Every Aircraft Carrier in the World Ranked

The US has the biggest and more advanced aircraft carriers ever created.
Aircraft carrier transits through persian gulf

Aircraft carriers are the greatest war symbols, and they portray the military power of a country and are floating cities capable of taking the most formidable military missions… But, how many nations have aircraft carriers? Are they equivalent to the Ford-class aircraft carrier?

United States of America

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Midway
The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Midway by Manhhai, licensed under CC by 2.0.

The US is the country with the biggest number of aircraft carriers with a total of 11 aircraft carriers. The US employs 10 Nimitz-class and 1 Ford-class aircraft carrier.

All of them are nuclear-powered, and they are presumably the finest aircraft carriers in the world today. Notably, Gerald R. Ford is the most modern aircraft carrier. Four other Ford-class aircraft carriers are under construction: the USS John F. Kennedy, the USS Enterprise, the USS Doris Miller, and another one yet to be announced.  


United Kingdom

The Royal Navys new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth
HMS Queen Elizabeth in Gibraltar by Dave Jenkins, licensed under CC by 2.0.

The Royal Navy has 2 aircraft carriers: the HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. The Prince of Wales is the most significant aircraft carrier ever constructed in the UK. 

The UK is a great naval power, and like the US, it has had dozens of aircraft carriers in the last century. 


The Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning in the Southwestern Pacific
Liaoning by 日本防衛省·統合幕僚監部, licensed under CC by 4.0. 

China has 2 aircraft carriers, and a third in the pipeline. China is in a modernization process to boost its naval power.


Its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was Soviet-built and updated by China in 2012. In 2019, China launched the Shandong, the first Chinese-built aircraft carrier which is one of the finest aircraft carriers on the globe. 

Now, China is constructing a third aircraft carrier that will be an 85,000-ton, 40-plane high-tech feat including an electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS). 


Aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier by Sirpa Marine, licensed under CC by 4.0. 

The Charles de Gaulle is a nuclear-powered ship and can carry up to 40 aircraft (mostly Rafale aircraft). Additionally, France is already working on building a new aircraft carrier much bigger than the Charles De Gaulle to maintain its navy suitable for the next decades.



Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier
Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier by Ministry of Defense, licensed under CC by 4.0. 

Admiral Kuznetsov has been in service since 1990. It has powerful weapons and it is capable of carrying over 50 aircraft. Unfortunately, it’s aging fast, and it’s expected to stay in service only until 2025.


The aircraft carrier Cavour
Cavour by Gaetano56, licensed under CC by 3.0.

Italy has 2 aircraft carriers, the Cavour and Garibaldi. The Cavour is the most sophisticated aircraft carrier, and it can carry up to 12 helicopters or 8 aircraft.

The Garibaldi was the symbol of the Italian Navy until 2012 when the Cavour was ready to serve. It reaches a speed of 30 knots, a range of 7,000 miles, and can board up to 18 aircraft.



INS Vikramaditya escorted by INS Viraat
Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya by Indian Navy, licensed under CC by 1.0.

The INS Vikramaditya can carry up to 30 aircraft. A second aircraft carrier, the Vikrant (IAC-I) will be apt for carrying up to 40 modern aircraft.


DDH 181 aircraft carrier
DDH-181 by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force,  licensed under CC by 4.0.

Japan has four aircraft carriers. However, they aren’t advanced, and they only carry helicopters: Izumo, Kaga, Hyūga, and Ise… And each can carry up to 10 helicopters. 

South Korea

the republic of korea navy amphibious landing ship
The Republic of Korea Navy amphibious landing ship ROKS Dokdo by U.S. NAVY. Public Domain.

South Korea has 2 aircraft carriers serving as helicopter carriers, the Dokdo and Marado. South Korea is growing its fleet, and they revealed that a new aircraft carrier is under construction, and it’s expected to be ready in 2033.



Spanish aircraft Principe de Asturias in the port
The Spanish navy’s aircraft carrier PRINCIPE DE ASTURIAS by Alberto Pereira Picado, Licensed under CC by 3.0.

Juan Carlos I is an aircraft carrier with 2 elevators and a hangar. It can carry AV-8B Harrier II, F-35B fighter aircraft, and some helicopters.


Royal Thai Navy aircraft carrier HTMS
Chakri Naruebet by Alert5, licensed under CC by 1.0. 

The Chakri Naruebet is the aircraft carrier of Thailand, and it’s one of the smallest aircraft carriers in the world. Today, it’s barely operational, and it works just one day per month. 


Turkish Aircraft Navy during its construction
TCG Anadolu by 2020 Istanbul, licensed under CC by 1.0. 

Turkey has one aircraft carrier, the Anadolu. A hybrid amphibious/light aircraft carrier provided with a “ski-jump” ramp and the ability to launch amphibious landing crafts. 



Brasils Aircraft carrier
Operação Poseidon 2021 by Marinha do Brasil, licensed under CC by 2.0. 

Atlántico is an amphibious vessel with limited capacities as a floating helicopter platform that can take up to 6 Apache helicopters.

Wrapping Up

To be a military superpower, at least one aircraft carrier is required. Some countries like the US, UK, and Japan have had dozens of aircraft carriers, and some countries like China are expected to build modern aircraft carriers in the next future. But the US is the leading military power with 11 top-notch aircraft carriers.

Featured image credit: Aircraft carrier transits through persian gulf by U.S. Navy. Public Domain.


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