Aircraft carriers are sea-going airbases. They are warships equipped with carrying, deploying, and recovering aircraft.
They are a symbol of strength and prestige among the world’s militaries. These battleships are one of the most powerful weapons and the biggest assets to its nation. Currently, there are 47 such aircraft carriers in the world with the USA owning around a quarter of it. Let us have a look at 10 wonderful facts about these floating airbases.
- The biggest supercarrier can carry up to 90 aircraft– US Navy’s Gerald R Ford Class battleships take the title of the largest aircraft carrier. They are nuclear-powered supercarriers and can carry up to 90 aircraft. Other aircraft carriers can carry an average of 65 aircraft.
- On taking off the aircraft can reach a speed of 0-300kmph in less than 2 seconds– The catapults that help launch the plane into the air can accelerate it from 0 to 300 kmph in less than two seconds. This is extremely risky, and pilots describe this feeling as being punched in the face.
- The C-130 Can Take Off and Land on an Aircraft Carrier– Aircraft carriers aren’t only for small aircraft. The massive four-engine Lockheed C-130 Hercules can take off and land on an aircraft carrier. The c-130s has successfully tested 29 touches and go landing and 21 full stops landing on carriers. Taking into consideration of the size and bulk of the aircraft, it is a huge achievement.
Related: Why Aircraft Carriers are Smaller than Cargo Ships?
- A nuclear power aircraft carrier can operate for 20 years without refueling- USS Ronald Reagan is the 9th Nimitz class aircraft carrier. Being nuclear-powered it can operate without refueling for over 20 years and has a service life of over 50 years. Only France and the USA are the two countries with nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.
- USS Nimitz is the oldest serving aircraft carrier in the world– Commissioned in 1975, this US aircraft carrier holds the record of being the oldest in service. It has served for over 3 decades.
- British had plans to make a carrier primarily made of wood pulp and ice- Project Habakkuk was a plan by the British to build an aircraft carrier out of pykrete (a mixture of ice and wood pulp) during the second world war. This was due to the crisis of raw materials during that time. The idea was lucrative initially, but the process of building a prototype proved to be challenging. There were enormous production resources required and huge technical difficulties were involved. So, such a carrier could never be made.
- An aircraft carrier can desalinate 400000 gallons of seawater every day- Naval ships use reverse osmosis to generate freshwater. For example, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson can make some 400,000 gallons of its freshwater every day. There have been ongoing projects to bring the purified water ashore.
- Brazil once tried to sell an aircraft carrier on eBay– NAeL Minas Gerais was a light aircraft carrier operated by Brazil. In October 2003, Brazil tried to sell it on eBay. But this auction was pulled down due to the prohibition of the sale of military ordinance.
- The USS Lexington (CV-2), an aircraft carrier, helped generate power for Tacoma Washington for a month- In the 1920s Tacoma received most of its electricity from Dams. But due to drought in 1929, it suffered a huge power cut from the hydroelectric sources. This is when an aircraft carrier came to aid. Lexington, the Lady Lex, supplied a quarter of Tacoma’s power for about 30 days in the January of 1930.
- Japan is the first and one of the only two countries to build submersible aircraft carriers- During WWII, the Japanese navy had submersible aircraft carriers. These carriers were able to carry three aircraft underwater to their destinations, resurface, launch their planes, and quickly dive again before they were discovered. They were an innovative initiative, but their operational significance remained rather small.
Aircraft carriers come with an enormous price tag and large support requirements. This explains the fact that only eight countries operate them currently. But with the increase in technology, warships, territorial disputes it is becoming increasingly necessary for countries to have more and an enhanced version of these battleships. Next-generation aircraft carrier programs are already underway in the US, South Korea, China, and France. The future of aircraft carriers lies in making them more cost-effective with upgraded technology.