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Aircraft Carriers

Source Article: Aircraft Carrier Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. An aircraft carrier is a warship with a full-length flight deck and facilities for carrying, arming, deploying, and recovering aircraft, that serves as a seagoing airbase. Typically, it is the capital ship of a fleet, as it allows a naval force to project air power worldwide without depending on local bases for staging aircraft operations. It is e tremely e pensive to build and important to protect. Aircraft carriers have evolved from converted cruisers to nuclear-powered warships that carry numerous fighter planes, strike aircraft, helicopters, and other types of aircraft. There is no single definition of an !aircraft carrier! and modern navies use several variants of the type. These variants are sometimes categori"ed as sub-types of aircraft carriers, and sometimes as distinct types of aviationcapable ships. Aircraft carriers may be classified according to the type of aircraft they carry and their operational assignments. Admiral #ir $ark #tanhope, former head of the %oyal &avy, has said that !To put it simply, countries that aspire to strategic international influence have aircraft carriers!. Carriers have evolved since their inception in the early twentieth century from wooden vessels used to deploy balloons to nuclear-powered warships that carry do"ens of aircraft, including fighter jets and helicopters. Today, there are thirty-si aircraft carriers in the world within twelve navies. The 'nited #tates &avy has ten large nuclear-powered carriers, known as supercarriers, carrying up to ninety aircraft, the largest carriers in the world. As well as the supercarrier fleet, the '# &avy has nine amphibious assault ships used primarily for helicopters( these can also carry up to twenty-five fighter jets, and in some cases are as large as some other nations) fi edwing carriers. Source Article: History of Aircraft Carriers. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Aircraft carriers are warships that evolved from balloon-carrying wooden vessels into nuclear-powered vessels carrying scores of fi ed- and rotary-wing aircraft. #ince their introduction they have allowed naval forces to project air power great distances without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations. *alloon carriers were the first ships to deploy manned aircraft, used during the +,th and early -.th century, mainly for observation purposes. The advent of fi ed-wing aircraft in +,./ was followed in +,+. by the first flight from the deck of a '# &avy cruiser. #eaplanes and seaplane tender support ships, such as 0$# Engadine, followed. The development of flat top vessels produced the first large fleet ships. This evolution was well underway by the early to mid-+,-.s, resulting in the commissioning of ships such as Hsh 1+,--2, 0$# Hermes 1+,-32, *4arn 1+,-52, and the Lexington-class aircraft carriers 1+,-52. $ost early aircraft carriers were conversions of ships that were laid down 1or had even served2 as different ship types6 cargo ships, cruisers, battlecruisers, or battleships. 7uring the +,-.s, several navies started ordering and building aircraft carriers that were specifically designed as such. This allowed the design to be speciali"ed to their future role, and resulted in superior ships. 7uring the #econd 8orld 8ar, these ships would become the backbone of the carrier forces of the '#, *ritish, and 9apanese navies, known as fleet carriers. 8orld 8ar II saw the first large-scale use of aircraft carriers and induced further refinement of their launch and recovery cycle leading to several design variants. The '#A built small escort carriers, such as '## Bogue, as a stop-gap measure to provide air support for convoys and amphibious invasions. #ubse:uent light aircraft carriers, such as '## Independence, represented a larger, more !militari"ed! version of the escort carrier concept. Although the light carriers usually carried the same si"e air groups as escort carriers, they had the advantage of higher speed as they had been converted from cruisers under construction. 0$# Ark Royal was arguably the first modern aircraft carrier. #he was originally laid down as a merchant ship, but was converted on

the building stocks to be a hybrid airplane;seaplane carrier with a launch platform. <aunched on = #eptember +,+3, she served in the 7ardanelles campaign and throughout 8orld 8ar I. 7uring 8orld 8ar I the %oyal &avy also used 0$# Furious to e periment with the use of wheeled aircraft on ships. This ship was reconstructed three times between +,+= and +,-=6 first, while still under construction, it was modified to receive a flight deck on the fore-deck( in +,+5 it was reconstructed with separate flight decks fore and aft of the superstructure( then finally, after the war, it was heavily reconstructed with a three-:uarter length main flight deck, and a lower-level take-off only flight deck on the fore-deck. >n - August +,+5, #:uadron Commander ?.0. 7unning, %oyal &avy, landed his #opwith @up aircraft on 0$# Furious in #capa Alow, >rkney, becoming the first man to land a plane on a moving ship. 0e was killed = days later during another landing on Furious. >f carrier operations mounted during the war, one of the most successful took place on +, 9uly +,+B when seven #opwith Camels launched from 0$# Furious attacked the Cerman Deppelin base at Tondern, with two =. lb 1-/ kg2 bombs each. #everal airships and balloons were destroyed, but as the carrier had no method of recovering the aircraft, two of the pilots ditched their aircraft in the sea alongside the carrier while the others headed for neutral 7enmark.