A strong Navy is a devastating offensive weapon at the disposal of a nation. It can deploy aircraft, tanks, armour and even troops across the oceans to the target area within a matter of days. Gone are the days when old battered wooden ships hurled cannons at each other at close range. The long-range ballistic miles, cruise missiles, lethal submarine warfare, colossal aircraft carriers with unlimited firepower and electronic deception have made the Navies of today the primary offensive weapon in the world. The Air Force need bases to operate from, and Army needs Air Force’s C-130s and C-5s to transport their troops to the combat area. The US Navy, however, can unleash Marines and their own hardware in any part of the world at a single command from the Pentagon and same goes with other strong navies from around the world.
There was a time when the tonnage or weight of the warship was a measure of the vessel’s greatness and offensive capability. In recent years, it is not considered a direct measure of the ship’s capability. But, as you go through our list of biggest warships, you will see that tonnage is still crucial as larger size means more space for planes, military hardware, ammunition, personnel and supplies. Although newer materials are making the ship lighter, they aren’t creating that much of a difference overall.
So, here are 10 of the biggest warships currently in service in Navies around the world:
1. Brazilian operated Clemenceau Class Aircraft Carrier
The BNS Sao Paulo was formerly a French carrier that was bought by the French and afterwards underwent extensive upgradations. It was bought in the year 2000. The ship can carry 39 aircraft in total.
2. Chinese Liaoning Class Aircraft Carrier
The Chinese modified carrier was once an Admiral Kuznetsov class carrier of the Soviet Navy. It can carry 30 aircraft in all and is mainly used for training the Navy and considered just for defense purposes.
3. French Carrier Charles De Gaulle Class
The only nuclear-powered aircraft carrier outside the US is this warship of the French Navy. It can carry 40 aircraft, and its Uranium rods are designed to last more than twenty years before they need replacement. The carrier has been used extensively by NATO for many important assignments throughout the world.
4. Indian Modified- Kiev Class INS Vikramaditya
Like others, this one too belonged to the Soviet Navy. It is part of two carriers operated by the Indian Navy, but the other one is reportedly being decommissioned. It can carry 36 aircraft and cost 2.35 billion $ including repairs and major upgradation.
5. Japanese Izumo Class
Even the Japanese have an entirely functioning carrier at their disposal, but it can only carry anti-submarine and anti-ship weaponry because the Japanese constitution doesn’t allow them to carry attack weapons. It can carry 14 helicopters and hundreds of soldiers as well for immediate deployment. It cost around 1.2 billion dollars, and Japan intends to build another to counter the threat of China’s ever expansive submarine threat.
6. Russian Kirov-Class Cruiser
The only non-carrier in the entire list, this is a speedy nuclear-powered ship from the Russian Navy. Its sole purpose is lightning-fast offensive missions. It cost around 2 billion $ and a total of three were made out of which only one is operational.
7. Russian Admiral Kuznetsov Class Carrier
Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov class carrier can carry around 30 aircraft and is equipped with both strong defensive and offensive equipment. Currently, it is the only aircraft carrier is service with the Russian military as others have been sold to China and India long ago.
8. US Wasp Class Carrier/Amphibian Assault Ships
The US Navy has the biggest arsenal of aircraft carriers. They have more carriers than the rest of the world put together and the bigger ones like Nimitz Class are almost double the size of a normal carrier, so the smaller ones like these are called amphibious assault ships instead of carriers. They cost 750 million dollars and can carry 2000 Marines along with 1000 crew members. It can also carry dozens of planes and helicopters. This class of ship is an aircraft carrier in every way, but the multiple utility has made the Navy change its name.
9. US America Class Amphibious Assault Ships
A bigger version of the US Wasp Class carriers. They can carry bigger aircraft onboard and carry tanks, artillery and more troops to deploy at any time needed. It cost a whopping 3.4 billion dollars each.
10. US Nimitz Class Carriers
The largest kind of warship of all time, the nuclear-powered US Nimitz Class is a ship that is simply a force to be reckoned with I say. It can carry around a hundred aircraft and is among the longest warships ever made being a little over thousand feet long. They can carry thousands of crew members, Marines, pilots and even high command onboard. Their rods can serve for almost fifty years and then they will be decommissioned. They cost 4.5 billion dollars back in the 1980s and 1990s. They will eventually be replaced by Gerald R. Ford Class carriers that will be roughly same in size but will cost an astronomical 12 billion$.