An Aircraft Carrier is a moving airfield at sea. It acts as the flagship of a fleet and helps a country to maintain air superiority in any sea region. Aircraft Carrier is also mainly used for power projection. With the help of an Aircraft Carrier, a country can conduct air operations in almost any region of the world without a local airbase.
Sizes of Aircraft Carriers:
Aircraft carriers are further divided on the basis of their tonnage or size. They are:
- Super Carriers or Large Carriers
- Medium Sized Fleet Carriers
- Light Fleet Carrier
- Helicopter Carrier.
The super carriers are the largest in size and tonnage. Since, the super carriers are largest in size, they carry heavy aircraft and armament.
So, the armament and arms tonnage depends on the size of carrier.
Carrier maintained by each country:
Today, there are 44 aircraft carriers operational in the world. They are maintained by just 14 countries. These countries are:
- United States of America
- United Kingdom
Out of 44 aircraft carriers, U.S maintain 11 nuclear powered CATOBAR aircraft carriers and 9 amphibious attack ships.
There are only 12 nuclear powered aircraft carriers maintained by two countries. U.S maintains 11 nuclear powered aircraft carriers and remaining 1 carrier is maintained by the French Navy.
Royal Navy has 2 two large carriers of the Queen-Elizabeth class. China has 2 medium sized carriers. Russia maintains a medium sized carrier and has one super carrier under construction. India has one operational air craft carrier and 2 aircraft carriers under construction. Those 2 carriers include a medium sized carrier and a super carrier.
Italy has two light fleet carriers in service. Thailand maintains the smallest aircraft carrier in the world. It is a helicopter carrier. Australia has currently 2 helicopter landing docks in service. Brazil has bought one helicopter carrier from the United Kingdom. Brazilian Navy expects it to enter service in 2020.
Egypt has currently 2 carriers in service. One is a Helicopter carrier and another is a helicopter landing dock. Egypt bought both from France. South Korea has 2 amphibious assault ships used for primary air operations. Each Spain and Turkey have one amphibious assault ships.