Top 10 Largest Aircraft Carriers In The World (2022)

As stated earlier, an Aircraft carrier is a Warship that acts as a seagoing airbase with a full-length flight deck and facilities for carrying, arming, deploying, and recovering aircraft is known as an aircraft carrier. It is usually a fleet’s major ship, as it lets a naval force project air power around the world without relying on local bases to stage aviation operations. 

Aircraft carriers play an important role in military growth, boosting the range of combat aircraft and serving as a barometer of a country’s overall military strength. Many aircraft carriers patrol the oceans, prevent pirates, and offer humanitarian relief in addition to their role as warships during times of combat.

Types of Aircraft Carriers

The following are the basic types of Aircraft carriers in existence.

  • Anti-submarine warfare carrier
  • Escort carrier
  • Flight deck cruiser
  • Amphibious assault ship
  • Helicopter carrier
  • Sea control ship
  • Seaplane tender as well as Seaplane carriers
  • Light aircraft carrier
  • Aircraft cruiser
  • Balloon carrier as well as balloon tenders
  • Fleet carrier

In the world of aircraft carriers, size is a factor that determines how many Aircraft can be carried along, and launched, at a time. There are some very large aircraft carriers in existence and it is to these behemoth warships that this article is dedicated.

Top 10 Largest Aircraft Carriers In The World

1. Gerald R. Ford Class Aircraft Carrier – US

Speed: 30 knots

Length: 337 m

Country: United States

Unit Cost: $12.998 billion

By length, the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier is the world’s largest aircraft carrier. It can carry over 75 aircraft and 4,539 people, including the ship’s company, air wing, and other support personnel. Two A1B nuclear reactors power the Gerald R Ford, which is armed with RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles, Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAMs), and the Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS).

While the Nimitz class held the title of the world’s largest ship for many years, the record was broken in 2017 when the Ford class entered service. These huge aircraft carriers are also the most expensive US Navy warships ever built.

The Ford-class of aircraft carriers will eventually replace the Nimitz class in coming years and will include more advanced features like an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System.

2. Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier – US

Speed: 31.5 knots

Length: 332.8 m

Cost per unit: $1.0 billion

Country: United States of America

The Nimitz class of US aircraft carriers, each weighing in at an astonishing 47,000 tons of structural steel, serve as a show of force and a deterrence to any would-be invaders by considerably expanding the reach of the US Air Force.

The name of the lead ship is a tribute to the last fleet Admiral of the U.S Navy, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz who was a World War II commander of the United States Pacific Fleet. It has a full length of 333 meters and a 100,000 long ton full-load displacement capability that can carry 60 aircraft. When one of these ships approaches, you’ll notice it since it stands 20 stories above sea level. It can occupy 3,200 people, as well as 1,500 air wings and 500 other crew, may fit inside.

The Nimitz Class ships have two nuclear reactors and can attain a top speed of 30 knots.

These 10 fearsome aircraft carriers are powered by nuclear energy, with two reactors on each ship. The Nimitz class aircraft carriers are designed to last 50 years and 20 years without requiring refueling. 

For a long time, they have been the largest aircraft carriers in the World but are gradually becoming sidelined by the Gerald R. Ford-class carriers.

3. Admiral Kuznetsov Aircraft Carrier – Russia

Speed: 29 knots

Length: 305m

Unit Cost: $5.5 billion

Country: Russia

The Admiral Kuznetsov is a big aircraft carrier with ski-jumps that enable far more diverse applications than the Kiev class’s predecessors. 

The Admiral Kuznetsov was the only ship of her class that was already fully operational when the Soviet Union fell apart, with its sister ship, the Varyag, being sold to China after a period of idleness. The drydock of the Admiral Kuznetsov sank in 2018, inflicting considerable damage and forcing the Kremlin to decide whether it was more cost-effective to continue repairs or decommission the ship entirely.

The Black Sea shipyard, the sole manufacturer of Aircraft carriers for the Soviet Navy built this warship. This ship, the third-largest aircraft in the world was initially named Riga, before being launched under the name Leonid Brezhnev. While embarking on sea trials, the ship was known as Tbilisi, and eventually, it was named Admiral Flota Soyetskogo Soyuzaa Kuznetsov in honor of the admiral of the Soviet Union Fleet, Nikolay Gerasimovich Kuznetsov.

4. Liaoning Aircraft Carrier – UK

Speed: 32 knots

Length: 304.5 m

Cost per unit: $9 billion

Country: China

The Type 001 aircraft carrier was the first to be commissioned by the People’s Liberation Army Navy Surface Force, which is now classed as a training ship to allow for some leeway experimentation. 

The Liaoning was an excellent introduction to aircraft carrier operations for China, providing the information needed to continue forward with the Type 001A construction. The Liaoning was built for the Soviet Navy and was known as the Riga and then the Varyag.

This is China’s first aircraft carrier commissioned for the Navy surface force of the People’s Liberation Army. Despite its size, it is taken merely as a training ship which will help the Navy get acclimatized with the various operations involved in aircraft carriers. It was launched in 1988 on the 4th of December though it was laid down at first for the Soviet Navy in the year 1985 and classified as a Kuznetsov-class aircraft cruiser. It was renamed in “Varyag” in the year 1990. Construction of the warship was halted after the Soviet Union was dissolved and after various circumstances, on the 25th of September, in the year 2012, it was commissioned as Liaoning into the Navy of the People’s Liberation Army.

5. INS Vikramaditya Aircraft Carrier – India

Speed: 30 knots

Length: 283.5 m

Country: India

The INS Vikramaditya was previously operated by the Soviet Union before joining the Indian Navy in 2013. This massive cruiser has 2,500 compartments, many of which were completely rebuilt after it was acquired from the Russian Navy, as well as 234 new hull sections. The total weight of this magnificent aircraft carrier is 45,400 tons!

This warship became operational with the Indian Navy in the year 2013. It is a modified version of the Kiev-class carrier. The name Vikramaditya was given in honor of a legendary emperor of Ujjain in India, Vikramaditya.

Its name Vikramaditya means “brave as the sun” or “having the vigor of the sun” in Sanskrit.

6. HMS Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier – UK

Speed: 25 knots

Length: 280 m

$10.4 billion in unit cost

Country: United Kingdom

This is the lead ship belonging to the Queen Elizabeth class of carriers. It remains the largest ever built for operation by the Royal Navy and is able to carry up to about 40 aircraft.

Because maritime travel accounts for nearly all of Great Britain’s economic activity, its waterways must remain well-protected. With each gigantic warship providing a four-acre mobile military station on the water, the stunning Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier class serves as a firm symbol of the UK’s military force.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is the flagship of the Queen Elizabeth class of aircraft carriers, can carry up to 72 planes.

It was named by Queen Elizabeth II in the year 2014, on the 4th of July, and the first commanding officer is the former captain of HMS Ark Royal and HMS Illustrious, Commodore Jerry Kyd. This carrier despite being large enough is not fitted with arrestor wires and catapults.

7. Sao Paulo

Speed: 32 knots

Length: 265 m

$30 million per unit

Country: Brazil

The Sao Paulo was commissioned by the French Navy in 1963 and served under the name “Foch” until 2000 when it was transferred to the Brazilian Navy to serve as the country’s sole aircraft carrier. 

Brazil had intended to retrofit this vessel to extend its service life, but due to high expenses, it has been forced to retire. As a result of this decision, the United States is now the sole operator of aircraft carriers in the Western Hemisphere.

8. Charles de Gaulle Aircraft Carrier – France

Speed: 27 knots

Length: 261.5 m

Country: France Unit

Cost: $4.03 billion

The Charles de Gaulle is France’s eleventh aircraft carrier and the country’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. This carrier can handle a fleet of up to 40 combat aircraft and is regarded as a formidable military threat. During its construction, the Charles de Gaulle’s cost much more than expected and was delayed four times.

This is the largest warship in Western Europe and is the lead ship of the French Navy. While being the tenth aircraft carrier the French Navy has operated, it is the first nuclear-powered surface vessel operated by the French Navy. It gets its name from General Charles De Gaulle, a French statesman.

9. Cavour (550) Aircraft – Italy

Speed: 29 knots

Length: 244m

Cost per unit: $2 billion

Country: Italy

The Italian Cavour aircraft carrier, capable of transporting up to 24 battle tanks as well as military planes and hundreds of troops, is the Italian Navy’s flagship and the largest in its fleet. The Cavour’s capacity to transport additional vehicles in addition to planes makes it a very adaptable aircraft carrier that can be used for both military and civilian tasks.

The name given to her is in honor of Camillo Benso, Conte di Cavour, an Italian statesman and politician. Laid down in 2001, July 17th to be precise by Fincantieri, this warship was launched in the year 2004, from the Riva Trigoso shipyard located in Sestri Levante. This aircraft carrier has a displacement of more than 27,900 tons and at full military capacity is capable of reaching above 30,000 tons.

10. Chakri Naruebet

Speed: 25.5 knots

Length: 182.6m

Cost per unit: $336 million

Country: Thailand

Thailand’s largest aircraft carrier, the HTMS Chakri Naruebet, has no aircraft of her own. When the Chakri Naruebet was commissioned in 1997, it was meant to serve as a symbol of Thailand’s expanding military prowess, but the Asian financial crisis hit Thailand soon after, halting the project. As a result, this massive aircraft carrier has been renamed.

The Chakri Naruebet previously had an ambitious concept that included an airplane ski-jump.

11. USS America (LHA-6) Aircraft Carrier – US

Coming eight among the largest aircraft carriers in the world is the first amphibious assault ship of the America-class and the 4th American warship which has been named for the US. Delivered in the 2014 spring season, the warship was a primary mission as the flagship of an amphibious ready group or expeditionary strike group which carry part of a Marine Unit engaging in expeditionary activities into battle. The warship puts the unit ashore along with V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor Aircrafts and helicopters also supported with helicopter gunships as well as F-35B Lightning II aircraft.

12. Juan Carlos I (L61) Aircraft Carrier – Spain

This multi-purpose warship is operated by the Spanish Navy. It bears a similar concept to the amphibious assault ship of the American Wasp-class as it also has a ski jump in case of a scenario that requires operations of the STOVL variety. The warship is so named in honor of the king in Spain, Juan Carlos I. This warship was a displacement of about 27,079 tons.

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Closing

Carriers have grown from wooden vessels used to launch balloons in the early twentieth century to nuclear-powered battleships that transport a large number of fighters, strike aircraft, helicopters, and other types of aircraft. In this article, we have revealed the 10 largest aircraft carriers in the world including their size and their country.

Today’s modern aircraft carriers can carry various types of fighters, strike aircraft, helicopters, and other types of aircraft and defense systems. Aircraft carriers range in size and function depending on where they are deployed.

One advantage of aircraft carriers is that by sailing in international waters, they can avoid the complications of territorial sovereignty and reduce the time from deployment to combat zone.

Aircraft Carriers for the future are currently under construction or plans for their construction are being made by various countries including Brazil, India, Russia, The United States of America, and the United Kingdom. These warships serve an important role and it is for this reason that constant money and research is being pumped in and done concerning the various areas in which they can be improved and modified. Other warships exist in the world, but those that make this list are the largest that can be found.