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Thursday, 17 December 2015

FLEETS #15: Russian Navy

Some of the heaviest surface combatants of Russian Navy today in formation,
Marshal Ustinov in the foreground and Peter the Great in the background.
The U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), published an excellent report accompanied by some very good graphs, about the current and future capabilities of Russia's maritime forces. ONI's most recent unclassified report on Russia's navy, The Russian Navy - A Historic Transition, looks historically and currently at the role played by Russian Naval forces. It is the first such report discussing the Russian Federation Navy by ONI since the seventh and last issue of Understanding Soviet Naval Developments published in 1991. The document is titled  "The PLA Navy: New Capabilities and Missions for the 21st Century", and you can read it here. Moreover, the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) is making available publicly two great tables, the one about the Russian Major Navy Forces by Fleet, Russian Major Navy Forces by Fleet (Continued) and Russian Navy New Constructions.

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Monday, 14 December 2015

INFOGRAPHICS OF COAST GUARD VESSELS #2: United States, Venezuela and Albania

Written by D-Mitch


This is the second post of a new category of infographics of various coast guard vessels from around the world. These infographics aim to highlight the most important equipment of the vessels; I do not analyze the systems in depth as I do for the warships instead I provide some basic information mainly from wikipedia (if else I provide the source) about the ships, their history and their capabilities.
 1.  Legend class cutters (National Security Cutters - NSCs) of the United States Coast Guard
USCGC Bertholf 
USCGC Bertholf with open hangars
NSCs are the flagship of the Coast Guard's cutter fleet, designed to replace the 115-meter Hamilton-class High-Endurance Cutters, which entered service during the 1960s. Ingalls has delivered five till today with one more being on sea trials. The Legend-class cutters are the second longest of all U.S. Coast Guard cutters, behind the research icebreaker Healy, and will replace the twelve Hamilton class cutters in service. These cutters are envisioned by the Coast Guard as being able to undertake the entire range of the High Endurance Cutter roles with additional upgrades to make it more of an asset to the Department of Defense during declared national emergency contingencies (the NSC is built to about 90% military standards). These vessels can be used for intercepting suspect vessels, or for rescuing swimmers, fishery protection, maritime homeland security missions, counter terrorism, or coastal patrol missions. To facilitate intercept missions, the Legend class can carry and launch both the 7-meter Short Range Prosecutor and the 11-meter Long Range Interceptor RHIBs.

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Sunday, 6 December 2015

PHOTO GALLERY #10: Kountouriotis, frigate of the Hellenic Navy

Frigate Kountouriotis of the Hellenic Navy
Today, December 6th of 2015, Hellenic Navy celebrates the feast day of its patron Saint, Saint Nicholas and the anniversary of the Balkan Wars (1912-13) naval battles. Such day of the year is a great opportunity for citizens of Athens and Piraeus to visit warships of Hellenic Navy that visit Piraeus for three days (Dec 4-6) to pay tribute to the patron saint of sailors and to give the opportunity to the citizens to "learn more" about their country's Navy. Once again for the second time in a row I was there! F462 Kountouriotis, is one of the nine (ten once, Bouboulina was decommissioned in 2013) of the Elli class frigates (Kortenaer/Standard class) of the Hellenic Navy. The name pays tribute to Pavlos Kountouriotis who was a famous Greek admiral and naval hero during the Balkan Wars, regent, and the first and third President of the Second Hellenic Republic. For a full analysis of the equipment and the capabilities of the Elli class click here. Enjoy about 60 photos of the ship!

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PHOTO GALLERY #9: Roussen, fast attack craft of the Hellenic Navy

Roussen, lead ship of the Roussen class FACM
Today, December 6th of 2015, Hellenic Navy celebrates the feast day of its patron Saint, Saint Nicholas and the anniversary of the Balkan Wars (1912-13) naval battles. As such day of the year is a great opportunity for citizens of Athens and Piraeus to visit warships of Hellenic Navy that visit Piraeus for three days (Dec 4-6) to pay tribute to the patron saint of sailors and to give the opportunity to the citizens to "learn more" about their country's Navy. Once again for the second time in a row I was there! P67 Roussen, is the first boat of the Roussen class, the most modern surface combatants in service with Hellenic Navy and some of the most well armed and advanced boats in this category worldwide. The class is named after its lead ship in honor of Second Mate Nikolaos Roussen, a distinguished World War II submarine officer. Roussen fought bravely during the war but he found death in April 1944 after being mortally wounded during a naval mutiny while he was leading a naval detachment to recapture corvette Apostolis. This is the second boat of the Roussen class I have visited (Daniolos was my first!) but this time I was given the permission to have access on the upper deck. Photos of the interior of the ships are forbidden as usual. For a full analysis of the equipment and the capabilities of the class click here. Enjoy more than 35 photos of the boat!

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PHOTO GALLERY #8: Pipinos, submarine of the Hellenic Navy

S121 Pipinos, second of the Papanikolis class
Today, December 6th of 2015, Hellenic Navy celebrates the feast day of its patron Saint, Saint Nicholas and the anniversary of the Balkan Wars (1912-13) naval battles. As such day of the year is a great opportunity for citizens of Athens and Piraeus to visit warships of Hellenic Navy that visit Piraeus for three days (Dec 4-6) to pay tribute to the patron saint of sailors and to give the opportunity to the citizens to "learn more" about their country's Navy. Once again for the second time in a row I was there! S121 Pipinos, is the second submarine of the Papanikolis class (Type 214 designation for the Hellenic Navy) of the Hellenic Navy, the most advanced submarines currently in service with Hellenic Navy and a class of one of the most advanced submarines in this category (diesel-electric/conventional submarine). The name pays tribute to Andreas Pipinos who was a fighter in the Greek War of Independence, noted for his success with fireships. This is the second submarine of Type 214 class I have visited (Papanikolis was my first!). Enjoy more than 20 photos of the boat!

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Wednesday, 2 December 2015

FLEETS #14: Swedish Navy, Israeli Navy and Egyptian Navy today

Written by D-Mitch

This is the fifth article about various countries' navies today. In these articles, I briefly describe a country's naval fleet by reporting the ships in each type/category of warships and by providing a nice image where all the types of warships are illustrated and the units of its class are reported. I include the vessels that will enter in service this year and I have excluded those that are about to be decommissioned. I deliberately excluded many classes of auxiliary ships; those that they have "0" defence capacity and those that have secondary roles such as hydrographic survey ships, tugs, depollution vessels and training ships.

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Thursday, 26 November 2015

NAVAL FORCES #7 and INFOGRAPHICS #19: Submarines of Europe, Mediterranean Sea and Asia-Pacific in 2015

The following images were created by Naval Graphics (twitter acount: Naval_Graphics) and they depict the submarines that are operational in Europe, Mediterranean Sea and the region of Asia-Pacific as of late 2015. All the images are posted here with his perimission. Enjoy these absolutely excellent graphs!

Submarines of Europe and Mediterannean Sea in 2015. By Naval Graphics. Image in high resolution here.
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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

NAVAL FORCES #6: Naval Power in the Eastern Mediterranean in 2015

The following image was created by me (D-Mitch) in order to illustrate the major naval fleets in the Eastern Mediterranean. This image was included in a long and very detailed article (in Greek) titled ΝΑΥΤΙΚΕΣ ΕΞΕΛΙΞΕΙΣ ΣΤΗΝ ΑΝΑΤΟΛΙΚΗ ΜΕΣΟΓΕΙΟ (English: Naval Developments in the Eastern Mediterranean) that was written by me and fox2 and you can enjoy it in the above mentioned link. This article marks my new cooperation with fox2 at his blog idbam.blogspot.gr; more articles will follow in the future.

Naval Power in the Eastern Mediterranean in 2015. Image in high resolution here.
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Sunday, 15 November 2015

INFOGRAPHICS OF COAST GUARD VESSELS #1: Greece, Turkey and Romania

Written by D-Mitch

With this new post I begin a new category of infographics of various coast guard vessels from around the world. These infographics aim to highlight the most important equipment of the vessels; I do not analyze the systems in depth as I do for the warships instead I provide some basic information mainly from Wikipedia (if else I provide the source) about the ships, their history and their capabilities.

1. Dost class offshore patrol vessels of the Turkish Coast Guard
Guven OPV. Photo: Combat Master
The CMS of Guven. Photo: Combat Master
The contract for the construction of four Dost class offshore patrol vessels at RMK Marine Shipyard was signed on 16 January 2007. These large ships were commissioned the period 2013-2014. The design of the these ships are based on the Sirio class offshore patrol vessels produced by Italian Fincantieri. With the commissioning of these ships, the Turkish Coast Guard is able to perform its duties mainly search and rescue in sea state 5 and higher. These ships are the first Turkish Coast Guard vessels that can support helicopter operations. (source: turkishnavy.net)

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Thursday, 29 October 2015

HISTORY #4: Age of Sail largest warships

Compiled information from Wikipedia articles by D-Mitch

In the previous post I included a number of infographics of various types of warships from the Age of Sail, the period lasting from the 16th to the mid-19th century where naval warfare was dominated by sailing ships armed with cannons. In this post I will describe briefly some of the the largest, most powerful and advanced warships of that era.

HMS Victoria the largest wooden warship which ever entered service
HMS Victoria was the last British wooden first-rate three-decked ship of the line commissioned for sea service. With a displacement of 6,959 tons, she was the largest wooden battleship which ever entered service. She was also the world's largest warship until the completion of HMS Warrior, Britain's first ironclad battleship, in 1861. Victoria´s hull was 79.2 metres (260 ft) long and 18.3 metres (60 ft) wide. She had a medium draught of 8.4 metres (27.5 ft). Her hull was heavily strapped with diagonal iron riders for extra stability. Victoria was the first British battleship with two funnels. She was armed with a total of 121 guns (32 8-inch smooth-bore muzzle-loading guns on the lower gun deck, 30 8-inch (200 mm) guns on the central gun deck, 32 32-pounders on the upper gun deck, 26 32-pounders and one 68-pounder on the upper deck). Victoria was ordered on 6 January 1855, laid down on 1 April 1856 at Portsmouth, and launched on 12 November 1859. She cost a total of £150,578 (2010: £11,764,000) and had a complement of 1,000. During trials in Stokes Bay on 5 July 1860 Victoria reached a top speed of 11.797 knots (21.848 km/h), making her the fastest three decker worldwide, along with the French Bretagne

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INFOGRAPHICS #18: Age of Sail warships (collection)

The anatomy of an 18th c Man-of-War
In this post I have included a number of infographics of various types of warships from the Age of Sail, the period lasting from the 16th to the mid-19th century where naval warfare was dominated by sailing ships armed with cannons. The end of the sail began in the late 1840s when the steam technology became available. Many ships that were intended to be built as sailing ships they received during their construction or shortly after their launch, engines and screw propeller. The largest, the most powerful and advanced warships of that era will be presented in summary in a next post, the HISTORY #4: Age of Sail largest warships. A great look inside HMS Victory, Lord Nelson's famous flagship (104-gun first-rate ship of the line) at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and world's oldest naval ship still in commission, can be found here.


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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary - Today, past and future (a quick overview)

Written by D-Mitch

RN warships from WWI to 2010. By www.dailymail.co.uk
In this post I aim to present in brief the impressive decline of the United Kingdom's naval force (Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary) through the last decades as well as the current and the future status of the fleet and its synthesis according to the decisions that have been taken the last years. I will not describe all the kind of cuts in the numbers of the various warship categories and craft neither I will expand upon this topic as numerous other very good sites (first of all the savetheroyalnavy.org that its main aim is to put pressure on the UK government to properly resource the RN, others such as the ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot.com, the britisharmedforcesreview.wordpress.com, the thinkdefence.co.uk, the ukdefencejournal.org.uk and more) have focused and analyze thoroughly this issue and the decline of UK's naval power. My main target is to summarize in a simple way the UK's naval power through the last decades by using a variety of infographics, charts and useful information compiled from some good sources.

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Saturday, 19 September 2015

FLEETS #13: French Navy, Portuguese Navy and Finnish Navy today

Written by D-Mitch

This is the fifth article about various countries' navies today. In these articles, I briefly describe a country's naval fleet by reporting the ships in each type/category of warships and by providing a nice image where all the types of warships are illustrated and the units of its class are reported. I include the vessels that will enter in service this year and I have excluded those that are about to be decommissioned. I deliberately excluded many classes of auxiliary ships; those that they have "0" defence capacity and those that have secondary roles such as hydrographic survey ships, tugs, depollution vessels and training ships.

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Monday, 31 August 2015

INFOGRAPHICS #17: Russian Navy submarines (collection)

The past meets the present! Typhoon and Borei SSBN class
This is a collection of fifteen (15) infographics about Russian Navy submarines. The majority of them refer to those vessels that are currently in active service. Please keep in mind that the data on the infographics might not be completely accurate, some of the reported numbers are approximations such as the operational depth, the submerged speed, other capabilities or even the number of submarines that are in active service. As somebody can guess, this is classified information.

The first infographic was created by the talented artist Anton Egorov and it depicts in one image all the submarines that are currently in service with the Russian Navy and their main characteristics and capabilities.

Russian Navy submarines by Anton Egorov High resolution image here.

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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

INFOGRAPHICS #16 and HISTORY #3: Battleships of WWII!

Written by D-Mitch

IJN Yamato in 1941. The ship, together with its sister-ship,
IJN Musashi, were the only super-battleships that saw action.
This article is devoted to the battleships, the most powerful ships to sail the waves and the pride of every navy from 1880 to the early '40s. These large warships with the impressive gun armament, the so-called "Castles of Steel" or "The Floating Fortresses", were a symbol of naval dominance and national might, and for decades the battleship was a major factor in both diplomacy and military strategy. The following image (compiled by iksanov) depicts individual battleships and battlecruisers of major battleship classes as they were in a specific year (camouflage, prior or after a modernization, etc.). The majority of them served during WWII with very few exceptions such as the España class battleship Jaime I (n.28) or the HMS Vanguard (n.2) that was commissioned in 1946 (I modified the original image because instead of Vanguard, it had the Sovetsky Soyuz-class battleship, a ship that was never completed and commissioned). Somebody can notice also that not all the battleship classes are included, such examples are the Conte di Cavour class of Italy, the New Mexico and Pennsylvania classes of the United States of America, the Ise class of Japan and many more classes of the United Kingdom. For a brief overview of all the battleship classes (ironclads, pre-dreadnoughts, dreadnoughts, battleships and fast battleships), including those that were never commissioned, you can read here (I noticed quickly that some classes are missing though such as the Espana class). About the individual battleships within the classes you can find them here where they are listed alphabetically. Please notice that the silhouettes have not been created by me but by anonymous users in the web (if somebody found an author or the authors please send me a message!)


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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

INFOGRAPHICS #15 and HISTORY #2: United States Navy aircraft carriers (1922 - today)

Original article (link) by Annalisa Underwood
Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division, U.S. Navy

The article was improved by D-Mitch, with the addition of information, images, table (original table before the corrections here) and with the inclusion of the escort aircraft carrier classes.


Text and map of the current U.S. Navy aircraft carrier museums by (the excellent!) Jeff Head (link).


The evolution of the United States Navy aircraft carrier from 1922 till present:

Evolution of the USN aircraft carrier. Image: Annalisa Underwood and James Caiella.
High resolution image here.
The U.S. Navy’s first aircraft carrier, USS Langley (CV-1), was converted from the collier USS Jupiter (AC-3) and recommissioned March 20, 1922. Langley had a displacement of 11,500 tons and measured 542 feet in length. She could travel at a speed of 15.5 knots (17.8 mph) and boasted a crew of 468 personnel. Though Langley was not the first ship with an installed flight deck or the first ship from which an airplane had taken off, her service marked the birth of the era of the carrier. She was also the sight of the first carrier catapult when her commanding officer, Cmdr. Kenneth Whiting, was catapulted from her deck.

USS Langley (CV-1) in 1927
In his book “U.S. Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History,” Norman Friedman noted that the Langley did not have a hangar deck in the modern sense because aircraft were not stowed ready for flight. They were actually assembled on the upper deck, loaded into the single elevator, and then hoisted onto the flight deck. She was also equipped with two lift cranes, two flight-deck catapults, and carried 36 aircraft. And according to Norman Polmar in his book “Aircraft Carriers: A History of Carrier Aviation and its Influence on World Events”, the arresting gear on Langley consisted of “wires running fore and aft suspended about 10 inches above the deck” to which the hook of an aircraft would attach to slow the landing. He added that this system of fore-and-aft wires was used on U.S. carriers until 1929 when the Navy began developing a hydraulic arresting gear that could handle high-speed aircraft landings.

USS Lexington (CV-2) in 1938
In 1927 the Lexington class aircraft carriers, USS Lexington (CV-2) and USS Saratoga (CV-3), were commissioned. Originally designed as battlecruisers, these carriers were much more efficient than Langley. At 888 feet in length and with a displacement of 37,000 tons, the Lexington class carriers traveled at a speed of 33.3 knots (38.3 mph) — more than double the speed of Langley. According to Siegfried Breyer’s “Battleships and Battlecruisers 1905-1970,” the Lexington class carriers featured a new bow called the bulbous bow which reduced water resistance by an average of six percent, supported the forecastle and reduced bending stress on the hull. A proper hangar, two elevators and one aircraft catapult housed and handled the 78 aircraft that Lexington class carriers were designed to carry. By 1942, these carriers accommodated 2,791 personnel.

USS Ranger (CV-4) in 1938
USS Ranger (CV-4), commissioned in 1934, was the first ship of the U.S. Navy to be designed and built from the keel up as an aircraft carrier. She had a displacement of 14,500 tons, measured 769 feet in length, traveled at a speed of 29.3 knots (33.7 mph), and supported a complement of 2,461 personnel as built. At her maximum, she carried 86 aircraft and was equipped with three elevators and three catapults.

USS Yorktown (CV-5) in 1937
Immediately following Ranger was the Yorktown class, whose lead ship, USS Yorktown (CV-5), was commissioned in 1937. USS Enterprise (CV-6) and USS Hornet (CV-8) were also part of this class. The fast and versatile Yorktown class carriers had a displacement of 20,100 tons, measurement of 809 feet in length, traveling speed of 32.5 knots (37.4 miles per hour), and a complement of 2,919 personnel. They carried up to 90 aircraft and were equipped with three elevators and two flight deck catapults. Yorktown was actually the first carrier to use hydraulic catapults. The Yorktown class carriers suffered heavy losses during World War II, but its sole survivor, USS Enterprise (CV-6), went on to become the most decorated U.S. ship of the war.

USS Long Island (CVE-1) in 1944

Silhouettes of the USN aircraft carriers in WWII
On 11 January 1940, the U.S. Navy launched its first escort aircraft carrier (CVE), the USS Long Island, originally AVG-1, later ACV-1 then CVE-1. The second and last ship of the class—HMS Archer (D78)—was launched on 14 December 1939, and served in the Royal Navy through World War II. The United States continued with a massive production of escort carriers throughout the WWII to meet the increasing operational needs for aircraft carriers. These carriers were typically half the length and a third the displacement of larger fleet carriers. While they were slower, carried fewer planes and were less well armed and armored, escort carriers were cheaper and could be built quickly, which was their principal advantage. Escort carriers could be completed in greater numbers as a stop-gap when fleet carriers were scarce. However, the lack of protection made escort carriers particularly vulnerable and several were sunk with great loss of life.The Bogue class were a group of escort carriers built in the United States (in total 45 vessels were built!) for service with the U.S. Navy (11 ships) and (under lend-lease) the Royal Navy during World War II. The ships operated by the Royal Navy were renamed and grouped as the Attacker class and the Ruler class. The last ship of the class was decommissioned in 1946. The Bogue class was succeeded the Sangamon class, a group of four escort aircraft carriers of the United States Navy that served during World War II. The last ship of the class was decommissioned in 1947. The Sangamon class was succeeded by the Avenger/Charger class. There were three Avenger class escort carriers in service with the Royal Navy during the Second World War and one ship of the class in the United States Navy called the Charger Type of 1942 class escort carrier. All ships were decommissioned in 1947 except the HMS Biter that was sold to France in 1945 and served in the French Navy as Dixmude till 1956. The Casablanca class escort aircraft carriers followed. These are the most numerous class of aircraft carriers ever built. Fifty were laid down, launched and commissioned within the space of less than two years - 3 November 1942 through to 8 July 1944. These were nearly one third of the 151 carriers built in the United States during the WWII. Five were lost to enemy action during World War II and the remainder were scrapped. The first class to be designed from keel up as an escort carrier, the Casablanca class had a larger and more useful hangar deck than previous conversions. It also had a larger flight deck than the Bogue class. The Casablanca class escort carriers were succeeded by the 19 carriers of the Commencement Bay class. Unlike most earlier CVE classes which were laid down as something else and converted to aircraft carriers mid-construction, the Commencement Bays were built as carriers from the keel up. Their general layout was similar to the Sangamon-class escort carriers, but some of the Sangamon's engineering shortcomings were addressed. USS Commencement Bay launched on 9 May 1944, so most of them saw little or no operational service. After the war they were seen as potential helicopter, anti-submarine, or auxiliary (transport) carriers, and a number of ships served in these roles during the Korean War. The last vessel was decommissioned in 1971. The Commencement Bay-class ships were seen as the finest escort carriers ever built.

USS Wasp (CV-7) in 1940
USS Wasp (CV-7) was a United States Navy aircraft carrier commissioned in 1940 and lost in action in 1942. She was the sole ship of a class built to use up the remaining tonnage allowed to the U.S. for aircraft carriers under the Washington Naval Treaty. After the construction of the carriers Yorktown and Enterprise, the U.S. was still permitted 15,000 long tons (15,000 t) to build a carrier.As a reduced-size version of the Yorktown-class aircraft carrier hull, Wasp was more vulnerable than other United States aircraft carriers available at the opening of hostilities.

USS Essex (CV-9) in 1943
First commissioned in 1942 with the USS Essex (CV-9), Essex class carriers included an impressive fleet of 24 ships and served as the core of the U.S. Navy’s combat strength during World War II. Better design features made Essex class carriers more resilient and efficient. For example, simultaneous launch and recovery operations became possible when Essex class USS Antietam (CVA-36) made her debut as America’s first angled-deck aircraft carrier. Additional features of Essex class carriers included bigger hangar space; better machinery arrangement and armor protection; a portside deck edge elevator (originating from her predecessor, USS Wasp); advanced radio and radar equipment; and the incorporation of the “long-hull” or “Ticonderoga class” Essexes. The long-hull Essexes were constructed with a lengthened bow above the waterline which provided deck space for two quadruple 40mm mounts. The flight decks were also shortened forward to provide better arcs of fire. Continuous improvements to the Essex class carriers enabled them to serve through World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and assist in the space program until 1973.

Essex class carrier modernizations 1940-1960 (read the following paragraph).
High resolution image here.
Seven aerial photographs showing the major different modernizations of the U.S. Navy Essex-class aircaft carriers (l-r): USS Franklin (CV-13), a "short hull" type as delivered, 21 February 1944. Franklin, USS Bunker Hill (CV-17), USS Boxer (CV-21), USS Princeton (CV-37), USS Tarawa (CV-40), USS Valley Forge (CV-45) and USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) received no or little modernization. USS Wasp (CV-18), after her Ship Characteristics Board Program-27A (SCB-27A) conversion in late 1951: new hydraulic catapults, new island, removal of the deck guns, new bow. Modernized as such were USS Essex (CV-9), USS Yorktown (CV-10), USS Hornet (CV-12), USS Randolph (CV-15), Wasp, USS Bennington (CV-20), USS Kearsarge (CV-33) and USS Lake Champlain (CV-39). USS Oriskany (CV-34) was completed as such. USS Hancock (CV-19) after her SCB-27C modernization, circa 1955: like SCB-27A but new steam catapults and relocation of the aft elevator to the deck edge. USS Intrepid (CV-11) and USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) also received SCB-27C. USS Antietam (CV-36) after the installation of an experimental angled deck, circa 1954. USS Bennington (CV-20) after SCB-125: enclosed hurricane bow, angled deck, starboard deckedge elevator. USS Essex (CV-9), USS Yorktown (CV-10), USS Hornet (CV-12), USS Randolph (CV-15), Wasp, USS Bennington (CV-20) and USS Kearsarge (CV-33) received SCB-125. USS Hancock (CV-19) after SCB-125 in April 1957. The three SCB-27C ships had the starboard deckedge elevator located further aft. The forward elevator was enlarged. USS Oriskany (CV-34) received SCB-125A, here on 30 May 1974. Similar to SCB-27C/SCB-125, only the starboard deckedge elevator was located further forward, as with the SCB-27A/SCB-125 ships. USS Lexington (CV-16), USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31) and USS Shangri-La (CV-38) received SCB-27C/SCB-125 in one refit but had the starboard elevator in the same position as Oriskany.

USS Independence (CVL-22) in 1943
USS Saipan (CVL-48) in 1956
In 1943, the nine smaller and faster Independence class carriers followed the Essex class, but design plans had been underway for a carrier with an armored flight deck that could accommodate more planes than any other carrier yet. In 1944, the two Saipan class aircraft carriers followed the Independence class. Like the Independence-class light aircraft carriers (CVL), they were based on cruiser hulls. However, they differed from the earlier light carriers in that they were built from the keel up as carriers, and were based on heavy rather than light cruiser hulls.


USS Midway (CV-41) in 1952 prior her modernization
So when USS Midway (CV-41) was commissioned in 1945, it was no surprise that it became one of the longest-lasting carrier designs in history. Midway class ships retained their strength at the hangar deck level and the armored flight deck was part of the superstructure. The original design of the Midway class supported up to 130 aircraft, but coordinating that many planes would be ineffective and problematic. All three Midway class ships underwent modernizations in the 1950s and were fitted with angled decks, steam catapults and mirrored landing systems that allowed them to accommodate the new, heavier naval jets.

USS Forrestal (CVA-59) in 1962 prior her modernization in the '80s
USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) in 2007
The 1950s marked the development of the U.S. Navy’s “super-carriers” beginning with USS Forrestal (CVA-59), commissioned in 1955. Ships in this class measured 1,036 feet in length with a displacement of 56,000 tons and a fully integrated angled deck. They could carry up to 90 aircraft and had the most spacious hangar and flight decks. The Forrestal class was succeeded by Kitty Hawk class super-carriers in the early '60s with only minor changes, followed by the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CVN-65), commissioned in 1961. At 1,101 feet (342m) in length, she was the longest naval vessel in the world (decom. in 2012).

On 31 July 1964, USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) (bottom), USS Long Beach (CGN-9) (center) and
USS Bainbridge (DLGN-25) (top) formed "Task Force One," the first nuclear-powered task force,
and sailed 26,540 nmi (49,190 km) around the world in 65 days. Accomplished without a single
refueling or replenishment, "Operation Sea Orbit" demonstrated the capability of nuclear-powered
surface ships.
USS Enterprise (CVN-65), celebrating five decades of service.
Image: Huntington Ingalls Industries. High resolution image here.
Following Enterprise was USS Kennedy (originally CVA-67, later CV-67) which was originally designed to be the fourth Kitty Hawk class super-carrier, but because so many modifications were made during construction, she formed her own class.

USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) departs Naval Station Mayport in 2003.
Aerial view of the U.S. Navy aircraft carriers of "Battle Force Zulu" following the 1991
Gulf War: USS Midway (CV-41), upper left; USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), upper right;
USS Ranger (CV-61), lower left; and USS America (CV-66), lower right.

Finally, the Nimitz class super-carriers are a group of 10 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers currently in service. These carriers use the catapult assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) system for faster launching and recovery. Additionally, the flight deck is angled at nine degrees to allow for simultaneous launch and recovery. Nimitz class carriers utilize only two nuclear reactors compared to the eight on Enterprise. According to Norman Polmar’s “The Naval Institute Guide to the Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet”, this improvement allows Nimitz class carriers to carry 90 percent more fuel and 50 percent more ordnance compared to the original Forrestal class.

CVN-71 Theodore Roosevelt cutaway. High resolution image here.

CVN-72 USS Abraham Lincoln
Slight structural differences, improvements, upgrades, new technologies and differences in the electronic equipment among the vessels in the class distinguish them unofficially in three subclasses: the Nimitz subclass (CVN-68 to CVN-70), Theodore Roosevelt subclass (CVN-71 to CVN-75) and the Ronald Reagan subclass (CVN-76 to CVN-77)

USS Nimitz (CVN-68) in 2009
Shock test of USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) during sea trials in 1987
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) in 2004
The aircraft carrier continues to evolve as the needs of the U.S. Navy change, and the next evolution of the carrier will be revealed when the Ford class carrier makes its scheduled debut in 2016. With a displacement of more than 90,000 tons, length of 1,092 feet, speeds capable of more than 30 knots (35 miles per hour), and the ability to support 4,297 personnel, she doesn’t seem much different than her predecessors. However, enhancements in the designs will allow her to operate even more efficiently. According to the U.S. Navy Fact File on Gerald R. Ford class carriers, “each ship in the new class will save more than $4 billion in total ownership costs during its 50-year service life, compared to the Nimitz-class.” Furthermore, the ship will be able to operate with fewer crew members, require less maintenance, and allow for 25 percent more sorties per day.

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) on the James River in 2013
In order to create an image with all the information about all the aircraft carriers that serve/served with the United States Navy, I used the information that is available in the official website of the U.S. Navy  (here) and I updated the information related to the fate of each vessel. Enjoy!

All the USN aircraft carriers. Source: navy.mil. Image: D-Mitch
High resolution image here.
Currently (July 2015) there are five US Navy Aircraft Carrier museums. Four are of Essex class carriers commissioned during World War II which underwent the SBC-125 refit in the 1950s to modernize them. All were commissioned in 1943 and served into modern times. The last, the USS Lexington, was decommissioned in 1991 after 48 years service. The other is the USS Midway, namesake of a larger class carrier built at the end of the war. She underwent two major refits, in the 1950s and in 1970 greatly enlarging her flight deck for modern aircraft. She was commissioned in 1945 and decommissioned in 1992 after 47 years service.

US Navy aircraft carrier museum ships today. Image: Jeff Head. High resolution image here.
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Friday, 26 June 2015

Ada class corvettes of the Turkish Navy

Written by D-Mitch
TCG Heybeliada, lead ship of the Ada class corvettes
The MILGEM project, from the Turkish words Milli Gemi (National Ship), is a Turkish national warship program with the aim to design and build locally a fleet of hi-tech stealth multipurpose corvettes and frigates that will replace older ships which are currently in service. Through this ambitious program, Turkey seeks to improve national military shipbuilding capacity and skills and ultimately to achieve independence from foreign weapon producers, designers and manufacturers. More than 50 local companies, including the largest Turkish defense firms such as Aselsan, Havelsan and RMK Marine, play a significant role in the MILGEM project, gaining invaluable experience in warship design and construction. The MILGEM Project Office of the Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command executes and coordinates the design, development and construction works of the MILGEM project since March 12, 2004. The programme initially included the construction of 12 ships in two batches (blocks, due to important differences among the batches). The first batch would have included eight (8) multipurpose corvettes the so-called MILGEM Block I (Ada; island in Turkish) class while the last four (4) would be of the TF-100 frigates equipped with vertical-launching system (VLS) for surface-to-air (SAM) missiles. This plan changed recently as the first batch will include only four corvettes of the Ada class, while all the rest ships will be designated as MILGEM Block II.

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Friday, 12 June 2015

WARSHIPS OF THE PAST: Almirante Grau cruiser of the Peruvian Navy

Written by D-Mitch
 
Almirante Grau (CLM-81) cruiser of the Peruvian Navy
There are very few navies in the world today that have cruisers in their inventories. Two of the world's superpowers, as somebody could expected, the USA and Russia, have such warships in their fleets, ships that exceed the 10,000tons displacement and of length greater than 170 meters. The U.S. Navy has the Ticonderoga class (22 ships in active service) while the giant Zumwalt class destroyers, ships that are superior to cruisers, are under construction. Russia has one Kirov class cruiser in active service with another one under re-construction, which are the largest and most heavily armed surface combatant in the world today (thus sometimes they are classified as battlecruisers) and three Slava class cruisers. There are also navies in Asia that have ships that are classified as destroyers despite the fact that they have a displacement over than 10,000tons and they carry a very heavy armament. Such navies are the Japanese Navy with the Atago class and South Korean Navy with the mighty Senjong the Great class that is equipped with 128-cell vertical launching system (!), ships that are equal to cruisers in size (except the length) and armament. However, there is one more country except the "big two" that has also a cruiser in her inventory, a country with an important naval tradition and with a strong fleet. This country is Peru. Peruvian Navy's flagship today is BAP Almirante Grau (CLM-81), the last 6in gun armed cruiser in the world, a cruiser that its main armament consists of.. guns!

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Thursday, 4 June 2015

WARSHIPS OF THE PAST: California class nuclear-powered cruisers of the United States Navy

Written by D-Mitch

USS California, lead ship of the class. Photo: O' Connor
The California class cruisers were two nuclear-powered guided missile cruisers operated by the United States Navy between 1974 and 1998. The class was built as a follow-up to the nuclear-powered Long Beach, Bainbridge, and Truxtun classes. Like all of the nuclear cruisers, which could steam for years between refueling, the California class was designed in part to provide high endurance escort for the navy's new Nimitz class nuclear aircraft carriers, which were often limited in range due to their conventionally powered escorts continuously needing to be refueled. A third ship was approved but it was soon cancelled in favor of the improved Virginia class. Other than their nuclear power supply and lack of helicopter hangars, the ships of California class were comparable to other guided missile cruisers of their era, such as the Belknap class. The Californias were considered larger and even more sophisticated than Truxtun, a nuclear-powered cruiser derivative of the Belknap class, and returned to the double-ended concept although using single-arm launchers.


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Monday, 1 June 2015

WARSHIPS OF THE PAST: Virginia class nuclear-powered cruisers of the United States Navy

Written by D-Mitch


USS Virginia (CGN-38) lead ship of the Virginia class nuclear-
powered cruisers, prior her refit in the '80s.
Elegant and heavily armed warships, the Virginia-class nuclear-powered guided-missile cruisers were a series of four double-ended (with armament carried both fore and aft) guided-missile cruisers commissioned in the late 1970s, which served in the United States Navy until the mid-to-late 1990s. A fifth warship, the CGN-42, was canceled before being named or laid down. With their nuclear power plants, and the resulting capability of steaming at high speeds for long periods of time, these were excellent escorts for the fast nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, such as the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Their main mission was as air-defense ships, though they did have excellent flagship facilities, capabilities as anti-submarine (ASW) ships, surface-to-surface warfare (SSW) ships, and in gun and missile bombardment of shore targets.

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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Jacob van Heemskerck class frigates of the Chilean Navy

Written by D-Mitch 

CS Almirante Latorre (FFG-14). Photo: Armada de Chile
The Jacob van Heemskerck class or else L-class of Chilean Navy (Armada de Chile ) is a class of two anti-aircraft warfare (AAW) frigates. These are ex-Royal Netherlands Navy (Koninklijke Marine) frigates and they are the air-defence version of the Kortenaer (Standard or else S-class). These two AAW frigates were built as replacements after two of the Standard class frigates (frigates n.6 and n.7) that were under construction for the  Royal Netherlands Navy were sold to Greece (Hellenic Navy) in 1980-81. The two vessels were launched the period 1983-84 and they were commissioned in 1986. In 2005 the two ships were sold to Chile. In Chilean service, the F-812 Jacob van Heemskerck was renamed FFG-14 Almirante Lattore and the F-813 Witte de With was renamed FFG-11 Capitán Prat.

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