Aircraft carriers have been one of the biggest assets to the warfare merchandise of all nations. Ever since their inception, these ships have made a huge difference for the defense system of several countries. Here is a list of best aircraft carriers to have been around.
1. Nimitz Class, USA
Nimitz class aircraft carriers can easily be called the best aircraft carriers. They are certainly the best of the breed and flaunt all the features required by such battleships.
At dimensions of 1088X134X37 feet, each ship has a total displacement of 91,300 tons and is the largest aircraft carrier of the world. They can reach a speed of over 35 knots with two Westinghouse reactors driving geared turbines. They were constructed in 1968 and launched in 1972. Soon they were re-launched as multirole carriers with nuclear propulsion system.
2. Enterprise class, USA
Nuclear powered attack carriers, this class’s ships are huge structures with 1040X133X37 feet size and a displacement of 89,084 tons. With its eight A2W reactors, it can reach a speed of 30 knots or more.
Ships of this class are the longest warships of the world. In 1980s, they underwent major modernization and refueling and complex overhaul to emerge with Sea Sparrow launchers.
3. Charles De Gaulle, France
A nuclear power battleship, this is one of the most important flight carriers of France that has been in service since 2001. It has a total displacement of 36,000 tons with a 780X103X27.8 feet structure.
The aircraft carrier can attain maximum speed of 27 knots. Its total aircraft capacity is 35-40. It has been provided with two K17 reactors for purpose of propulsion. Its design has been made keeping in mind the need of a battleship to show versatility and stealth. It’s called multirole because it is highly combat friendly, with a both assaulting and carrying role.
4. Kuznetsov Class, Russia
Russia’s Kuznetsov is one of the best aircraft carriers out there. With its multi role capacity, this single ship has potential to serve as an aircraft carrier besides being laced with armaments that make it deadly enough.
It has a total displacement of 67,000 tons and a maximum speed of 30 knots. It was powered using steam turbines, eight boilers and four shafts. It is 984X124.5X36 feet and has been laden with sixteen SS-N-19 shipwreck SSM, eighteen 8 cell SA-N-9 Gauntlet SAM VLS and two rocket launchers. It has been in service since 1995.
5. Wasp Class, USA
This class of US aircraft carriers was launched in 1939. Each of the ships of this class was built with dimensions of 688X80X20 feet and a displacement of 14,700 tones.
The speed of these structures was 29 knots, powered by six boilers and steam turbines. The ships had been provided with two elevators, two flight deck and two hangar deck hydraulic catapults. The ships remained in service till 1942.
6. Cavour Class, Italy
The 2444 meter aircraft carrier has been provided with enough capacity to hold command and operate several aircrafts at a given time.
It can hold up to 24 main battle tanks and several lighter aircrafts in a total hangar space of 2800 meter square. Its maximum speed is 16 knots, achieved with help of six diesel generators.
7. Juan Carlos I Class, Spain
This navy aircraft carrier has a total displacement of 27,000 tons, full load. It has dimensions of about 757.3X105X23 feet and can reach a maximum speed of 21 knots. It has been equipped with a 2X11 Mw POD.
It’s one of the biggest assets is its large capacity for about 900 soldiers and up to 46 Leopard 2 tanks, all at one time. The ship can carry up to 30 aircrafts and has been provided with a 202 meter flight deck with suitable landing points for helicopters and aircrafts of varying size and type. This makes this particular aircraft carrier highly versatile and a valuable asset for the Spanish army.
8. Invincible class, UK
This class of aircraft carriers consists of three ships, namely- HMS Invincible, HMS Illustrious, and HMS Ark Royal. All the ships of this class are mammoth structures with 632.7X90X21.3 feet dimensions.
They have a total displacement of 20,600 tons full load. These battleships can reach a speed of 28 knots, with help of 4 Olympus TM3B gas turbine engines. The total crew capacity is of 726 ship company personnel OL or ASW carriers. Of these, only HMS Illustrious is active.
9. INS Virat, India
This aircraft carrier belongs to the Centaur Class and is a prized possession of the Indian army. The INS Viraat has dimensions of 650X90X29 feet and a displacement of 28,700 tons full load.
Its maximum speed is 28 knots. It possesses steam turbines, along with four boilers and two shafts. The armament is 2 Sea Cat SAM and five dual 40 mm. It has a capacity of 21 VSTOL aircrafts. This makes it one of the most important flight carriers of Indian navy. The design of Viraat has been fitted with an angled deck with an axially oriented take off path.
10. Principe De Asturias, Spain
A rather mean machine, this aircraft carrier possessed by the Spanish is one to look out for. It is a 642X79.5X31 feet massive structure that has a total displacement of 16,700 tons, full load.
This navy aircraft carrier can reach a speed of 26 knots with help of 2 LM 2500 gas turbines. It can carry a crew of 763 and has been provided with four 20 mm CIWS as a part of the principle armament of the carrier. This aircraft carrier has been designed as a small VSTOL ship with an integral ski jump at the bow. The take off path of the flight has been angled to the starboard, even though just slightly. This carrier has a capacity of 29 fixed wind and rotary wing aircraft, making it one of the most important Spanish battleships.