US NAVY FACT FILE Aircraft Carriers CVB-42 USS Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Note: Letters in "quotes" following ships' names are the flight deck codes assigned to those ships. Corrections, Comments, Suggestions: Despite our vigorous efforts make this work as error-free as possible, some mistakes are sure to slip through. If you find an error, please send email to Andrew Toppan actoppan hazegray. We'll resolve the error and make any necessary corrections.

We also welcome comments, suggestions and additional material, which will be incorporated as time allows. However, please DO NOT send binary files photographs without contacting us first, to avoid overflowing mailboxes. Thank you! The lists may not be redistributed or published, in whole or in part, for any purpose without prior written permission.

The lists are not in the public domain. Please send email to Andrew Toppan if you would like to publish or distribute the lists. Unauthorized republication or distribution of these lists or the data contained herein will not be tolerated. Acknowledgements: A project of this sort is only possible with the generous assistance of many people. I would like to specifically thank several people who have been especially helpful.

Brooks Rowlett has been an invaluable source of photographs, data and opinions, and has proofread many of the lists.


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Alex Walton supplied many RN photos and related information. Jack Arrowsmith provided invaluable data on RN carrier pennant numbers. In addition, many other people have provided other data and material for this project.


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  • Submarine aircraft carriers , such as the French Surcouf and the Japanese I class submarine , which was capable of carrying 3 Aichi M6A Seiran aircraft, were first built in the s, but were generally unsuccessful at war. Modern navies that operate such ships treat aircraft carriers as the capital ship of the fleet, a role previously played by the battleship. The change, part of the growth of air power as a significant factor in warfare, took place during World War II. This change was driven by the superior range, flexibility and effectiveness of carrier-launched aircraft.

    Following the war, carrier operations continued to increase in size and importance. Most are powered by nuclear reactors and form the core of a fleet designed to operate far from home. Amphibious assault ships , such as Template:USS and Template:HMS , serve the purpose of carrying and landing Marines, and operate a large contingent of helicopters for that purpose. Also known as "commando carriers" or "helicopter carriers", many have a secondary capability to operate VSTOL aircraft.

    Lacking the firepower of other warships, carriers by themselves are considered vulnerable to attack by other ships, aircraft, submarines, or missiles, and therefore travel as part of a carrier battle group CVBG for their protection. Unlike other types of capital ships in the 20th century, aircraft carrier designs since World War II have been effectively unlimited by any consideration save budgetary, and the ships have increased in size to handle the larger aircraft. The large, modern Template:Sclass of United States Navy carriers has a displacement nearly four times that of the World War II-era Template:USS , yet its complement of aircraft is roughly the same—a consequence of the steadily increasing size of military aircraft over the years.

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    Though aircraft carriers are given their definition with respect to fixed-wing aircraft, the first known instance of using a ship for airborne operations occurred in , when the Royal Navy 's Lord Thomas Cochrane launched kites from the gun frigate Template:HMS in order to drop propaganda leaflets on the French territory. On 12 July , the Austrian Navy ship Vulcano launched a manned hot air balloon in order to drop bombs on Venice , although the attempt failed due to contrary winds. Later, during the American Civil War , about the time of the Peninsula Campaign , gas-filled balloons were used to perform reconnaissance on Confederate positions.

    The battles soon turned inland into the heavily forested areas of the Peninsula, however, where balloons could not travel. A coal barge, the George Washington Parke Custis , was cleared of all deck rigging to accommodate the gas generators and apparatus of balloons. From the barge Professor Thaddeus S. Lowe , Chief Aeronaut of the Union Army Balloon Corps , made his first ascents over the Potomac River and telegraphed claims of the success of the first aerial venture ever made from a water-borne vessel.

    Other barges were converted to assist with the other military balloons transported about the eastern waterways, but none of these Civil War crafts ever took to the high seas. Balloons launched from ships led to the development of balloon carriers , or balloon tenders, during World War I , by the navies of Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and Sweden. About ten such "balloon tenders" were built, their main objective being aerial observation posts. These ships were either decommissioned or converted to seaplane tenders after the war. The first seaplane carrier, the French La Foudre right, with hangar and crane , with one of her Canard Voisin seaplanes taking off, during tactical exercises in June The invention of the seaplane in March with the French Le Canard led to the earliest development of a ship designed to carry airplanes, albeit equipped with floats: in December appears the French Navy La Foudre , the first seaplane carrier , and the first known carrier of airplanes.

    USS FRANKLIN D ROOSEVELT CVB-42 May 1946 "Oper. Sleepless"

    Commissioned as a seaplane tender, and carrying float-equipped planes under hangars on the main deck, from where they were lowered on the sea with a crane, she participated in tactical exercises in the Mediterranean in Template:HMS , temporarily converted as an experimental seaplane carrier in April—May , was also one of the first seaplane carriers, and the first experimental seaplane carrier of the Royal Navy. She was originally laid down as a merchant ship, but was converted on the building stocks to be a seaplane carrier for a few trials in , before being converted again to a cruiser, and back again to a seaplane carrier in She was sunk by a German submarine in October Many cruisers and capital ships of the inter-war years often carried a catapult-launched seaplane for reconnaissance and spotting the fall of the guns.

    It was launched by a catapult and recovered by crane from the water after landing. Template:Fact Other Japanese seaplanes launched from tenders and warships sank merchant ships and conducted small-scale ground attacks. Template:Fact Spotter seaplane aircraft on U. Navy cruisers and battleships were in service until Seaplane fighters were considered poor combat aircraft compared to their carrier-launched brethren; they were slower due to the drag of their pontoons or boat hulls.

    List of aircraft carriers of the United States Navy | Revolvy

    Template:Fact The Curtiss Seahawk only had two 0. As heavier-than-air aircraft developed in the early 20th century, various navies began to take an interest in their potential use as scouts for their big gun warships. A number of experimental flights were made to test the concept. Eugene Ely was the first pilot to launch from a stationary ship in November On 18 January he became the first pilot to land on a stationary ship.

    He took off from the Tanforan racetrack and landed on a similar temporary structure on the aft of Template:USS anchored at the San Francisco waterfront—the improvised braking system of sandbags and ropes led directly to the arrestor hook and wires described below. His aircraft was then turned around and he was able to take off again. Commander Charles Rumney Samson , Royal Navy, became the first airman to take off from a moving warship on May 2 The Japanese seaplane carrier Wakamiya conducted the world's first naval-launched air raids in September The first strike from a carrier against a land target as well as a sea target took place in September when the Imperial Japanese Navy seaplane carrier Wakamiya conducted the world's first naval-launched air raids [7] from Kiaochow Bay during the Battle of Tsingtao in China.

    The attack was not a complete success, although a German warship was damaged; nevertheless the raid demonstrated in the European theatre the feasibility of attack by ship-borne aircraft and showed the strategic importance of this new weapon.

    Template:HMS , a seaplane carrier also equipped with two regular aeroplanes, was arguably the first modern aircraft carrier. Template:HMS was arguably the first modern aircraft carrier. Other carrier operations were mounted during the war, the most successful taking place on 19 July when seven Sopwith Camels launched from Template:HMS attacked the German Zeppelin base at Tondern , with two Template:Auto lb bombs each.


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    Several airships and balloons were destroyed, but as the carrier had no method of recovering the aircraft safely, two of the pilots ditched their aircraft in the sea alongside the carrier while the others headed for neutral Denmark. The first full-length flat deck, Template:HMS in Although exceptions were made regarding the maximum ship tonnage fleet units counted, experimental units did not , the total tonnage could not be exceeded. However, while all of the major navies were over-tonnage on battleships, they were all considerably under-tonnage on aircraft carriers.

    Consequently, many battleships and battlecruisers under construction or in service were converted into aircraft carriers. The first ship to have a full-length flat deck was Template:HMS , the conversion of which was completed in September , with the United States Navy not following suit until , when the conversion of Template:USS an experimental ship which did not count against America's carrier tonnage was completed.

    The first American fleet carriers would not enter service until November, when the Template:USS was commissioned. Template:USS was commissioned in December of that year. The first purpose-designed aircraft carrier to be laid down was the Template:HMS in By the late s, carriers around the world typically carried three types of aircraft: torpedo bombers , also used for conventional bombings and reconnaissance ; dive bombers , also used for reconnaissance in the U. Navy, aircraft of this type were known as "scout bombers" ; and fighters for fleet defence and bomber escort duties.

    Because of the restricted space on aircraft carriers, all these aircraft were of small, single-engined types, usually with folding wings to facilitate storage. Template:HMS was the world's first escort carrier. Aircraft carriers played a significant role in World War II. With seven aircraft carriers afloat, the Royal Navy had a considerable numerical advantage at the start of the war as neither the Germans nor the Italians had carriers of their own.

    This apparent weakness to battleships was turned on its head in November when Template:HMS launched a long-range strike on the Italian fleet at Taranto. This operation incapacitated three of the six battleships in the harbour at a cost of two of the 21 attacking Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers. Carriers also played a major part in reinforcing Malta , both by transporting planes and by defending convoys sent to supply the besieged island.

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    Aircraft Carrier

    The use of carriers prevented the Italian Navy and land-based German aircraft from dominating the Mediterranean theatre. Later in the war, escort carriers proved their worth guarding convoys crossing the Atlantic and Arctic oceans. Many of the major battles in the Pacific Ocean involved aircraft carriers. Japan started the war with ten aircraft carriers, the largest and most modern carrier fleet in the world at that time. There were six American aircraft carriers at the beginning of the hostilities, although only three of them were operating in the Pacific.

    Drawing on the Japanese development of shallow-water modifications for aerial torpedoes and the British aerial attack on the Italian fleet at Taranto, the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor was a clear illustration of the power projection capability afforded by a large force of modern carriers. Concentrating six carriers in a single striking unit marked a turning point in naval history, as no other nation had fielded anything comparable.