Have you ever heard of the term aircraft carrier? This colossal ship serves as an airbase on the high seas. The carrier will support the powerful fighter aircraft to take off and land over the sea. The vessel provides warplanes a place for landing and refueling. In fact, aircraft carriers have a crucial role in winning the battle.
The aircraft carrier features a long, full surface feature of the facilities for carrying, arming, and recovering fighter aircraft. This massive warship also has a fantastic defense system to ensure the safety of the crew and combat troops.
If you love reading about military technologies, you are in for a treat! Here are some interesting facts about aircraft carriers that will blow your mind.
1. The World’s Largest Aircraft Carrier
Size is one of the most critical factors of an aircraft carrier. The carrier’s large capacity can accommodate many fighter planes, soldiers, and crew. This is very useful for winning the war.
Aircraft carriers are generally huge, but do you know which one is the largest in the world? United States soldiers can be proud that the largest aircraft carrier in the world is theirs. The Gerald R. Ford Class is, in fact, the largest aircraft carrier in the world.
This aircraft carrier belonging to the United States Navy has dimensions of 33 m length x 77 m beam x 76 m height. The Gerald R. Ford Class also features 2 nuclear reactors and 4 shafts which can produce speeds of more than 30 knots. For weapons, this large aircraft carrier is equipped with Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, Rolling Airframe Missile, and a Close-in weapon system.
2. 5 Million Liters of Fuel for Just One Week!
Fuel is vital for aircraft carrier operation. Without an adequate amount of energy, the carrier cannot function optimally. The larger the vessel is, the more it consumes power. However, do you know how many liters of fuel a typical aircraft carrier needs?
In fact, an aircraft carrier powered by a conventional engine with 200 thousand horsepower will consume more than 5 million liters of fuel. That much fuel is needed to operate the ship for only 1 week non-stop! Can you imagine how much it would cost to buy this much fuel? Very expensive!
3. Employs the Nuclear Technology
Because of the astronomical fuel requirements, aircraft carriers began to look for alternative propulsion. The most efficient method to power the massive vessel is using nuclear reactors.
This began in the 1950s when the US Navy used radioactive materials as a power source for its combat submarines. The fuel has proven effective for traveling to the North Pole. Fuel consumption can also be significantly suppressed.
The amount of nuclear fuel required by the giant ship is less than 0.0001 percent of the amount of conventional energy. Such a surprising fact about nuclear-powered aircraft carriers! It is very efficient.
Uranium will provide a power supply for aircraft carriers for 1 week non-stop in minimal quantities. For instance, this advanced technology is being used by the Gerald R.Ford Class, owned by the United States Navy.
4. $2.5 million To Operate in a Day!
The enormous state-of-the-art aircraft carriers demand a lot of money. Did you know that the operating cost for the modern Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier is about $2.5 million per day?
What a fantastic value! Fuel, equipment and weapons maintenance, and crew salaries are the most significant part of the operating cost. Older carriers such as the Nimitz class also cost a lot of money. In fact, it is about $1.5 million per day to ensure the aircraft carrier is sea-worthy. It’s a great value, isn’t it?
5. Sophisticated GPS System
GPS systems play an essential role for aircraft carriers. In fact, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued regulations regarding the requirements and specifications for GPS systems for the approach and landing of combat ships.
Hence, the Navy is also required to provide a safe and comfortable landing mechanism. The carrier’s GPS control stations and fighter aircraft touchdown points must be seamless. The GPS will give precise coordinates so that the fighter aircraft can land perfectly. High-tech GPS and inertial measurement data are required for fighter aircraft approach and landing.
6. Huge Fuel Capacity for 20 Years of Operation
USS Ronald Reagan is an aircraft carrier with the largest fuel storage capacity. This advanced aircraft carrier is powered by nuclear fuel. The ship was launched in 2005, and it can operate for more than 20 years without refueling.
Due to increasingly advanced atomic technology, aircraft carriers can sail much longer than before. The Navy can fulfill the massive energy consumption through the advanced modern reactors.
7. Transport Complete Combat Aircraft Equipment and Parts
Do you know what items the carrier carries? The massive ship has enough space for tens to hundreds of fighter planes that can take off smoothly. Each section of the carrier’s air wing can accommodate nine squadrons for up to 80 aircraft onboard.
For instance, US carriers carry and load various fighter jets, tactical warning and control systems aircraft, subsonic jet aircraft, electronic warfare aircraft, and helicopters. The ship also has enough space to carry spare parts for the warplanes.
8. It’s Known As “City at Sea”
Did you know that people also call super aircraft carriers cities at sea? This is because the mother ship can carry up to 6000 people who can carry out various activities. People can work, eat, relax and do other activities for months without pulling over to the mainland.
In fact, various daily necessities are also available on the aircraft carrier, just like on land. Because of the size of the mother ship, a crew member who wants to move from one place to another must pass various stairs or very long corridors.
9. How Can Aircraft Carrier Float?
How can super heavy aircraft carriers float on the water? We can explain it through the fact that the bottom and hull of the ship can displace large volumes of water.
The volume of water displaced is heavier than the ship’s weight as a whole. So, the buoyant force of the water will be greater than the gravitational force of the mother ship.
For example, the Nimitz-class carriers have a total weight of about 99,000,000 kilograms but are capable of floating on water! Thanks to scientific research and super-advanced engineers, we can create a vessel that will not sink!
10. Undoubted Toughness: Even Storm Can’t Sink an Aircraft Carrier!
Safety is the most crucial factor for an aircraft carrier. Aircraft carriers are incredibly robust in construction, thanks to the most advanced technology and the best materials. The aircraft carrier can withstand various attacks from fighter planes and even natural disasters.
The resilience of aircraft carriers to natural disasters is not in question. In fact, it is complicated to sink an aircraft carrier. Thanks to its advanced weaponry, aircraft carriers can destroy any possible threat. If there is a high storm, the ship also has a sophisticated self-defense system. Thus, the damage caused by the bad weather is usually minimal
11. Always Escorted by Another Big Fleet
Due to their vital function on the battlefield, aircraft carriers require heavy protection. Every time the mother ship sails, many other large fleets of ships will accompany and protect the vessel. After all, it is a fact that aircraft carriers play a strategic role, so they become the number one target for the enemy.
These support ships are scattered in various positions where the mother ship is the center. An aircraft carrier accompanied and protected by a fleet is known as an aircraft carrier battle group. It is a unified whole. This is also done to ensure the safety of every fighter aircraft and crew onboard the aircraft carrier.
12. Which Countries in The World Have Aircraft Carriers?
Are you curious about which country has the most aircraft carriers? The more aircraft carriers, the stronger the navy is. A country can dominate battles at sea and in the air with an aircraft carrier.
By 2021, there will be around 46 aircraft carriers operating in various parts of the world. America is the country with the most aircraft carriers globally, with 11 aircraft carriers. Followed by Francis and Japan with a total of 4 aircraft carriers.
13. It Took Around $18 Billion To Build an Aircraft Carrier
Has it ever crossed your mind the cost required to build an aircraft carrier? Why does only the United States have more than 5 aircraft carriers? Is it that expensive?
Yes, the facts show that an aircraft carriers manufacturer would have to provide around US$13 billion in materials and labor. These costs become so high, an extra US$5 billion, because of the research and development phase. So, you will need a total of US$18 billion. That is why many countries do not have aircraft carriers.
14. Worst Aircraft Carrier Fire
The fire aboard the USS Forrestal was the worst aircraft carrier fire ever. This tragic event occurred during the Vietnam War, killing more than 160 crew members.
The incident happened because a rocket hit the fuel tank. It punched a large hole in the fuel tank and caused high-octane jet fuel to gush out and ignite. The fire caused a massive explosion like a bomb. Great fires then were unavoidable.
15. Using Augmented Reality (AR)
As technology advances, aircraft carriers also receive more sophisticated designs. For example, the Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier utilizes Augmented-reality (AR) technology. This feature provides more realistic insight into the carrier system to the crew.
The crew can operate the vessel’s system using an augmented-reality tablet that includes immersive 3D imaging of the floor plan, fuel system, and other systems. This technology provides a high level of design and manufacturing efficiency.
Those are the most unpredictable facts about aircraft carriers. Which point is your favorite? Are you sufficiently enlightened by these extraordinary facts?