Ships of the United States Navy
Ships in current service
Ships grouped alphabetically
Ships grouped by type
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), foreground, alongside USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75), rear, in 2020
USS Enterprise (CVN-65), foreground, and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), rear, in 2011
USS Saratoga (CV-60), top, with USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), center, in 1990

Aircraft carriers are warships that act as airbases for carrier-based aircraft. In the United States Navy, these consist of ships commissioned with hull classification symbols CV (aircraft carrier), CVA (attack aircraft carrier), CVB (large aircraft carrier), CVL (light aircraft carrier), CVE (escort aircraft carrier) and CVN (aircraft carrier (nuclear propulsion)). Beginning with the Forrestal-class, (CV-59 to present) all carriers commissioned into service are classified as supercarriers.

The United States Navy has also used escort aircraft carriers (CVE, previously AVG and ACV) and airship aircraft carriers (ZRS). In addition, various amphibious warfare ships (LHA, LHD, LPH, and to a lesser degree LPD and LSD classes) can operate as carriers; two of these were converted to mine countermeasures support ships (MCS), one of which carried minesweeping helicopters. All of these classes of ships have their own lists and so are not included here.

Historical overview

The first aircraft carrier commissioned into the United States Navy was USS Langley (CV-1) on 20 March 1922. The Langley was a converted Proteus-class collier (originally commissioned as USS Jupiter (AC-3),[1] Langley was soon followed by the Lexington-class, USS Ranger (the first purpose-built carrier in the American fleet), the Yorktown-class, and USS Wasp. These classes made up the entirety of the United States carrier fleet active prior to the Second World War.[2]

With World War II looming, two more classes of carriers were commissioned under President Franklin Roosevelt: the Essex-class, which are informally divided into regular bow and extended bow sub-classes, and the Independence-class, which are classified as light aircraft carriers.[3] Between these two classes, 35 ships were completed.[citation needed] During this time, the Navy also purchased two training vessels, USS Wolverine and USS Sable, which were given the unclassified miscellaneous (IX) hull designation.[4]

Late in World War II the Midway-class and the Saipan-class were constructed, but entered service too late to serve in the war. The Midway-class would go on to serve during the entire Cold War.[5]

At the start of the Cold War, the first supercarriers, the United States-class, were canceled due to the Truman administration's policy of shrinking the United States Navy and in particular, the Navy's air assets. The policy was eventually revised after a public outcry and Congressional hearings sparked by the Revolt of the Admirals.[citation needed]

Later in the Cold War era, the first of the supercarriers to be launched were constructed, starting with the Forrestal-class,[6] followed by the Kitty Hawk-class; Enterprise (CVN-65), the first nuclear powered carrier; and John F. Kennedy (CV-67), the last conventionally powered carrier. These were then followed by the Nimitz-class and the modern day post-cold war Gerald R. Ford-class nuclear supercarriers, the only two classes of supercarriers that are currently in active-duty service.[7] With the ten-ship Nimitz-class complete by 2009, October 2013 saw the launch of Gerald R. Ford, lead ship of the planned ten-ship Gerald R. Ford-class. This was followed by the launch of John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) in October 2019, while construction is underway on Enterprise (CVN-80) and Doris Miller (CVN-81).[12]

List

Keys
List of aircraft carriers of the United States Navy
Hull no. Name Image Class Commissioned Decommissioned Service life Status Ref.
CV-1 Langley Langley (lead ship) 20 March 1922 27 February 1942 19 years, 344 days Sunk near Cilacap, Java in 1942 [13][14][15]
CV-2 Lexington Lexington (lead ship) 14 December 1927 8 May 1942 14 years, 145 days Sunk in the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942 [15][16]
CV-3 Saratoga Lexington 16 November 1927 26 July 1946 18 years, 254 days Sunk as target ship near Bikini Atoll during Operation Crossroads in 1946 [15][17]
CV-4 Ranger Ranger (lead ship) 4 June 1934 18 October 1946 12 years, 136 days Scrapped in 1947 [18]
CV-5 Yorktown Yorktown (lead ship) 30 September 1937 7 June 1942 4 years, 250 days Sunk in the Battle of Midway in 1942 [19]
CV-6 Enterprise Yorktown 12 May 1938 17 February 1947 8 years, 281 days Scrapped in 1960 [20]
CV-7 Wasp Wasp (lead ship) 25 April 1940 15 September 1942 2 years, 143 days Sunk during the Guadalcanal campaign in 1942 [21]
CV-8 Hornet Yorktown 20 October 1941 27 October 1942 1 year, 7 days Sunk in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands in 1942 [22][23]
CV-9 Essex Essex (lead ship) 31 December 1942 20 June 1969 26 years, 171 days Scrapped in 1975 [24]
CV-10 Yorktown Essex 15 April 1943 27 June 1970 27 years, 73 days Preserved at the Patriot's Point Naval & Maritime MuseumMount Pleasant, South Carolina, USA [25]
CV-11 Intrepid Essex 16 August 1943 15 March 1974 30 years, 211 days Preserved at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space MuseumNew York City, New York, USA [26]
CV-12 Hornet Essex 29 November 1943 26 May 1970 26 years, 187 days Preserved at USS Hornet MuseumAlameda, California, USA [27]
CV-13 Franklin Essex 31 January 1944 17 February 1947 2 years, 351 days Scrapped in 1966 [28]
CV-14 Ticonderoga Essex (extended bow) 8 May 1944 1 September 1973 29 years, 116 days Scrapped in 1975 [29]
CV-15 Randolph Essex (extended bow) 9 October 1944 13 February 1969 24 years, 127 days Scrapped in 1975 [30]
CV-16 Lexington Essex 17 February 1943 8 November 1991 48 years, 264 days Preserved at USS Lexington Museum on the BayCorpus Christi, Texas, USA [31]
CV-17 Bunker Hill Essex 25 May 1943 9 July 1947 4 years, 45 days Scrapped in 1973 [32][33][34]
CV-18 Wasp Essex 24 November 1943 1 July 1972 28 years, 220 days Scrapped in 1973 [35]
CV-19 Hancock Essex (extended bow) 15 April 1944 30 January 1976 31 years, 290 days Scrapped in 1976 [36]
CV-20 Bennington Essex 6 August 1944 15 January 1970 25 years, 162 days Scrapped in 1994 [37]
CV-21 Boxer Essex (extended bow) 16 April 1945 1 December 1969 24 years, 229 days Scrapped in 1971 [38]
CVL-22 Independence Independence (lead ship) 14 January 1943 28 August 1946 3 years, 226 days Sunk as target ship near the Farallon Islands in 1951 [39]
CVL-23 Princeton Independence 25 February 1943 24 October 1944 1 year, 242 days Sunk in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944 [11]
CVL-24 Belleau Wood Independence 31 March 1943 13 January 1947 3 years, 288 days Scrapped in 1960 [11]
CVL-25 Cowpens Independence 28 May 1943 13 January 1947 3 years, 230 days Scrapped in 1960 [11]
CVL-26 Monterey Independence 17 June 1943 16 January 1956 12 years, 213 days Scrapped in 1971 [11]
CVL-27 Langley Independence 31 August 1943 11 February 1947 3 years, 164 days Scrapped in 1964 [11]
CVL-28 Cabot Independence 24 July 1943 21 January 1955 11 years, 181 days Scrapped in 2002 [11]
CVL-29 Bataan Independence 17 November 1943 9 April 1954 10 years, 143 days Scrapped in 1961 [40]
CVL-30 San Jacinto Independence 15 December 1943 1 March 1947 3 years, 76 days Scrapped in 1972 [11]
CV-31 Bon Homme Richard Essex 26 November 1944 2 July 1971 26 years, 218 days Scrapped in 1992 [41]
CV-32 Leyte Essex (extended bow) 11 April 1946 15 May 1959 13 years, 34 days Scrapped in 1970 [11]
CV-33 Kearsarge Essex (extended bow) 2 May 1946 15 January 1970 23 years, 258 days Scrapped in 1974 [42]
CV-34 Oriskany Essex (extended bow) 25 September 1950 20 September 1979 28 years, 360 days Scuttled as artificial reef in the Gulf of Mexico in 2006 [11]
CV-35 Reprisal Essex (extended bow) Cancelled during construction. Scrapped in 1949 [43]
CV-36 Antietam Essex (extended bow) 28 January 1945 8 May 1963 18 years, 100 days Scrapped in 1974 [44]
CV-37 Princeton Essex (extended bow) 18 November 1945 30 January 1970 24 years, 73 days Scrapped in 1971 [citation needed]
CV-38 Shangri-La Essex (extended bow) 15 September 1944 30 July 1971 26 years, 318 days Scrapped in 1988 [45]
CV-39 Lake Champlain Essex (extended bow) 3 July 1945 2 May 1966 20 years, 303 days Scrapped in 1972 [citation needed]
CV-40 Tarawa Essex (extended bow) 8 December 1945 13 May 1960 14 years, 157 days Scrapped in 1968 [citation needed]
CVB-41 Midway Midway (lead ship) 10 September 1945 11 April 1992 46 years, 214 days Preserved at the USS Midway MuseumSan Diego, California, USA [46]
CVB-42 Franklin D. Roosevelt Midway 27 October 1945 1 October 1977 31 years, 339 days Scrapped in 1978 [47]
CVB-43 Coral Sea Midway 1 October 1947 26 April 1990 42 years, 207 days Scrapped in 2000 [48]
CV-44 No name assigned (no image available) Midway Cancelled before construction began. [49]
CV-45 Valley Forge Essex (extended bow) 3 November 1946 15 January 1970 23 years, 73 days Scrapped in 1971 [citation needed]
CV-46 Iwo Jima Essex (extended bow) Cancelled during construction. Scrapped in 1949 [50]
CV-47 Philippine Sea Essex (extended bow) 11 May 1946 28 December 1958 12 years, 231 days Scrapped in 1971 [citation needed]
CVL-48 Saipan Saipan (lead ship) 14 July 1946 14 January 1970 23 years, 184 days Scrapped in 1976 [citation needed]
CVL-49 Wright Saipan 9 February 1947 15 March 1956 9 years, 35 days Scrapped in 1980 [11]
CV-50 – CV-55 No names assigned (no images available) Essex These hulls were all cancelled before construction began. [49]
CVB-56, CVB-57 Midway
CVA-58 United States United States (lead ship) Cancelled during construction. Scrapped on slip in 1949 [51]
CV-59 Forrestal Forrestal (lead ship) 1 October 1955 30 September 1993 37 years, 364 days Scrapped in 2015 [52]

[53] [54]

CV-60 Saratoga Forrestal 14 April 1956 20 August 1994 38 years, 128 days Scrapped in 2019 [55]
CV-61 Ranger Forrestal 10 August 1957 10 July 1993 35 years, 334 days Scrapped in 2017 [56]
CV-62 Independence Forrestal 10 January 1959 30 September 1998 39 years, 263 days Scrapped in 2019 [57]
CV-63 Kitty Hawk Kitty Hawk (lead ship) 29 April 1961 12 May 2009 48 years, 13 days Undergoing scrapping [58][59]

[60] [61]

CV-64 Constellation Kitty Hawk 27 October 1961 7 August 2003 41 years, 284 days Scrapped in 2017 [62]
CVN-65 Enterprise Enterprise (lead ship) 25 November 1961 3 February 2017 55 years, 70 days Struck, to be scrapped [63]
CV-66 America Kitty Hawk 23 January 1965 9 August 1996 31 years, 199 days Sunk as target ship in the Atlantic Ocean in 2005 [64]
CV-67 John F. Kennedy John F. Kennedy (lead ship) 7 September 1968 23 March 2007 38 years, 197 days Sold for scrap in 2021 [65]

[61]

CVN-68 Nimitz Nimitz (lead ship) 3 May 1975 48 years, 263 days Stationed at Naval Base Kitsap, Bremerton, Washington [66]
CVN-69 Dwight D. Eisenhower Nimitz 18 October 1977 46 years, 95 days Stationed at Naval Station Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia [67]
CVN-70 Carl Vinson Nimitz 13 March 1982 41 years, 314 days Stationed at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California [68]

[69]

CVN-71 Theodore Roosevelt Nimitz 25 October 1986 37 years, 88 days Stationed at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California [70]

[71]

CVN-72 Abraham Lincoln Nimitz 11 November 1989 34 years, 71 days Stationed at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California [72]
CVN-73 George Washington Nimitz 4 July 1992 31 years, 201 days Stationed at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California (Undergoing Maintenance) [73]
CVN-74 John C. Stennis Nimitz 9 December 1995 28 years, 43 days Stationed at Naval Station Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia [74]
CVN-75 Harry S. Truman Nimitz 25 July 1998 25 years, 180 days Stationed at Naval Station Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia [75]
CVN-76 Ronald Reagan Nimitz 12 July 2003 20 years, 193 days Stationed at Yokosuka Naval Base, Yokosuka, Japan [76]
CVN-77 George H.W. Bush Nimitz 10 January 2009 15 years, 11 days Stationed at Naval Station Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia [77]
CVN-78 Gerald R. Ford Gerald R. Ford (lead ship) 22 July 2017 6 years, 183 days Stationed at Naval Station Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia [78][79]
CVN-79 John F. Kennedy Gerald R. Ford c. 2025 Fitting out [8][80][81]
CVN-80 Enterprise Gerald R. Ford c. 2028 Under construction [8][82][9]
CVN-81 Doris Miller Gerald R. Ford c. 2032 Under construction [8][83][84]
CVN-82 TBA Gerald R. Ford c. 2034 Ordered [8]

Training ships

During World War II, the United States Navy purchased two Great Lakes side-wheel paddle steamers and converted them into freshwater aircraft carrier training ships. Both vessels were designated with the hull classification symbol IX and lacked hangar decks, elevators or armaments. The role of these ships was for the training of pilots for carrier take-offs and landings.[citation needed] Together the Sable and Wolverine trained 17,820 pilots in 116,000 carrier landings. Of these, 51,000 landings were on Sable.[85]

# Name Image Class Commissioned Decommissioned Service life Status Ref.
IX-64 Wolverine n/a
(converted side-wheel steamer)
12 August 1942 7 November 1945 3 years, 2 months and 26 days Scrapped in 1947 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States [10][11]
IX-81 Sable n/a
(converted side-wheel steamer)
8 May 1943 7 November 1945 2 years, 5 months and 30 days Scrapped in 1948 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada [10][11]

Aircraft carrier museums

See also

References

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Museum ships