All in all, there are 19 active aircraft carriers around the world. As you’ll see in this article, the vast majority of those belong to the United States. However, there are interesting technological developments being made in the world of aircraft carriers. Nations like England, China and Russia have exciting possibilities with carriers moving forward.
The definition of an aircraft carrier is fairly loose. With the United States’ Nimitz-class of “super carriers”, all others tend to shy away in size and capability. Some carriers are labeled more as helicopter-carriers than aircraft carriers. However, the simplest definition of an aircraft carrier is: a warship with a flight deck on which aircraft can be launched and landed. So with that in mind, we bring you all 19 active aircraft carriers from oldest to newest.
19USS Nimitz (CVN 68) – USA
- Commissioned: May 1975
- Home Port: Naval Base Kitsap, Washington State
- USS Nimitz Cost: $1 billion (FY1975)
The USS Nimitz is the oldest of the active aircraft carriers in the world. It is the namesake of its class of aircraft carriers. The Nimitz-class “supercarriers” take their name from famous U.S. Navy Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. The USS Nimitz is 1,092 feet long, 252 feet wide and 4.5 acres is the area of its flight deck. It’s powered by two nuclear power plants and reaches speeds upwards of 30 knots. The USS Nimitz processes 1 million pounds of mail per year. Its two barbershops trim more that 1,500 heads per week.
The USS Nimitz left Norfolk, Va. on July 7, 1976 – embarking for the Mediterranean on its first deployment. Shortly after, it was sent to the Indian Ocean as tensions heightened prior to the Iran Hostage Crisis. During the crisis, a rescue attempt involving helicopters launched from Nimitz, but was aborted while the helicopters flew over the Iranian Desert.