Massive in size, an aircraft carrier serves the military by acting as both a floating airport and floating storage for planes. Without a nearby air base, these ships have a flight deck and enough room to store, equip, maintain, refuel, and deploy aircraft of their own accord.
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Aircraft carriers and the many functions they perform
As a result of their vast carrying capacity and high mobility, both types of aircraft carriers are essential in contemporary warfare.
For example, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is a United States Navy supercarrier capable of transporting and deploying more than 75 aircraft, providing huge surveillance, support, and combat capabilities almost anywhere on the planet.
Modern nuclear-powered ships can produce up to 400,000 gallons of fresh water daily and last for decades without refueling.
Humanitarian organizations may benefit from aircraft carriers during times of peace. Helped in the relief operations of tsunamis in Southeast Asia, Hurricane Katrina assistance, and the Haitian earthquake in 2010 with the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70).
Are there any countries in the world that have aircraft carriers?
It is predicted that by 2021, 46 aircraft and helicopter carriers will be in operation throughout the globe. Nearly all other nations combined have fewer aircraft and helo carriers than the United States, which has 11, followed by Japan with 4, and France with 4.
Eleven additional countries have a carrier, and others are in the works.
- United States – 20 (11 aircraft carriers, 9 helo carriers)
- France – 4 (1 aircraft carrier, 3 helo carriers)
- Japan – 4 helo carriers (two of which are being converted to light aircraft carriers)
- China – 3 (2 aircraft carriers, 1 helo carrier)
- Italy – 2 aircraft carriers (one specialized for submarine hunting)
- United Kingdom – 2 aircraft carriers
- Australia – 2 helo carriers
- Egypt – 2 helo carriers
- South Korea – 2 helo carriers
- India – 1 aircraft carrier
- Russia – 1 aircraft carrier
- Spain – 1 aircraft carrier/helo carrier (can be either)
- Brazil – 1 helo carriers
- Thailand – 1 helo carrier
Helicopter carriers vs. Aircraft carriers
Lists like this show that over half of the aircraft carriers we term aircraft carriers nowadays are helicopter carriers, despite their reputation for launching fixed-wing (or variable-wing) combat jets.
Amphibious assault ships, landing platform helicopter (LPH), landing helicopter assault (LHA), or landing helicopter dock (LHD) are some of the sub-type titles used to distinguish helo ships from their bigger counterparts.
In addition to dozens of fighter planes like the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet or the T-45 Goshawk, traditional aircraft carriers often house many other aircraft types, including helicopters and specialized transport aircraft.
Helicopter carriers, on the other hand, have a much higher percentage of helicopters in their fleets, which are supplemented by short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) or vertical and/or short take-off as well as landing (V/STOL) aircraft like the AV-8B Harrier II or the F-35B Lightning II, which are capable of taking off and landing vertically.
Several smaller carriers can play both roles depending on the size of their present air force. So, for example, while carrying a full 30 helicopters, Spain’s Juan Carlos I is a helo carrier; when carrying 10-12 helicopters and 10-12 planes, it is a light aircraft carrier (Harrier IIs or Lightning IIs).
A complete list of all aircraft carriers and helicopter carriers currently operational in the world:
|Country||Ship Name||Aircraft or Helicopter?||Entered Service|
|United States||Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)||Aircraft carrier||22 July 2017|
|United States||Nimitz (CVN-68)||Aircraft carrier||3 May 1975|
|United States||Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)||Aircraft carrier||18 October 1977|
|United States||Carl Vinson (CVN-70)||Aircraft carrier||13 March 1982|
|United States||Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71)||Aircraft carrier||25 October 1986|
|United States||Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72)||Aircraft carrier||11 November 1989|
|United States||George Washington (CVN-73)||Aircraft carrier||4 July 1992|
|United States||John C. Stennis (CVN-74)||Aircraft carrier||9 December 1995|
|United States||Harry S. Truman (CVN-75)||Aircraft carrier||25 July 1998|
|United States||Ronald Reagan (CVN-76)||Aircraft carrier||12 July 2003|
|United States||George H.W. Bush (CVN-77)||Aircraft carrier||10 January 2009|
|United States||America (LHA-6)||Helicopter carrier||11 October 2014|
|United States||Tripoli (LHA-7)||Helicopter carrier||15 July 2020|
|United States||Wasp (LHD-1)||Helicopter carrier||29 July 1989|
|United States||Essex (LHD-2)||Helicopter carrier||17 October 1992|
|United States||Kearsarge (LHD-3)||Helicopter carrier||16 October 1993|
|United States||Boxer (LHD-4)||Helicopter carrier||11 February 1995|
|United States||Bataan (LHD-5)||Helicopter carrier||20 September 1997|
|United States||Iwo Jima (LHD-7)||Helicopter carrier||30 June 2001|
|United States||Makin Island (LHD-8)||Helicopter carrier||24 October 2009|
|France||Charles de Gaulle (R91)||Aircraft carrier||18 May 2001|
|France||Mistral (L9013)||Helicopter carrier||1 February 2006|
|France||Tonnerre (L9014)||Helicopter carrier||1 December 2006|
|France||Dixmude (L9015)||Helicopter carrier||27 December 2012|
|Japan||Hyūga (DDH-181)||Helicopter carrier||18 March 2009|
|Japan||Ise (DDH-182)||Helicopter carrier||16 March 2011|
|Japan||Izumo (DDH-183)||Helicopter carrier||25 March 2015|
|Japan||Kaga (DDH-184)||Helicopter carrier||22 March 2017|
|China||Liaoning (16)||Aircraft carrier||25 September 2012|
|China||Shandong (17)||Aircraft carrier||17 December 2019|
|China||Hainan (31)||Helicopter carrier||23 April 2021|
|Italy||Cavour (C 550)||Aircraft carrier||27 March 2008|
|Italy||Giuseppe Garibaldi (C 551)||Aircraft carrier||30 September 1985|
|United Kingdom||Queen Elizabeth (R08)||Aircraft carrier||7 December 2017|
|United Kingdom||Prince of Wales (R09)||Aircraft carrier||10 December 2019|
|Australia||Canberra (L02)||Helicopter carrier||28 November 2014|
|Australia||Adelaide (L01)||Helicopter carrier||4 December 2015|
|Egypt||Gamal Abdel Nasser (1010)||Helicopter carrier||2 June 2016|
|Egypt||Anwar El Sadat (1020)||Helicopter carrier||16 September 2016|
|India||Vikramaditya (R33)||Aircraft carrier||16 November 2013|
|Russia||Admiral Kuznetsov (063)||Aircraft carrier||21 January 1991|
|Spain||Juan Carlos I (L-61)||Helicopter carrier||30 September 2010|
|Brazil||Atlântico (A140)||Helicopter carrier||29 June 2018|
|South Korea||Dokdo (LPH-6111)||Helicopter carrier||3 July 2007|
|South Korea||Marado (LPH-6112)||Helicopter carrier||28 June 2021|
|Thailand||Chakri Naruebet (911)||Helicopter carrier||10 August 1997|
|Country||Total Carriers||Aircraft Carriers||Helicopter Carriers||2022 Population|