Aircraft carriers are gigantic warships that can literally turn the course of a conflict on their own as they haul a huge armada of fighter jets, helicopters and other war machines. They are ultra-expensive vessels which explains why only a few navies throughout the world have them in their arsenal. They are also astonishing engineering achievements which are often referred to as “floating cities” and today we will turn your attention towards a number of interesting facts about them.
At this momenta there is a total of 37 active aircraft carriers that roam the world ocean. They are spread across twelve different navies and approximately 60% of them are owned by the United States Navy.
Fighter jets which are launched from the decks of aircraft carriers then to go from 0 to 300 kilometres per hour in less than two seconds. This means that these warships carry some of the fastest warplanes that have even been created.
Aircraft carriers are nicknamed “floating cities” as beneath their top deck they contain their own television and radio stations, libraries, barber shops, post office, hospital, gyms and other service establishments and entertainment venues.
From the air these immense warship appear to be comprised of a long and wide launching deck, and one standalone structure which contains the command rooms and decks of the ships. These single edifices are known as the “island”.
In 1960 the French navy launched the Foch which was a Clemenceau-class aircraft carrier. The vessel had a maximum capacity of 40 aircraft and was named after the renowned French general and marshal, Ferdinand Jean Marie Foch which is quite ironic as he is famous for saying “airplanes are interesting toys but hold no military value”. The warship was decommissioned in 2000 and was sold to the Brazilian Navy who renamed it NAe São Paulo.
China’s first aircraft carrier has a unique story. It was originally a Soviet warship called Riga which became the property of the Ukraine after the fall of the Soviet Union. Soon after the ship was renamed to Varyag and it 1998 it was purchased by a wealthy Chinese businessman who planned to convert it into a floating hotel and casino. Soon after the vessels was acquired by the Chinese Navy who modernised the carrier and named it Liaoning. The warship is still in active service.
In 1960 a Dutch aircraft demanded permission to dock in Australia. While the permission was granted to the vessel the local seamen refused to tow and navigate the warship through the harbour. This forced the ship’s captain to use the thrust from the onboard aircraft engines to slowly but safely navigate and dock at the local port.
During World War II, Japan was credited to have the largest and most advanced navy in the world and its flagship was supposed to be the Shinano (a converted Yamato-battleship as Japan had lost its four main aircraft carriers during the Battle of Midway) the biggest aircraft carrier of its time. Unfortunately for the Japanese, the colossal vessel was sunk by the USS Archerfish submarine on its maiden voyage. To date it is the largest warship to have been destroyed by a submarine.
The waste management process on an aircraft carrier is extremely complex due to the vessels gigantic size and immense operating personal. Modern day warship tend to deal with the produced sanitary garbage by vaporising it via plasma which is highly expensive opposed to using budget friendly rubbish removals in London. The other types of junk are either disposed of once the ship is docked or recycled and reused.
The largest aircraft carriers to be produced are known as “supercarriers” and have a maximum capacity of 90 aircrafts. All of them (currently there are exactly 10 active supercarriers) are operated by the United States Navy and their combined deck space is greater than the total deck area of the remaining aircraft carriers on Earth.
All supercarriers are powered by nuclear engines which means that they can run for a total of two decades without refueling. Aside of the Unites States Navy, the French Navy is the only other in the world to have a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle. The French originally planned to name the vessel Richelieu but changed their intention and named it after the noted statesman and general Charles de Gaulle.
During the 1970s, the United States Air Force had the idea to create a flying aircraft carrier. The design plans were drafted but the construction of the vessel was never green lighted as it would have been too costly and more importantly was deemed to be impractical from a military point of view.
Recent number show that present day aircraft carriers have a daily maintenance cost that is valued at approximately £5.000.000. This is why only a few countries in the world can afford to build and maintain these gigantic warships.
During World War II, Japan had a total of three underwater aircraft carriers. They were fundamentally I-400-class submarines which were designed to carry and launch several planes upon resurfacing. Records show that only six countries (Germany, Japan, France, United Kingdom, Italy and United States of America) in history have used such war machines.
The British came up with Project Habakkuk during World War II. The goal of the project was to construct an aircraft carrier
from pykrete (a mixture of ice and wood pulp) as conventional buildings materials were sparse at the time. As you can guess the project was never
approved for execution.
During the late 1920s, the USS Lexington CV-2 aircraft carrier powered the port city of Tacoma in Washington for an entire month via its engine. This drastic measure arouse during the winter due an unexpected power shortage which lasted for 30 days.