While technological advanced may have brought us incredible aircraft, ships continue to be developed and used in warfare. The navy is able to provide support to units on the ground and in the air and looks set to remain an important part of any modern military. Without further ado, let’s take a look at 10 of the biggest warships on earth.
Brazilian Modified-Clemenceau Class
Bought from the French navy by the Brazilian navy for $12 million in 2000, the Brazilian Modified-Clemenceau Class came from the French Clemenceau aircraft carrier.
It was commissioned in 1963 and has since been renamed as the São Paulo and undergone a great deal of renovation. As a result, the ship is now able to carry up to 39 aircraft. It was announced in 2014 that the São Paulo will continue in active service until 1939.
Chinese Modified-Admiral Kuznetsov Class
The Liaoning is a modified Kuznetsov and was China’s very first aircraft carrier. Acquired from their ally of Russia, China originally stated that the ship would be used for private purposes.
However the vessels 2012 commissioning by the Chinese Navy said otherwise and it was then that it was renamed as the Liaoning. It is installed with defensive weapons and is capable of carrying around 30 aircraft. However it is mostly used for training and lets the navy practice with carrier usage. As a result it is not assigned to any operational fleets in China.
French Charles de Gaulle Class
The French Charles de Gaulle Class was the very first French nuclear powered ship. In fact, it is the only operational nuclear powered ship outside of the US Navy. Its launch was in 2001 and it cost around $4 billion.
In the past it has experienced some problems with regard to construction and maintenance, however once these were fixed it has participated in missions worldwide, including Afghanistan. It can carry 40 aircraft and amazingly it can sail for up to 20 years without refuelling.
Indian Modified-Kiev Class
One of the Indian Navy’s two aircraft carriers, the Indian Modified-Kiev Class was actually a Soviet ship in the 1980s before being decommissioned because of the high cost. It was purchased by the Indian Navy for $2.35 billion following lengthy negotiations.
The Russians agreed that they would make certain renovations to the ship before handing it over. Now known as the INS Vikramaditya, the ship has since been transformed into an aircraft carrier of up to 36 aircraft and was commissioned in 2013. India’s Prime Minister dedicated the ship to the country.
Japanese Izumo Class
The Japanese Izumo Class is truly one of a kind since only one has ever been built. However, plans are in place to build another. The lead ship is called the JS Izumo. The helicopter carrier can carry up to 14 helicopters, not to mention hundreds of soldiers and vehicles.
The $1.2 billion ship is also capable of hunting enemy submarines which has been cites as one of its main missions. It will also respond to disasters with personnel and supplies. The Japanese constitution prohibits the ship from having offensive weaponry but it does have defensive weapons.
Russian Kirov Class
The Russian Kirov Class is the largest surface combatant warship. It’s also the heaviest, weighing almost 25,000 tonnes. In terms of warships, only aircraft carriers are bigger.
Four Russian Kirovs were built during the 1980s though only one is currently operational. Made for offensive operations, they are nuclear powered battle cruisers. While only one is currently operational, the other three are undergoing renovation. Each one is said to have cost around $2 billion. They are equipped with mounted missiles for engaging surface targets as well as an array of air missiles.
Russian Admiral Kuznetsov Class
The Russian Admiral Kuznetsov Class is a heavy aircraft carrier which was built in 1990. It is fitted with both offensive and defensive weaponry and is the Russian Navy’s flagship. This includes anti-ship and anti-submarine missiles and has a ski-jump for the take-off of fixed wing aircraft. Only one of the Admiral Kuznetsov ships remains following the sale of the others to China. It is the Russian Navy’s sole aircraft carrier and it can carry 30 aircraft. The ship is expected to remain in active duty until 2030.
US Wasp Class
Built to assist ground troops on hostile territory, the USA has 8 Wasp Class ships, all of which are currently active. They were built at a cost of approximately $750 million each and can hold thousands of crew and marines along with various vehicles including helicopters.
Its design is based on the Tarawa-class design. The lead ship is the USS Wasp which was commissioned in July 1989. The US Wasp Class is the largest amphibious warship in the world. It has an impressive arsenal of offensive and defensive weapons.
US America Class
The amphibious assault ship known as the USS America was built at a cost of $3.4billion. It was the fourth American warship to be named after its country of the United States of America. They were deliberately built bigger than the Wasp Class so they could store bigger aircraft. Weighing in at around 45,000 tonnes, the USS America is one of the larger warships currently out on the waters. There was some controversy with regard to the ship’s design with some labelling the ship as limited and inflexible.
US Nimitz Class
The US Nimitz Class is quite simply the biggest warship in the world. At over 1000 feet, these huge aircraft carriers cost around $4.5 billion each, which makes them the most expensive warships ever.
These 100,000 tonne carriers are capable of carrying up to 90 aircraft. What’s more, they’re fitted with both anti-aircraft guns and missiles. It is expected that they will serve for around 50 years. Currently, the US is developing the Gerald R. Ford Class at a cost of $12 billion each – these will be even bigger and better.