of Mk57 Sea Sparrows, two RIM-116 Rolling Airframe missiles and three Phalanx CIWS. It can carry up to 90 fixed-wing planes and helicopters.

 

7. USS Ronald Reagan – 113,600 tons

 

The USS Ronald Reagan was commissioned in 2003. Its homeport is at the Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego in California. The vessel has a top speed of more than 30 knots and is armed with two Mk29 Sea Sparrows and two RIM-116 Rolling Airframe missiles. It can carry up to 90 fixed wings and helicopters. It is nicknamed the Gipper, after the popular character that Ronald Reagan played in the movies.

 

6. USS Dwight D. Eisenhower – 113,800 tons

 

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower was commissioned in 1977. It is based in Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia. Maximum speed is at more than 30 knots, with unlimited distance and range of up to 25 years. It has a complement of 3,200 in the ship’s company and 2,480 for its air wing. It is armed with a couple of Sea Sparrows, as well as two RIM-116 Rolling Airframe missiles. It can also carry up to 90 aircrafts.

 

5. USS George H.W. Bush – 114,000 tons

 

The USS George H.W. Bush was commissioned in 2009. It calls Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia as its home. It has a top speed of more than 30 knots, with unlimited distance and range of between 20 to 25 years. It is armed with two Mk29 ESSM launchers, two RIM-116 Rolling Airframe missiles and up to four Phalanx CIWS. It is fortified with 64 millimeters of Kevlar armor over its important spaces. It can also carry up to 90 aircrafts.

 

4. USS John C. Stennis – 115,700 tons

 

The USS John C. Stennis was commissioned in 1995. It is based in Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton in Washington. Maximum speed is at more than 30 knots, with unlimited distance and range of 25 years. Around 6,500 people man the ship. It carries two Mk57 Sea Sparrows, two RIM-116 Rolling Airframe missiles and three Phalanx CIWS. It can carry up to 90 aircrafts.

 

3. USS Harry S. Truman – 116,400 tons

 

The USS Harry S. Truman was commissioned in 1998. It has its home base at the Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia. Maximum speed is at more than 30 knots, with unlimited distance and range of 25 years. It has a complement of 3,200 in the ship’s company and 2,480 for its air wing. It carries two Mk57 Sea Sparrows, two RIM-116 Rolling Airframe missiles and three Phalanx CIWS. It can carry up to 90 aircrafts.

 

2. USS George Washington – 116,700 tons

 

The USS George Washington was commissioned in 1992. Its homeport is at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. Maximum speed is at more than 30 knots, with unlimited distance and range of 25 years. It has a complement of 3,200 in the ship’s company and 2,480 for its air wing. It carries two Mk57 Sea Sparrows, two RIM-116 Rolling Airframe missiles and three Phalanx CIWS. It can carry up to 90 aircrafts.

 

1. USS Theodore Roosevelt – 117,200 tons

The USS Theodore Roosevelt was commissioned in 1986. It is based at the Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia. Maximum speed is at more than 30 knots, with unlimited distance and range of 25 years. It has a complement of 3,200 in the ship’s company and 2,480 for its air wing. It is armed with three NSSMS Sea Sparrows, three Phalanx CIWS and 10 .50-caliber mounted machine guns. It has a double hull design and can carry up to 90 aircrafts.

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The Biggest Aircraft Carriers in the World