USS Enterprise (rear), the first nuclear-powered supercarrier (94,781 tons; 85,984 metric tons), and Charles de Gaulle (front), a medium-sized nuclear-powered carrier (42,500 metric tons), in 2001.
The 100,000-ton (91,000-metric-ton) USS John C. Stennis, a modern-day supercarrier (left), alongside the 22,000-metric-ton light carrier HMS Illustrious (right), in 1998.
Chart comparing a range of aircraft and helicopter carriers, in order of longest (top left) to shortest (bottom right)
The first ship to be described by The New York Times as a supercarrier was HMS Ark Royal in 1938, with a length of 685 feet (209 m) and a displacement of 22,000 tons, designed to carry 72 aircraft. In 1943 the superlative was transferred to the 45,000-ton Midway-class carriers as a step-up from the 27,000-ton Essex class. The Japanese aircraft carrier Shinano, launched in 1944, was the first aircraft carrier with a standard displacement of over 65,000 metric tons.
The post-war standard for supercarriers was set by the proposed USS United States and USS Forrestal.Forrestal displaced 60,000 tons standard and 78,000 tons in deep load and is considered the first operational supercarrier in the present-day sense, as used by the US press. The similar-sized United States would have been in service earlier, had it been completed; its cancellation triggered the "Revolt of the Admirals".
The Soviet Union's 85,000-ton nuclear carrier Ulyanovsk, closely comparable in size to earlier U.S. supercarriers, was 40% complete when it and a follow-on vessel were canceled in 1991 during post-Cold War funding cuts.
I have talked with the CNO (Chief of Naval Operations) in America. He is very keen for us to get these because he sees us slotting in with his carrier groups. He really wants us to have these, but he wants us to have the same sort of clout as one of their carriers.
Future plans for supercarriers in the United States involve the construction of the U.S. Navy's next generation of carriers, the Gerald R. Ford class, which has a 100,000-ton displacement.
The mobile offshore base (MOB) is an extension of the supercarrier concept, a modular floating military base as large as 10 aircraft carriers. If realized, it could be moved anywhere throughout the world's oceans, obviating the need to seek permission from allied nations for use of land bases. The concept was studied in the 1990s by the U.S. government but was abandoned in 2001 as cost prohibitive.
^David Miller and Lindsay Peacock, Carriers: The Men and the Machines (London and New York: Salamander, 1991), p. 7: "There are four main types of carrier in service today. Largest of these are the super-carriers displacing over 70,000 tons; the U.S. Navy currently has fourteen, the Soviet Navy one."
^"The Ark Royal Launched. Most Up-To-Date Carrier. Aircraft In The Fleet". The Times. 14 April 1937. p. 11.
^Rossiter, Mike (2007) . Ark Royal: the life, death and rediscovery of the legendary Second World War aircraft carrier (2nd ed.). London: Corgi Books. pp. 48–51. ISBN 978-0-552-15369-0. OCLC81453068.
^Norris, John G. (23 October 1943). "World's Largest Warships: Three 45,000-Ton Carriers For Bombers Ordered by Navy". The Washington Post. p. 1.
^"Va. Firm Gets Giant Carrier Building Job. 65,000-Ton Warship Will Be Largest in Postwar Program". The Washington Post. 8 August 1948. p. 3.
^Donald, David; March, Daniel J (2001). Carrier Aviation Air Power Directory. Norwalk, CT: AIRtime Publishing. p. 77. ISBN 1-880588-43-9.
^MacDonald, Scot (1964-02-01). "14"(PDF). Evolution of Aircraft Carriers(PDF). Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. p. 69. The versatility of the current US carrier fleet is largely due to the operation of what the press has labeled 'super-carriers,' heavy duty aircraft carriers of the size, power, and potency of the Forrestals and the nuclear-powered Enterprise.
This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.