The Defense News blog Intercepts recently posted a photo of nine “flattops” home for Christmas at Norfolk naval base. Of the nine, five are aircraft carriers – the DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, GEORGE H. W. BUSH, ENTERPRISE, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, and HARRY S TRUMAN. The other four are the amphibious assault ships – BATAAN, WASP, KEARSARGE, and IWO JIMA. The amphibious landing platform dock NEW YORK and a T-AKE dry cargo ammunition ship are also in port as are a number of smaller cruisers and submarines. The Navy makes a point of trying to gives its shipboard crews a chance to spend Christmas with their families.
The US Navy has significantly more aircraft carrier capacity than the rest of the world’s navies combined. According to Global Security: “America has nearly twice as many aircraft carriers – 20 – as the rest of humanity combined – 12 – and America’s aircraft carriers are substantially larger than almost all the other’s aircraft carriers. The Navy likes to call the big Nimitz class carriers “4.5 acres of sovereign and mobile American territory” — and all twenty American carriers of all classes add up to nearly 70 acres of deck space. Deckspace is probably a good measure of combat power. The rest of the world’s carriers have about 25 acres of deck space, approximately one third that of America’s [until 2011, this number was only 15 acres, but new Chinese and Italian vessels upped the total appreciably].”
Thanks to Ulrich Rudofsky and Phil Leon for contributing to the post.