Which is the best
aircraft carrier in the world? Which is the greatest modern aircraft
carrier and why? Our Top 10 analysis is based on the combined score
of size, displacement, airwing, offensive and defensive weapons and
This list also includes
aircraft carriers, that are currently under construction, but will
enter service within the next couple of years.
top 10 deadliest aircraft carriers in the world are these:
Displacement: 100 000
The Ford class is a successor to the
These are the largest and most powerful warships ever built.
First aircraft carrier of the class
is expected to be commissioned with the US Navy in
is expected that a total of 9-10 new Ford class aircraft carriers will be built. These will replace the Nimitz
Improved Nimitz class warships. The
Ford class aircraft carriers will be the mainstay of the US Navy's
power projection throughout the 21st century.
of the Ford class is similar to that of the Nimitz class. The new
aircraft carriers have a smaller, redesigned and more stealthy
island. The new aircraft carriers have the same displacement as
the previous Nimitz class, but are fitted with more
automated and efficient systems.
these vessels will carry an airwing that will include 85 fixed-wing
aircraft, VSTOL aircraft, helicopters, or unmanned aerial vehicles.
These will include
F/A-18E/F Super Hornet multi-role fighters, EA-18G Growler
electronic warfare aircraft,
Advanced Hawkeye early warning aircraft,
and MH-60S naval
helicopters. It is larger and more powerful force than complete air
force of many nations. By operating these aircraft carriers United
States will remain unchallenged sea force on earth throughout the
weapons of the Ford class include two launchers with 16 Evolved
Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) each. These missiles are used against
incoming high-speed, maneuveing anti-ship missiles. It also
has two launchers with 21 Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) that are
also used against anti-ship missiles at close range. Also there are four 20 mm
Phalanx close-in weapon systems.
Improved Nimitz class (USA)
A total of
10 of these supercarriers were built, including 3
Nimitz class ships
and 7 Improved Nimitz class ships. These have been the largest
warships built and in service.
nuclear-powered aircraft carriers can carry about 80 fixed-wing
aircraft and helicopters. These ships operate
F/A-18E/F Super Hornets multi-role fighters,
F/A-18C Hornets ground attack aircraft, EA-6B Prowlers
electronic warfare aircraft,
Hawkeye early warning aircraft, C-2 Greyhound transport aircraft
and various helicopters for utility, transport and anti-submarine
supercarriers typically operate over 60 aircraft and helicopters.
However surge capacity is 130 F/A-18 Hornets.
These supercarriers have automated self-defence systems against
anti-ship cruise missiles
by integrating and co-coordinating the ship's weapon and electronic
In the forthcomming
decades all of these vessels are due to be replaced by the new
Ford class aircraft carriers.
Kuznetsov was commissioned with the Russian Navy in 1991. It is
smaller than American supercarriers, but carries powerful offensive
The lack of
catapults precludes launching aircraft with heavy strike loads, and
the air superiority orientation of the air wing is apparent. This
warship carries about 40 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, including
carrier-based air superiority fighters and various versions of
Ka-27 helicopter. There is also a twin-seat Su-25UTG aircraft used for pilot
Kuznetsov is a heavy aviation cruiser rather than just an aircraft
carrier. It carries a number of offensive weapons typically
associated with guided missile cruisers. The carrier
itself is capable of engaging surface, subsurface and airborne
This ship is
conventionally propelled with oil-fired boilers rather than nuclear
Service of the
Admiral Kuznetsov in the Russian Navy is plagued with
various accidents and plane crashes. There are problems with the
ship's propulsion system.
Russia definitely struggles maintaining its only aircraft carrier
and keeping it operational. There are no immediate plans in Russia to construct successor for this ship.
this Russian aircraft carrier is being repaired, refurbished and
upgraded in order to extend its service life. It is expected to
return to service in 2021.
hull of the second ship of the class was acquired by the Chinese
navy. It was refitted with modern outfit and commissioned in
service with the Chinese navy in 2012 as the
was a second ship of the
It was laid down in 1985 in Ukraine and launched in 1988. However
after collapse of the Soviet Union funding for the ship construction
stopped. Eventually unfinished hull was sold to China where it was
restored and refitted. This aircraft carrier was commissioned with
the China's navy in 2012 as the Liaoning. It was one of the most
ambitions Chinese naval programmes.
another aircraft carrier of this class was launched in China. It was
built to improved
project. It was commissioned in 2019 as the Shandong. It is the
first aircraft carrier ever manufactured in China.
can carry up to 44 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. It operates
a mix of Chinese
air superiority fighters,
naval helicopters and
Ka-31 airborne early warning helicopters.
carrier is fitted only with short-range defensive weapons. It represent a significant shift in the balance of
naval power in the area.
Queen Elizabeth class (United Kingdom)
Two Queen Elizabeth class
aircraft carriers were ordered by the Royal Navy.
The first of the class, HMS Queen Elizabeth, was laid down in
2009. It became operational in 2017.
The sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales was laid
down in 2011 and launched in 2017. It is planned
to be commissioned with the Royal Navy in 2020. These new aircraft
carriers are the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy.
Elizabeth class carriers are be much more capable comparing with the
Invincible class light aircraft carriers. These can carry over
40 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.
Elizabeth class carriers have broadly similar dimensions
and displacement to the Russian
Admiral Kuznetsov and Chinese
The Russian and Chinese carriers operate air superiority
fighters, while the Queen Elizabeth class ships will carry lighter
stealthy multi-role fighters with STOVL capability.
These fighters will perform air defense, ground attack and
reconnaissance missions. Also there is a mix of
AW159 (previously knonwn as Lynx Wildcat) helicopters for utility and anti-submarine warfare
weapons are limited to Phalanx close-in weapon systems to counter
airborne threats and 30 mm naval guns to counter seaborne threats.
Charles de Gaulle (France)
It is a
relatively modern nuclear-powered warship. It was commissioned with
the French Navy in 2001. Currently it is the flagship of the French
Navy. It is the only nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, built outside
The Charled de Gaulle can carry over 40 fixed-wing aircraft and
helicopters. It can operate over 30 navalized
Rafale multi-role fighters. Also there are
Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft as well as SA 365F
Dauphin or AS 322 Cougar helicopters.
of the class was planned but never ordered due to lack of funding.
Indian Navy Vikramaditya light aircraft carrier is a modified
and refitted former
aviation cruiser. For the Russia Navy it was too expensive to
operate these aviation cruisers on a post-Cold War budget.
Eventually one of the Ships was sold to India.
In 2004 an agreement was signed with Russia for the
sale of this ship to India. It was commissioned to service with the
Indian Navy in 2014. It will replace the ageing
Viraat aircraft carrier.
The INS Vikramaditya can operate about 30 fixed-wing aircraft and
helicopters including MiG-29KU and MiG-29KUB carrier-based
Harrier STOVL ground attack aircraft,
utility helicopters helicopters and
Ka-31 airborne early warning helicopters. Maximum capacity is 30
aircraft and 6 helicopters.
The INS Vikramaditya lost some offensive heavy weapons of the Admiral Gorshkov,
carried at the bow. Currently it is armed only with short-range air
Sao Paulo (Brazil)
Paulo is a Clemenceau class aircraft carrier. It was originally
commissioned with the French Navy in 1963 as the Foch. The ship was
sold to Brazil in 2000 where it became the new flagship of Brazilian
Paulo can carry a mix of up to 40 aircraft and helicopters. However
this aircraft carrier currently serves mainly for pilots training.
Its offensive capability is limited.
Airwing of this
aircraft carrier is rather weak. Its main interceptor and
attack aircraft is the
A-4KU Skyhawk. These aircraft carry
AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles and free-fall bombs.
These ageing aircraft have only a limited anti-shipping and ground
attack capability and can not match modern air superiority
fighters and ground attack aircraft.
light aircraft carrier was commissioned in 2008. Currently it is a
new flagship of the Italian Navy.
This modern warship was designed to operate V/STOL aircraft, helicopters and serve as a command
Cavour can also transport military personnel and vehicles.
can carry over 20 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. Currently it
V-8B Harrier II Plus ground attack aircraft. In the near future these
will be replaced by the new
Lockheed Martin F-35Bs.
For utility, anti-submarine warfare and airborne surveillance
roles this light aircraft carrier operates
aircraft carrier has amphibious assault capability. It can transport
main battle tanks and amphibious assault vehicles in its aircraft
hangar. Also it accommodates a regiment of 325 marines.
Chakri Naruebet (Thailand)
Narue light aircraft carrier was built in Spain. It was commissioned
with the Royal Thai Navy in 1997. It is the first aircraft carrier
to be operated by a country in Southeast Asia.
It has an airwing of about 30 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. These
include AV-8S Matador ground attack aircraft and
Sea King or
CH-47 Chinook helicopters for anti-submarine wearfare, utility
and transport missions.
However the Chakri Naruebet lacks defensive weapons. The planned primary
anti-aircraft armament including an 8-cell VLS launcher for Sea Sparrow missiles and four Vulcan Phalanx CIWS
mountings have not been installed. This vessel is protected just by
Mistral short-range infra-red homing missiles.
The Chakri Naruebet makes few operational sorties,
and when it does put to sea it is usually to carry members of the
Thai Royal family. The vessel is therefore to be regarded less as a V/STOL
amphibious warfare capable carrier and more as the most expensive
royal yacht afloat.