Thứ Bảy, 27 tháng 6, 2015

World Wide Aircraft Carrier Analysis


There is no hard and fast precise definition of an "aircraft carrier" and some smaller aviation related ships are not included here. The Italian San Giorgio class small dock landing ships and Japan's Osumi class Landing Ship Tank (LST) resemble diminuative aircraft carriers, but lack a hangar deck which would provide an enclosed maintenance area. Although Helicopter Destroyers such as Italy's Vittorio Veneto and Japan's Haruna and Shirane have hangars, these hybrid vessels are clearly outside any reasonable definition of an aircraft carrier.

The United Kingdom plans construction of a pair of CVF Queen Elizabeth class CTOL big deck carriers, and France has decided to build a conventionally-powered Second Aircraft Carrier to pair with the Charles de Gaulle. These ships will have a displacement of upwards of 60,000 tons, surpassing American amphibious assault ships.

Negotiations between Russia and India began in 1994 for the sale of the 45,500 tons full load Admiral Gorshkov, and on 20 January 2004 it was announced that India and Russia had signed a $1.6 billion deal finalizing the sale, with delivery expected in 2008 [by 2007 delayed to possibly 2011]. In April 2005 India began construction of the 37,500-ton displacement Air Defense Ship indigenous carrier, with delivery expected no sooner than the year 2012.

A number of medium sized amphibious assault ships are currently under construction, including the Italian Luigi Einaudi [NUM], four "13,500 ton" [light] ships in Japan, a pair of Mistral [NTCD] in France, and the Buque de Proyección Estratégica in Spain. In early 2004 the Netherlands expressed interest in acquiring an underway replinishment ship with features similar to those of the Spanish Buque de Proyección Estratégica and the UK's e Ocean. In August 1994 Australia announced plans to evaluate the Mistral [NTCD]and Buque de Proyección Estratégica for possible purchase of a pair of units, with delivery expected around 2012. These ships all have a displacement of roughly 20,000 tons.

Argentina no longer operates an aircraft carrier, having paid off the 25° de Mayo in January of 1999, at which time she was towed away for scrapping in India by March 2000. Australia no longer operates an aircraft carrier, having decommissioned HMAS Melbourne (ex HMAS Majestic) 30 June 1982. She was sold in February 1985, to China United Shipbuilding Company, and reportedly broken up. But in January 2001, it was reported that China has been using her flight deck for pilot training. Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands also operated carriers in the mid-20th century, but gave it up many decades ago.

Despite a great deal of speculation, there is scant evidence that China is actively working on an aircraft carrier. Altough the Shichang Multi-Role Aviation Ship is one of the largest vessels in the People's Liberation Army Navy fleet, it would be a bit of a stretch to class this ship as an aircraft carrier.



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Queen Elizabeth class

A new larger class of Aircraft Carrier, as a replacement for the three existing Invincible Class ships. Initial estimates are that the ships could be 300 metres long and displace about 40,000 tons capable of carrying up to 50 aircraft, resulting in a ship that would be twice as large as the current Invincible class. These carriers are likely to be among the biggest ships ever built for the Royal Navy.

CVF is a flagship programme for the UK and central to the commitment in the Strategic Defence Review to modern, flexible and highly capable forces. The two larger and more capable vessels will replace the current Invincible class aircraft carriers. Assessment work is investigating aircraft carrier design options. These include designs capable of accommodating short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) and conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) aircraft.

They will be conventionally powered. The carrier design taken forward will be dependent on the final choice of aircraft that the UK buys. There are two carrier-borne versions of JSF planned: one taking off using a ski-jump and landing vertically; the other launched with a catapult and landing with the aid of an arrestor wire.

The requirement for the Future Aircraft Carrier (CVF) was endorsed in the Strategic Defence Review (SDR). The need for rapidly deployable forces with the reach and self-sufficiency to act independently of host-nation support confirmed the requirement for aircraft carriers, but SDR also concluded that the ability to deploy offensive air- power would be central to future force projection operations, with carriers operating the largest possible range of aircraft in the widest possible range of roles.

The current Invincible Class of carriers were designed for Cold War nti-submarine warfare operations. With helicopters and a limited air-defence capability provided by a relatively small number of embarked Sea Harriers, it was judged that this capability would no longer meet future UK requirements. It was therefore decided to replace the Invincible Class with two larger and more capable aircraft carriers able to operate up to 50 aircraft, both fixed-wing and helicopters.

It is planned that CVF's offensive air-power will be provided primarily by the Future Carrier Borne Aircraft (FCBA). The carrier air group will also operate the Future Organic Airborne Early Warning (FOAEW) system together with helicopters from all three Services in a variety of roles.

FORD CLASS


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Designation: CVN
Length: App 1100 ft
Width: 250+ ft
Beam: 135+ ft
Displacement: 102,000 tons
Propulsion: 2 nuclear reactors, 
4 shafts
Speed: 30+ knots
Crew: App. 4,600 (includes air crew)
Airwing: 85 fixed, UAV, rotary
Armament:
- 2 X 16 ESS SAM
- 2 X 21 RAM SAM
- 4 X CIWS
- 4 X .50 cal MG
Elevators: 3
Catapaults: 4
Ships in class: 1
CVN-78 USS Gerald R. Ford (Building)
The new CVN21 aircraft carrier class has been designated the USS Gerald R. Ford class, and the first of class will be CVN-78, USS Gerald R. Ford. They will be the largest warships ever built. They will gradually, one by one in five to seven year increments, take over for the US Nimitz class carriers as the mainstay of the US Navy's power projection and sea lane protetction capabilities.
Each of these vessels will carry an airwing of fixed wing aircraft, VSTOL aircraft, helicopters, and unamanned arial vehicles (UAV) that is larger and more powerful than many nation's complete air force. By having the resources, the experience, and the capability to operate eleven such vessels (where each vessel is surrounded by an extensive force of other surface and sub-surface combatants that make up each Carrier Strike Group (CSG)), the United States will remain the unchallenged, dominant sea force on earth.

The USS George HW Bush, CVN-77, was christened on October 7, 2006, and replaced the USS Kitty Hawk, CV-63, in 2008. Although officially listed as a Nimitz class carrier, CVN-77 also represents a transformation step in US carrier development from the Nimitz class towards the CVN-21 program.

http://www.jeffhead.com/worldwideaircraftcarriers/cvn21.htm

Initial steel cutting for the USS Gerald R. Ford was accomplished in August of 2005. The keel laying is expected to occur in late 2009 or early 2010 and the vessel is expected to be commissioned in 2015. CVN-78 will replace the USS Enterprise, CVN-65, America's first nuclear powered aircraft carrier in that year. Among the innovations contemplated for the Ford class carriers, are:

A much more efficent nuclear reactor system providing three times more power.
Electromagnetic aircraft launch and recovery replacing current steam catapaults and current arrestor systems.
A redesigned, more efficent, and more stealthy island.
More automated systems, providing for reduced manpower requirements and more efficent aircraft weapons handling, battle management, and damage control operations.
Potential exotic defensive weapons systems operating off of the increased electrical power.
20% more sortie capability for the embarked airwing.
25% more operational availability of the carrier.
With these innovations, and the many others that will be developed into the new carrier, the US Navy is making a direct statement that its 21st century, next-generation carrier fleet will continue to have as its centerpiece large-deck, nuclear-powered vessels that can project power and protect sea lanes anywhere in the world, at any time


NIMITZ CLASS

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Designation: CVN
Length: 1092 ft
Width: 252 ft
Beam: 134 ft
Displacement: 102,000 tons
Propulsion: 2 A4W Nuclear Reactors,
4 shafts
Speed: 30+ knots
Crew: 5,984 (includes air crew)
Airwing: 85 fixed, rotary
Armament:
- 3 X 8 Sea Sparrow SAM
- 4 X 20mm Phalanx CIWS
Elevators: 4
Catapaults: 4
Ships in class: 10
CVN-68 USS Nimitz
CVN-69 USS Dwight D. Eisenhower
CVN-70 USS Carl Vinson
CVN-71 USS Theodore Roosevelt
CVN-72 USS Abraham Lincoln
CVN-73 USS George Washington
CVN-74 USS John C. Stennis
CVN-75 USS Harry S. Truman
CVN-76 USS Ronald Reagan
CVN-77 George HW Bush
The Nimitz class aircraft carriers are the largest warships ever built. They are the mainstay of the US Navy's power projection and sea lane protetction capabilities. Each of these vessels carries an airwing that is larger and more powerful than many nation's complete air force. By having the resources, the experience, and the apability to operate twelve such vessels (where each vessel is surrounded by an extensive force of other surface and sub-surface combatants that make up each Carrier Strike Group (CSG), the United States remains the unchallenged, dominant sea force on earth.
The USS George HW Bush, CVN-77, represents a transformation step in US carrier development. In connection with her christening, the USS Kitty Hawk, CV-63 was retired from service. Many new features have been added to the USS Geroge HW Bush, leading to the more complete transformation represented by CVN-78 or, what is called the CVN-21 Class for the 21st Century, which will replace the USS Enterprise, CVN-65, America's first nuclear powered aircraft carrier in 2013. Among the inovations contemplated are:

A much more effecient nuclear reactor system providing three times more power.
Electromagnetic aircraft launch and recovery replacing current steam catapaults and current arrestor systems.
A redesigned, more effecient, and more stealthy island.
More auomated systems, providing for reduced manpower requirements and more efficient aircraft weapons handling, battle management, and damage control operations.
Potential exotic defensive weapons systems operating off of the increased electrical power.
20% more sortie capability for the embarjed airwing.
25% more operational availability of the carrier.
With these innovations, and the many others that will be developed into the new carrier, the US Navy is making a direct statement that its 21st century, next-generation carrier fleet will continue to have as its centerpiece large-deck, nuclear-powered vessels that can project power and protect sea lanes anywhere in the world, at any time.
ENTERPRISE CLASS




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Designation: CVN
Length: 1123 ft
Width: 252 ft
Beam: 133 ft
Displacement: 89,900 tons
Propulsion: 8 nuclear reactors, 4 shafts
Speed: 30+ knots
Crew: 5,830
Airwing: 85 fixed, rotary
Armament:
- 3 X 8 Sea Sparrow SAM
- 4 X 20mm Phalanx CIWS
Elevators: 4
Catapaults: 4
Ships in class: 1
CVN-65 USS Enterprise
The USS Enterprise was the world's first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, having eight reactor powering four shafts, two of those reactors reactors powering each shaft. With nuclear power came the ability for aircraft carries to sustain operations longer, have more endurance themselves, and the many other capabilities and innovations now common to the Nimitz class nuclear aircraft carriers.
CVN-65 is the eighth American warship to be christened the USS Enterprise, following a long, illustrious history that dates back to the Revolutionary war, and includes the most highly decorated warship of World War II, the Big "E", CV-6.

The new nuclear powered era in aircraft carrier operations ushered in by the Enterprise, gave her a maximum speed of 35 knots and an estimated endurance of five years. By eliminating the need for oil storage and stacks it also provided her, and follow-on nuclear carriers, with over twice the aviation fuel capacity of their largest predecessors.

The phased array radar (PAR) mounted on the sides of her distinctive square island at the time, led the way to the now common PARs seen on many ships throughout the world, not the least of which are the AEGIS cruisers and destroyers that help protect her. Over the years the Enterprise has received numerous major upgrades to her machinary, aircraft, weapons, and electronics system, including four refuelings of her nuclear reactor cores, itself a testament to her design and the good care and maintenance given her by her charges.

At the time of her launch, the Enterprise marked a new plateau in the US Navy’s development of shipboard aviation, a development that has led to even higher vistas, including the innovation contemplated for CVN-78, the first of the CVN-21, next-generation carriers, which will replace the Enterprise in 2013. That overall development, begun in 1922, with the old 15-knot Langley as an experimental aircraft carrier, progressed to the nuclear powered Enterprise within the service lives of quite a few individuals that were still on active duty at the time the Enterprise was launched.

Since her launch in 1961, the USS Enterpise has blazed the trail for almost 45 years, protecting sea lanes and freedom, and projecting America's security interests all over the world. When she is replaced in 2013, after an astounding 52 years of service, the Enterprise will have more than earned the name of the "grand old lady of the seas".

CHARLES DE GUALLE



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Designation: CVN
Length: 860 ft
Width: 203 ft
Beam: 113 ft
Displacement: 40,600 tons
Propulsion: 2 PWR Type K15 nuclear reactors, 
2 shafts
Speed: 27 knots
Crew: 1,950
Airwing: 40 fixed, rotary
Armament:
- 2 X 16 Aster SAM
- 2 X 6 Sadral SAM
- 8 X 20mm GIat CIWS
Elevators: 2
Catapaults: 2
Ships in class: 1
R91 Charles De Gaulle
Next to the United States, the French have mantained conventional carrier operations for longer than any other nation, and have gained the experience associated with it. Operating the two Clemenceua class carriers for years, they were able to keep a carrier and its embarked airwing deployed for much of the last 40 years. As those two carriers aged, the French planned to replace them with two nuclear carriers.
The first of that class, the Charles De Gaulle, was launched in 1994, but not commissioned until 2000, suffering from numerous delays and problems with the nuclear reactors and overall design. After completion, the flight deck had to be lengthened to accomodate the E-2 Hawkeyes the French had purchased from the United States for AEW duties

When finally commissioned, on her first major trial voyage, the vessel developed cracks in the propeller and had to go back into the yards. Finally, in 2001 she was pronounced fully healthy and then helped take part in Operation Enduring Freedom against the Taliban in Afghanistan. She has been sailing and conducting operations ever since with the normal maintenance and repair layovers.

With the successful launch, commissioning, and operations (albeit delayed) of the Charles de Gaulle, the French have joined an elite club with nuclear aircraft carrier operations that contains only two countries, themselves and the United States.

The French have since decommissioned both of their other carriers, the Clemenceau has been scrapped and the Foche was sold to Brazil where it has been refitted and recommissioned in the Brazilain navy as the Sao Paulo, the flagship of their fleet.

The French plan to build another large carrier of the De Gaulle class, but have opted to make it conventionally powered and are now working woith the British in conjunction with their new carrier program.

QUEEN ELIZABETH



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Designation: CV
Length: 920 ft
Width: 224 ft
Beam: 127 ft
Displacement: 65,000 tons
Propulsion: 2 MT30 gas turbines (IFEP), 
4 Diesel Generators
2 shafts
Speed: 25+ knots
Crew: 1,450
Airwing: 40 VSTOL (JSF), Rotary
Armament:
- 3 X 30mm CIWS
- 3 X 20mm CIWS
Elevators: 2
Ships in class: 1 (+1)
HMS Queen Elizabeth
The UK is building two, large, fixed wing carriers, the Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales. 1st steel for the HMS Queen Elizabeth was cut on July 7, 2009 at at the BVT Surface Fleet shipyard in Govan, Glasgow, Scotland.
The existing 22,000 ton Invincible class carriers were designed for Cold War anti-submarine warfare as part of combined NATO fleet operations and were too small to carry a very large STOVL wing of aircraft. However, the 1982 Falklands War demonstrated the need for the UK to maintain aircraft carriers to support its own foreign policy apart from NATO.

Since that time the Invincible class ships have operated in a more traditional aircraft carrier role of power projection. As a result the Royal Air Force's Harrier GR7s have been routinely deployed on the carriers which were modified to carry more aircraft and ammunition. Despite the shortcomings of the Invincible class in this role, it wasn't until 1994 that official studies into the replacement of the ships began.

In May 1997, the Labour government launched a Strategic Defence Review (SDR) to evaluate every weapon system outside the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Vanguard ballistic missile submarines. The report was published in July 1998 and concluded that new aircraft carriers could offer the UK all of the following:

1 - The ability to operate offensive aircraft abroad when foreign basing were either not available or had been denied. 
2 - Immediate access to the battle space, where traditional air force basing would require significant logistics and time.
3 - More effect amd efficient deterent when deployed to a trouble spot.

This 1988 SDR concluded: that "the emphasis is now on increased offensive air power, and an ability to operate the largest possible range of aircraft in the widest possible range of roles. When the current carrier force reaches the end of its planned life, we plan to replace it with two larger vessels. Work will now begin to refine our requirements but present thinking suggests that they might be of the order of 30,000–40,000 tonnes and capable of deploying up to 50 aircraft, including helicopters."

In January 1999 six companies were invited to bid on the assessment phase of the project; Boeing, British Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Marconi Electronic Systems, Raytheon and Thomson-CSF. In November 1999 the detailed assessment studieswas awarded to two consortia, one led by BAE Systems (British Aerospace) and one led by Thales Group (Thomson-CSF). The contract required up to six designs from each for airgroups of 30 to 40 Future Joint Combat Aircraft (FJCA), and split into phases; The first £5.9 million phase was for design assessment for part of the aircraft selection, the second £23.5 million phase involved risk reduction on the preferred carrier design option

In January 2001 the UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Department of Defense for full participation in the Joint Strike Fighter programme, confirming the JSF as the FJCA. This gave the UK input into aircraft design and selection between the Lockheed X-35 and Boeing X-32. In October 2001 the US Department of Defense announced that Lockheed Martin had won the JSF contract.

In September 2002 it was announced that the Royal Navy would operate the STOVL F-35B variant. It was also announced that the carriers would be large, conventional carriers, initially adapted for STOVL operations. At the same time, the carriers would be designed for, to allow for catapults and arrestor wires. This made the carriers "future proof", allowing them to operate CATOBAR aircraft later if required.

In January 2003 the UK Defence Secretary announced that the Thales Group design had won the competition but that BAE Systems would operate as prime contractor.

As a result, the vessels will displace approximately 65,000 tonnes each, over three times the displacement of the current Invincible class. The vessels will be the largest warships ever built in the UK and the most capable aircraft carriers outside of the U.S. Navy super-carriers.

The carriers will feature two small island structures, one devoted to ship navigation, and the other to air operations. This allows for optimal navigation forward (as on the French, Charles De Gaulle), while air operations are conducted abaft (as on the US Nimitz class). Two deck lifts will be used, both on the starboard side.

The carriers will carry 40 fixed wing and rotary aircraft. This will consist of 36 F-35B strike fighters as well as helicopters or V-22 Osprey aircraft. The UK Defence Equipment and Support Organisation COO stated in January 2008 that the carriers will initially operate Harrier GR9s because there will not be enough fully prepared, trained and equipped F-35s in 2014.

In March 2008 Contracts for 80,000 tonnes of steel were awarded for the vessels, with an estimated value of £65 million with £8 million worth of contracts for other equipment to be used in the ships. In April 2008 contracts for the lifts, or elevators for the ships were awarded. In October 2008, contracts for the gas turbines for the gas turbines and other power and propulsion portions of the vessels were awarded.

In late December 2008, it was announced that initial construction on early steel had begun, with a projected initial delivery of the Queen Elizabeth in 2014-2015, followed by the Prince of Wales in 2016-2017.

INVINCIBLE 



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Designation: CVL
Length: 695 ft
Width: 118 ft
Beam: 118 ft
Displacement: 23,000 tons
Propulsion: 4 TM3B gas turbines (COGAG), 
2 shafts
Speed: 29 knots
Crew: 1,270
Airwing: 22 VSTOL, rotary
Armament:
- 3 X 30mm CIWS
- 2 X 20mm guns
Elevators: 2
Ships in class: 3
HMS Invincible (R05)
HMS Illustrious (R06)
HMS Ark Royal (R07)
The Invincible class carriers, all three commissioned between 1980 and 1985, were initially dubbed as "through deck cruisers" for political and funding purposes, and were the first successful VSTOL carriers in the world, employing the British Harrier aircraft.
Threatened with cancellation and selling by politicians, the miltary planners garnered enough support to see the task through and complete the development, launching and commissioning of these vessels.

The concept proved very useful and successful in the 1982 Falklands War with Argentina where the United Kingdom sent down two aircraft carrier groups, one consisting of the Hermes (later sold to India to become the INS Viraat), and the other of the newly completed Invincible, which was rushed through final trials in time to participate in the war. By MAy of that year (1982) the task force had accomplished two of its main tasks; the movement of the troops safely to the South Atlantic and the establishment of control of the seas around the Islands.

The role of the carriers, HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible, was crucial through all stages in providing air defence and the means of attacking enemy ships and ground positions, while their helicopters provided constant anti-submarine protection. The Invincible and her air wing performed well, despite some losses to both aircraft and supporting ships from Argentine air attack, and the islands were recaptured and the Argentine forces defeated.

The carriers were originally designed without the now characteristic ski ramp. However, during operational tests it was discovered that using the ski ramp provided the Sea Harrier with much better performance, allowing it to carry more fuel and weapons, making it a far more versatile aircraft for fleet defense, attack at sea, and ground support missions. The upgrade to the F/A 2 Sea Harrier has been a great success for the fighter, and it will continue to do its job for a few more years until replaced by the Joint Strike Fighter slated for use on HMS aircraft carriers..

The Invincible carriers are slated to be replaced in the 2012 and on time frame as the two new, full deck, conventional carriers the United Kingdom is now building come on line.
KUZNETSOV



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Designation: CV
Length: 992 ft
Width: 237 ft
Beam: 116 ft
Displacement: 65,000 tons
Propulsion: 8 boilers, 4 shafts
Speed: 32 knots
Crew: 2,625
Airwing: 50 fixed, rotary
Armament:
- 12 Granit SSM
- 8 X 24 Kinock SAM
- 8 X 32 Kashtan SAM/CIWS
- 8 X 30mm CIWS
Elevators: 2
Ships in class: 1
063 Kuznetsov
The former Soviet Union worked for decades to try and produce their own aircraft carrier capability. Starting with the Moskva class helicopter carriers, that were a crusier forward of the superstructure with a large flight deck aft of the superstructure (similar to the French Jeanne d'Arc), progressing through the Kiev class, which had a full flight deck that came along side a massive Island, but still had missiles, guns, and ASW weapons forward, the Soviets finally, near the end of their life, produced the Kuznetsov.
The Kuznetsov pioneered a carrier capability known as "Short take-off, arrested landing" (STOAL) and had an inclined front flight deck to assist aircraft into the air, taking a note from the UK Invincible class. Most believe that this was more a matter of necessity coming from the Soviets inability to proiduce a working catapault system. Whatever the reason, the carrier was produced and the launching system worked. Aircraft are recovered with arresting landing per conventional carriers on the angled flight deck from the rear.

At 65,000 tons and with an airwing of fifty aircraft, the Soviets finally had their large deck carrier and started a second, the Varyag, before their time came to an end. After the fall of the communist regime and the split up of the former Soviet Union, the Russians retained control of the Kuznetsov, and as funds have allowed, have continued to train with her and develop their capability. The SU-33 aircraft she embarks are very capable multi-role (attack and air defense) aircraft. The large carrier lacks in a truly effective AEW airraft, using helicopters in that role like the British on their VSTOL carriers.

The Ukraine retained control of the Varyag and were incapable of finishing her, ultimately selling her to China where she has been towed and is undergiong a refit to unstated purposes to this day...although it is apparent that the Chinese PLAN has a desire to develop carrier operations themselves with the Varyag, and have the funding, the relationship with the Russians, and the know how to do so

SAU PAULO


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Designation: CV
Length: 873 ft
Width: 167 ft
Beam: 104 ft
Displacement: 33,600 tons
Propulsion: 6 La Valle boilers, 
2 shafts
Speed: 32 knots
Crew: 1,920
Airwing: 40 fixed, rotary
Armament:
- 2 X 8 Crotale SAM
- 2 X 6 SAM
Elevators: 2
Catapaults: 2
Ships in class: 1
Sao Paulo
The Brazilian government purchased the former French carrier Foch in 2000 and and refitted her and recommissioned her the Sao Paulo. The Fock was orignally commissioned in 1963 and served a long and successful career with the French before being sold to Brazil after the successful commissioning and operation of their new nuclear powered aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle.
The Brazilians had purchased and operated a fomrer British Colossus class carrier, the Minas Gerais, for many years and were experienced in catapault take-offs and arrested landing. Since purchasing the Sao Paulo, the Minas Gerias has been retired and decommissioned.

The acquisition of the Sao Paulo has incresed the capability and the effectiveness of Brazilian naval air operations. A wing of twenty former Kuwaiti, former US, A-4M Skyhawks have been purchased and are now operating off of the carrier.

VARYAG CLASS



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Designation: CV
Length: 992 ft
Width: 237 ft
Beam: 116 ft
Displacement: 65,000 tons
Propulsion: 8 boilers, 4 shafts
Speed: 32 knots
Crew: 2,500
Airwing: 50 fixed, rotary
Armament:
- Unknown
Elevators: 2
Ships in class: 1
PLAN (Unknown designation as yet)
The Chinese purchased the former Soviet carrier, Varyag, from the Ukraine in 1998 for about $20 million dollars (US). The Varyag was the newer, sister ship to the Russian Kuznetsov. But the Ukraine government had never finished the carrier after the fall of the Soviet Union and had tried to sell it to various concerns. As a result, the carrier fell into a state of disrepair. The Chinese bought the carrier and indicated that the holding company that had purchased it planned to tow it to China and make it a floating casino.
The Chinese could not get permission from the government of Turkey to pass threough the Sraits of Istanbul until 2001, at which time the Varyag was towed to China, a cruise that the big ship, now without rudders or engines, made in surprisingly good condition passing through the Mediteranean, the Suez Canal, by the Cape of Good Hope headland, across the Indian Ocean, through the Straits of Malacca, into the China Sea and finally to Dalian, China in mid 2002. It was ultimately docked at the Naval Shipyards in Dalian where it has been under tight security ever since. The holding company, which had ties to the PLAN, went out of business.

The Varyag has been undergoing significant work at Dalian ever since. This has included an intital stint in dry dock where she emerged in 2005 having been painted in the offical PLAN combatant colors. It has included significant time at pier side with work going on internally throughout the period, and the application of a primer and then full non-skid sirface to the deck. Most recently, in April 2009, it has involved the move of the vessel once again to dry dock for what appears to be final outfitting. It certainly appears at this point that she will be made operational, if for no other reason, as a training ship for the PLAN, to gain experience while the Chinese build their own carriers (which is their stated intention to build two indigenous, large carriers in the 20-teens).

The Chinese have been engaged over the last five to seven years in one of the most astounding and ambitious modern naval shipbuilding programs since World War II. Although they are retiring some older vessels, the shear rapidity with which they are replacing them with very efficient modern combatants is amazing. Those combatants include all of the necessary ingredients to create and field a major carrier battle gropup of their own...if they had the carrier to go with it.

If made operational, with a wing of SU-33 fighters, and/or carrier modified J-10 aircraft, the Varyag could represent a significant shift in the balance of naval power in the area.

HYUGA CLASS


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Designation: CVH (DDH)
Length: 650 ft
Width: 108 ft
Beam: 108 ft
Displacement: 20,000 tons (full load)
Propulsion: 2 GE LM2500 COGAG, 2 shafts
Speed: 30+ knots
Crew: 350 (+ Air Wing)
Airwing: Up to 18 helo (vstol)
Armament:
- 1 X 16 Cell Mk 41 VLS
- 2 X 2 20mm Phalanx CIWS
- 2 X Triple 324mm topedoe tubes
Elevators: 2
Ships in class: 2
DDH-181, Hyuga
DDH-182, Ise
On August 22, 2007, the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force launched the Hyuga, a new, large, flat deck vessel which had been laid down in May of 2006. The vessel was then commissioned into the JMSDF on March 18, 2009. On 21 August, 2009, the JMSDF launched the second in class, the DDH-182, Ise, to be commissioned in early 2011.
This vessel, which was called the 16DDH project, has a large, flat-deck, and has been designated as a DDH, or helicopter carrying destroyer, for political purposes. The Japanese will build two vessels and they will replace two of the current, traditional DDH vessels in two of the JMSDF escort flotillas. It is contemplated that the JMSDF will then order two more such vessels to replace their other two DDH once these first two are commissioned into the fleet.

The Japanese currently list the carrying capabilitiy of these vessels as 4 small ASW helos or up to 11 large Chinook helicopters. Clearly, if capable of carrying 11 Chinooks, the carriers will be able to operate qutie a few more small helicopters, probably 18-24.

In addition to their aircraft carrying capabilities the vessels will have extensive command and control and communications capabilities to allow them to function as flagships and command ships for the other vessels in their flotillas. In addition, with modern Phased Array Radars (PARS), an integrated combat system, a 16 cell VLS carrying 64 Evolved Sea Sparrow anti-air missiles, and with two 20mm Phalanx CIWS, the vessels will be very capable of defending themselves against air attacks.

To anyone looking at the vessel, it is clear that the ship is in fact a small aircraft carrier along the lines of the United Kingdom's Invincible Class carriers without the ski-jump bow. The 16DDH will in fact be very close in size and displacement to the Invincible class which can carry up to 22 aircraft (rotary and vstol) using two elevators similar to those depicted on this ship. It is clear that the capabilities of these vessels will far exceed the four helicopters currently being listed by the JMSDF.

As suggested, it is likely that the vessel will be able to carry a minimum of 18 helicopters, and probably be capable of a mixed air wing that could include VSTOL jets, like the Harrier II jets, or the new F-35B Joint Strike Fighter being developed by the United States for deployment on US flat-deck amphibious assault vessels if the Japanese deck has been built to withstand vertical take-off jet exhaust.

The Hyuga has no stated provisions for amphibious assault, no well deck, but could clearly be utilized to conduct over the horizon air assaults as the ships size makes it clear that it could carry far more than the 350 crew identified by the JMSDF. This 350 number is, in all likelihood, the naval crew of the vessel alone and other air wing or marine troop capabilities are simply not being published for political purposes.

The vessel is powered by two GE Transportation power trains, each consisting of two LM2500s in a COGAG configuration, driving their respective propeller through a gearbox and shaft. The ship has two shafts. The engines each provide 25,000 shaft horsepower.

The Japanese are now approving a budget for two follow-on much larger vessels, the the 22DDH project which will displace over 30,000 tons and will be almost 800 ft. long. Here's a picture comparing the two.

JUAN CARLOS 1



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Designation: LHD
Length: 755 ft
Width: 107 ft
Beam: 97 ft
Displacement: 27,000 tons
Propulsion: 2 gas turbines, 
2 Electrical PODS
Speed: 24 knots
Crew: 1,450
Airwing: 30 VSTOL, rotary
Armament:
- 1 X ESSM or RAM Missile System
- 4 X 20mm Oerlikon CIWS
Elevators: 2
Ships in class: 1
Juan Carlos I
The new Spanish Strategic Projection carrier, the L61, Juan Carlos I, started construction in May 2005 and was launched on March 10, 2008. She will be commissioned in 2009. The vessel is meant to be a multi-role vessel suited for either the Sea Control role with VSTOL aircraft, or the Amphibious Assault role with helicopters, air cushion craft, landing craft and supporting VSTOL attack aircraft.
In the Sea Control role the vessel will be able to carry up to thirty aircraft, though the normal airwing would consist of 22. In the Amphibious assault role, the vessel will be able to land up to 900 troops and all of their equipment through air and/or sea assault, carrrying a mixed airwing of 22 helicopters and VSTOL aircraft.

The vessel is intended to be complimentary to the current Principe de Asturia carrier and not replace it.

The revolutionary propulsion system for the vessel (similar to the French Navy's Mistral Class of LPH) requires no shafts, instead using electrically driven POD devices for both props, thereby also eliminating conventional rudder systems, the PODs acting in that role as well.

Combined with the Principe de Asturias carrier and the F100 AEGIS frigates the Spanish have built to protect them, the Spanish Navy will, with this larger carrier have developed into a significant regional force capable of projecting Spanish interests and protecting sea lanes around the world.

Principe de Austurias 



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Designation: CVL
Length: 645 ft
Width: 104 ft
Beam: 90 ft
Displacement: 17,000 tons
Propulsion: 2 LM 2500 gas turbines (COGAG), 
1 shaft
Speed: 25 knots
Crew: 830
Airwing: 29 VSTOL, rotary
Armament:
- 1 X 8 Harpoon SSM
- 4 X 20mm Oerlikon CIWS
Elevators: 2
Ships in class: 1
Principe de Austurias (R11)
The Principe de Asturias aircraft carrier was commissioned by the Spanish Navy in 1988. The layout of the ship was partially derived from the older design of the US Navy Sea Control Ship. The hull was laid down in 1979 and the ship was launched in 1982. But the integration of a Tritan Digital Command and Control System and the installation of a Flag Bridge to meet the requirements of the Spanish Navy delayed the commissioning ofuntil 1988.
The Spanish Navy is planning a mid-life upgrade for the vessel to make it more effective for littoral warfare. The upgrades will include improving anti-ship defenses and the command and control system.

The ship supports up to twelve AV-8B Harrier II Plus aircraft. The Harriers are armed with AIM-9L Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles and AGM-65E Maverick air-to-ground missiles, in addition to GAU-12U cannon. The carrier also has facilities to support up to twelve helicopters, usually six Sikorsky Sea King SH-3H, four Agusta AB-212 and two Sikorsky SH-3 AEW helicopters.

The carrier supports a maximum of 29 fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft with up to twelve on deck and 13 aircraft in the hangar. In an emergency a maximum of 17 aircraft can be stored in the hangarwhich is accessed by two elevators.

With its Spanish F100, AEGIS frigate escorts, the carrier Asturias stands ready and able to defend Spain's maritime and strategic interests in the high seas.


CAVOUR 


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Designation: CVL
Length: 800 ft
Width: 128 ft
Beam: 108 ft
Displacement: 26,000 tons
Propulsion: 4 LM2500 gas turbines (COGAG),
2 shafts
Speed: 28 knots
Crew: 1,210
Airwing: 20 VSTOL, rotary
- 32 VLS Aster SAM
- 3 X 25mm OtaBreda CIWS
- 2 X 76mm guns
Elevators: 2
Ships in class: 1
MM Cavour C550
MM Cavour (C550) is the next generation Italian VSTOL aircraft carrier. Construction began in 2001 and the Cavour was launched from the Riva Trigoso shipyard in Genoa on July 20, 2004. She was commissioned in March of 2008.
The ship is designed to combine VSTOL and helicopter air operations, amphibious operations, and the transport of military or civil personnel and heavy vehicles. She will have extensive command and control facilities and will take over as the flagship for the Italian Navy from the carrier, MM Garibaldi C551, which currently holds that distinction.

The hanger can double as vehicle parking, fitting up to 24 tanks or many more lighter vehicles. The hangar has side access ramps for ROR operations as as well as two elevators to the flight deck.

Cavour has been named after the Italian politician Count Camillo Benso di Cavour.

GARIBALDI CLASS


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Designation: CVL
Length: 590 ft
Width: 108 ft
Beam: 98 ft
Displacement: 13,000 tons
Propulsion: 4 LM2500 gas turbines (COGAG), 
2 shafts
Speed: 30 knots
Crew: 780
Airwing: 18 VSTOL, rotary
- 2 X 8 Aspide SAM
- 2 X 4 Otomat SSM
- 6 X 40mm guns
- 3 X 2 324mm torpedoes
Elevators: 2
Ships in class: 1
MM Garibaldi C551
The MM Garibaldi (C551) was commissioned in 1985 and started its life as the world smallest aircraft carrier. That distinction has since passed to the Thai carrier, the Naruebet. The Garibaldi was built particularly for antisubmarine warfare (ASW) operations, carrying mainly helicopters for that task and a light load of VSTOL Harrier aircraft for fleet defense.
Since its commission, however, the Garibaldi has proven the equal of a number of tasks in addition to ASW work, including command and control of naval and naval air forces, area surveillance, convoy escort, support of commando and amphibious operations, fleet logistic support, and humanitarian aid.

With its strong command and control facilities, which have been upgraded significantly over the years, the Garibaldi has taken its position as the flagship of the Italian Navy, where it will remain until after the commissioning and sea trials of the next generation Italian aircraft carrier, MM Cavour C552 in 2008.

The the forward portion of the Garibaldi's flight deck rises to a ski ramp of about 4°. The ship can accommodate up to 18 helicopters, like the Agusta Sikorsky SH-3D Sea King or the Agusta Bell AB212. Alternatively the ship can accommodate 16 AV-8B Harrier II aircraft, or a mix of helicopter and Harriers. The vessel's flight deck has been upgraded to allow operations with the EH101 helicopter, in service with the Italian Navy


CHAKRI NARUEBET

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Designation: CVH
Length: 600 ft
Width: 90 ft
Beam: 74 ft
Displacement: 12,000 tons
Propulsion: 4 GE LM-2500 gas turbines (CODOG),
2 shafts
Speed: 26 knots
Crew: 600
Airwing: 18 VSTOL, rotary
- 4 X 20mm CIWS
- 2 X 30mm guns
Elevators: 2
Ships in class: 1
911 Chakri Naruebet
The HTMS Chakri Naruebet, officially designated an Offshore Patrol Helicopter Carrier, was constructed for the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) by Spanish shipbuilders Izar. Constructed in Spain, when commissioned in 1997 in Thailand, she became the smallest aircraft carrier in the world, taking over that distinction from the Italian carrier, MM Garibaldi C551.
Designed similar to the Spanish carrier Principe de Asturias, it is fitted with a 12° ski jump to enable the use of Harrier VSTOL aircraft.

The carrier is tasked with warfare/flagship command and control, air support for amphibious operations and the Thai surface fleet, EEZ surveillance and protection, search and rescue, and disaster relief. It is based in the Gulf of Thailand.

The ship is equipped with six multi-mission Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk helicopters, designed for use in an anti-submarine role. These are supplemented with six ex-Spanish Matador AV-8S (Harrier) VSTOL aircraft. The Chakri Naruebet’s can accommodate five simultaneous helicopter take-off/landings; the hangar provides space for ten medium helicopters or Harrier-sized aircraft. The carrier’s maximum speed is 26 knots, with a cruise speed of 16 knots. Range is estimated to be 10,000nm at 12 knots. Two spade rudders and four hull stabilisers have been fitted.
VIKRANT 


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Designation: CV
Length: 830 ft
Width: 190 ft
Beam: 116 ft
Displacement: 40,000 tons
Propulsion: 4 LM 2500 gas turbines, 
2 shafts
Speed: 28 knots
Crew: 1,600
Airwing: 30 Fixed, rotary
Armament:
- 2 X 16 VLS SAM
- 4 X 76mm guns 
Elevators: 2
Ships in class: 1
INS Vikrant (Building)
In April 2005 India began building its first indigenously designed aircraft carrier, the INS Virkant, in the Cochin naval shipyards. The vessel is being built to the final Air Defense Ship (ADS) design set forth by the India Navy's Directorate of Naval Design (DND) for the last several years. The keel laying is scheduled late in the year. The ship is expected to enter service in 2012 when it will join the INS Vikramaditya, which will have replaced the INS Viraat in 2010.
This 830 foot-long ship, with a 40,000 ton full-load displacement,, will be capable of operating up to 30 modern fighter aircraft, including MiG-29K, LCA (Navy), See Harrier, and up to to 10 helicopters of different types Its 2.5 acre flight deck, with a maximum width of 190 ft, will enable launch of fighter aircraft using ski-jump for take off and arrester wire for landing on an angled deck. Powered by four LM 2500 gas turbines, generating 80 MW of power, the ship will be able to achieve speeds in excess of 28 knots. The crew will consist of a complement of 1,600 officers and men.

A second carrier of this class is expected to be built and delivered in 2018 to join the new Virkant and the Vikramaditya. At that time, the Indian Navy will have three large, modern carriers.

The initial construction day, April 11, 2005, will always be remembered in the Indian Navy's quest for indigenous aircraft carrier construction and significant milestone in the maritime history of modern India. On that day, the construction of India's largest warship project, the first indigenous aircraft carrier designed by DND, commenced at the Cochin Shipyard with the steel-cutting by Mr TR Baalu, Union Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways in the presence of the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Arun Prakash and Chief Minister of Kerala, Mr Oomen Chandy. .

VIRAAT 

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Designation: CVL
Length: 745 ft
Width: 160 ft
Beam: 90 ft
Displacement: 28,700 tons
Propulsion: 4 boilers, 2 shafts
Speed: 28 knots
Crew: 2,100
Airwing: 35 VSTOL, rotary
Armament:
- 2 X 4 SAM
- 8 X 30mm guns 
Elevators: 2
Ships in class: 1
INS Viraat
The Viraat is the former United Kingdom aircraft carrier, Hermes, that participated so ably during the Falkland war campaign, that was sold to India in 1986 and recommissioned as an INS carrier. It has gone through extensive refits and maintenance, but continues to operate and perform well for Indian naval operations.
The current air group of the Viraat consists of 12 to 18 Sea Harrier V/STOL fighters and seven or a eight Sea King or Kamov 'Hormone' ASW helicopters. In emergencies, the Viraat can operate up to 30 Harriers. At present, the Sea Harrier aircraft, are armed with Sea Eagle Anti-Ship Missiles (ASMs) and Matra 550 Magic missiles. The helicopters, like the Sea King, are used Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Search-And-Rescue (SAR) and transport. The carrier is fitted by the "Barak" missile point defense system made by Israel.

A recent refit (1999-2001) extended the service life of the carrier to 2010, when she is expected to be replaced by the new INS Vikramaditya carrier that is currently being converted from the former Russian carrier Gorshkov design.

VIKRAMDITYA



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Designation: CV
Length: 900 ft
Width: 174 ft
Beam: 107 ft
Displacement: 45,000 tons
Propulsion: 8 turbo pressurized boilers, 
4 shafts
Speed: 32 knots
Crew: 1,600
Airwing: 30 fixed, rotary
Armament:
Uknown
Elevators: 2
Ships in class: 1
Vikramaditya (Building)
Former Russian Kiev Class carrier, Gorshkov. Sold to India with an entire wing of Mig-29 fighters that will operate off its decks, along with many other Russian contracts to help build and support the vessel.
Operations and defensive systems will be a mix of western, Russian, and indeginous Indian systems, like a number of other Indian naval vessels.

The Vakramaditya is slated to replace the aging INS Viraat aircraft carrier in 2010, after it is completed, commissioned and finished with trials. In 2012, the Vikramaditya will be joined by the INS Virkant, currently under construction and due to be the first indigenously designed and built Indian aircraft carrier.

To date (April 2009) cost overruns continue to plague the refit and the Russians are still looking for the Indians to come up with more money. Despite the differences, work continues and the vessel was recently floated and moved for further outfitting. It is still undetermined if the Indians will complete the project if the costs run too high...in which case the Russians may finish it for themselves.












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