Monday, 21 February 2011

Aircraft carriers

A comment I made yesterday that the Thai Navy had an aircraft carrier, but the Royal Navy did not, seems to have created a bit of a stir ... so I checked my information.

According to Wikipedia (not the most reliable source in the World, but one that everyone seems to rely on) the current situation is as follows:
  • Brazil has one aircraft carrier in service.
  • China has one ex-Russian aircraft carrier that is being rebuilt.
  • France has one aircraft carrier in service and one projected.
  • India has one aircraft carrier in service, one ex-Russian aircraft carrier that is being rebuilt, and two under construction.
  • Italy has two aircraft carriers in service.
  • Russia has one aircraft carrier in service.
  • Spain has one aircraft carrier in service.
  • Thailand has one aircraft carrier in service.
  • UK has one aircraft carrier in service (although she is currently under refit) and two under construction.
  • US has eleven aircraft carriers in service. one in reserve, and three ordered or under construction.
This is not, however, the full picture, because if one includes ships capable of operating large numbers of helicopters and/or Harrier-type V/STOL aircraft, the list grows considerably:
  • Australia has two helicopter carriers/assault ships under construction.
  • France has three helicopter carriers/amphibious assault ships in service and one projected.
  • Japan has one helicopter carrier/amphibious assault ship in service (it is actually termed a helicopter destroyer), two under construction, and one projected.
  • Republic of Korea has one helicopter carrier/amphibious assault ship in service and four projected.
  • Russia has plans to buy at least three helicopter carrier/assault ships from France.
  • Spain has one helicopter carrier/assault ship in service.
  • UK has one helicopter carrier/amphibious assault ship in service.
  • US has nine helicopter carriers/amphibious assault ships in service, one under construction, and twelve projected.
When compared to some of the other navies of the World, the UK's single aircraft carrier (that is twenty nine years old, under refit, and that has no fixed wing aircraft that can operate from it) and single helicopter carrier/assault ship look rather insignificant.

Roll on 2016 when the first of the new aircraft carriers is due to be delivered ... and hopefully it will have some fixed wing aircraft for it to operate!

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