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The world's 10 LARGEST aircraft carriers

July 07, 2014 12:00 IST

The world's 10 LARGEST aircraft carriers

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With Britain’s Queen Elizabeth unveiling the Royal Navy’s biggest ever aircraft carrier, which weighs more than 10,000 African elephants and is longer than the Houses of Parliament, Rediff.com presents the world’s 10 largest aircraft carriers. And, India’s INS Viraat stands proud at the eight position.

Nimitz Class, United States of America

The Nimitz Class, with a full load displacement of 97,000 tonne, is the world’s largest aircraft carrier.

The first carrier in the class was deployed in May 1975, while the tenth and last ship, USS George HW Bush (CVN 77), was commissioned in January 2009.

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The 332.8metre-long supercarrier features a 4.5-acre flight deck capable of carrying more than 60 aircraft. Each ship towers 20 stories above the water and can accommodate 3,000 to 3,200 ship’s company, 1,500 air wing and 500 other crew.

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Image: Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)


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HMS Queen Elizabeth

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HMS Queen Elizabeth

At 72,000 tons and 932-feet long, Britain’s largest ever warship in the history of the Royal Navy will be unveiled by the Queen.

The 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier was officially named as HMS Queen Elizabeth by the Queen.

The new Queen Elizabeth is capable of deploying the next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II jets, which are designed to take off from short runways and land vertically.

The ship can carry 1,600 people, 40 jets or helicopters and have a range of 16,100 kilometre.

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Image: An artist impression of HMS Queen Elizabeth


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Admiral Kuznetsov

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Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia

Admiral Kuznetsov is the only operational aircraft carrier in the Russian Navy.

Built by Nikolayev South shipyard, Kuznetsov ranks as the second largest aircraft carrier.

It has a displacement of 58,500 to 67,500 tonne.

The spacious 14,700m flight deck of the Admiral Kuznetsov can accommodate Su-33, MiG-29K and Su-25UTG/UBP STOVL fighters, as well as Ka-27S, Ka-27LD32 and Ka-27PLO helicopters.

The ship can accommodate 1,960 ship’s company, 626 air group and 40 flag staff.

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Liaoning

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Liaoning, China

Liaoning 16 is the only aircraft carrier in service with People’s Liberation Army Navy of China.

Initially developed as part of the Admiral Kuznetsov Class for the Soviet Union, Liaoning was earlier known by the names Riga and Varyag.

The aircraft carrier is armed with Type 1030 CIWS, HQ-10 missiles and anti-submarine warfare rocket launchers.

The vessel displacing more than 59,000 ton is powered by steam turbine propulsion.

Its flight deck can house about 50 aircraft, including fixed wing planes and helicopters.

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Charles de Gaulle

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Charles de Gaulle (R91), France

The Charles de Gaulle (R91) aircraft carrier, the first French nuclear-powered surface ship, is the largest warship in Western Europe.

It is also the only nuclear-powered carrier in service outside of the US Navy.

It can support the operations of 40 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters including Rafale M, Super Étendard, E-2C Hawkeye, SA365 Dauphin, EC725 Caracal and AS532 Cougar.

The vessel with a full load displacement of 42,000 ton carries 1,350 ship’s company and 600 air wing.

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Sao Paulo

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Sao Paulo, Brazil

Sao Paulo (A12) weighs more than 32,000 tons at full load.

It is a Clemenceau-Class aircraft carrier currently operated by the Brazilian Navy.

Originally commissioned by French Navy in 1963 as Foch (R99), the carrier was sold to Brazil in 2000.

The Sao Paulo can complement 1,920 crew, including 1,338 ship's company and 582 Air Group crew.

Its flight deck can accommodate 39 aircraft including fighters, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

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Cavour

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Cavour, Italy

The Cavour (550) with a full load displacement of 30,000 ton serves as the flagship of the Italian Navy.

The Cavour features a 232.6m x 34.5 metre flight deck, which can accommodate fixed-wing aircraft such as AV-8B Harrier and JSF as well as EH101, AB212, NH 90 and SH3D helicopters.

The vessel can complement 1,292 crew, including troops.

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INS Viraat

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INS Viraat, India

INS Viraat, the eight largest aircraft carrier in the world, is a Centaur-Class aircraft carrier operated by the Indian Navy.

INS Viraat has a full load displacement of 28,700 ton and carries up to 30 fixed and rotary wing aircraft, such as Sea Harrier, Westland Sea King, HAL Chetak and HAL Dhruv.

It complements a crew of 1,350, including 43 officers.

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HMS Illustrious

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HMS Illustrious, UK

HMS Illustrious is the only Invincible Class aircraft carrier currently in service.

The 22,000 tonne vessel serves the Royal Navy as a high-readiness helicopter and commando carrier.

Commissioned in June 1982, the HMS Illustrious can accommodate helicopters such as Merlin, Sea King, Lynx or Apache and Chinook.

It is mainly deployed in escort duties and counter-piracy operations. 

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Giuseppe Garibaldi

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Giuseppe Garibaldi (551), Italy

Giuseppe Garibaldi (551) has a full load displacement of 13,370 tonne.

The highly-flexible vessel was built by the Italian company Fincantieri, for the Italian Navy.

Giuseppe Garibaldi was commissioned into the Italian Navy in September 1985.

It can support the operations of helicopters and vertical or short take-off and landing aircraft.

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