The world’s largest and most powerful destroyers and aircraft carriers

In light of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force launching the “flat top destroyer” Izumo, the Telegraph has produced as list of the world’s largest and most powerful destroyers and aircraft carriers.

Izumo-class destroyer Officially labelled as a destroyer, it will have a flat top that will function as a flight deck for helicopters. The vessel has been criticised as a thinly veiled attempt to boost the country’s military capabilities. Currently Japan is limited by its constitution to self-defence only, but rising tensions with China has led to fears of an escalation of a dispute over island. Japanese officials have insisted the ship will be used to assist humanitarian missions and large scale evacuations following events like the 2011 tsunami. The vessel has not been officially named but it has been dubbed Izumo after the armoured cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy, which was sunk in an air attack in 1945.
Operated by: Japanese Navy
Number in fleet: 1 with two more planned
Length: 820ft
Displacement: 27,000 tons Maximum speed: 30 knots
Crew: 970 Weapons: 14 helicopters and anti-submarine warfare
Picture: AP Photo/Kyodo News

Yamato-class battleship
Although currently resting on the bottom of the ocean off the south of Kyushu, Japan, the Yamato is the biggest battleship ever built and dwarves Japan’s new Izumo destroyer. Commissioned just a week after the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, she was the flagship of the Japanese Combined Fleet. She only ever fired her massive main guns in one battle at enemy surface targets in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944. She was eventually sunk in 1945 after being attacked by US aircraft.
Operated by: Japanese Combined Fleet
Number in fleet: 2
Length: 862ft
Displacement: 70,000 tons
Maximum speed: 27 knots
Crew: 2,332
Weapons: 9 x 46cm guns, 12 x 155mm guns and 12 x 127mm guns. Seven aircraft

Nimitz-Class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
Currently the biggest warship in operation in the world. Capable of operating for over 20 years without being refuelled, the aircraft carriers are expected to have a service life of over 50 years. The first in the class, the Nimitz became mired in controversy shortly after entering service when following a fatal aircraft crash on deck, a forensic investigation revealed some of the personnel involved tested positive for marijuana. This led to the mandatory drug testing of all service personnel. Commissioned in 1975, the Nimitz-class vessels are due to be replaced by the even bigger Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier in around 2015.
Operated by: United States Navy
Number in fleet: 10
Length: 1092ft
Displacement: 100,000 tons
Maximum speed: 30 knots
Crew: 5,000
Weapons: 85-90 bomber/fighter aircraft, missile defence systems
Picture: AP

Admiral Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier
This beast was originally commissioned in 1990 as the flagship for the Soviet Navy in 1985 and has gone through a number of refits. She was due to have a sister ship called Varyag, but it was never completed. Instead the Ukraine, where the vessel was being built, sold the hull to China, who completed it themselves.
Operated by: Russian Navy
Number in fleet: 1
Length: 1,001ft
Displacement: 55,000 tons
Maximum speed: 29 knots
Crew: 2,356
Weapons: 52 aircraft, 60 rockets and 192 missiles
Picture: Royal Navy

Liaoning aircraft carrier
Purchased by the People’s Republic of China at an auction, this is the aircraft carrier the Varyag should have been. She was sold in 1998 under the pretext that it would be used a floating casino – many other former Soviet carriers have ended up as theme parks. Lacking engines, a rudder and operating systems, the Varyag was towed to a navy shipyard where it was given a refit, renamed the Liaoning and entered service in 2012.
Operated by: People’s Liberation Army Navy
Number in fleet: 1
Length: 999ft
Displacement: 66,000 tons
Maximum speed: 32 knots
Crew: 2,626
Weapons: 30 aircraft, 24 helicopters, 60 rockets and 192 missiles
Picture: AFP/GettyImages

INS Vikramaditya
This is another former Soviet vessel that has found a new life. After being decommissioned by the Russian Navy in 1996 for being too expensive to operate, it was purchased by India for around £1.5 billion and was given a refit. Having completed sea trails it is due to enter service in October this year. It is named after a 1st century BC emperor of Ujjain, India. As part of the refit she now has accommodation for 10 female officers and has been fitted with a water desalination plant.
Operated by: Indian Navy
Number in fleet: 1
Length: 928ft
Displacement: 45,400 tons
Maximum speed: 32 knots
Crew: 1,400
Weapons: 16 aircraft, 10 helicopters
Picture: Wikipedia/Sevmash shipyard/Alexey Popov

Charles de Gaulle nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
Named after the famous French leader, this is the largest warship in Western Europe and the only nuclear powered surface vessel outside of the United States. Following successful sea trials, she is due to enter active service later in 2013. During the vessel’s construction in 1993, it was claimed that a group of visiting engineers were British MI6 agents attempting to learn the technical details. The Guardian, which published the story, later published a denial from both the British and French governments that there been an incident.
Operated by: French Navy, Marine Nationale
Number in fleet: 1
Length: 858ft
Displacement: 42,000 tons
Maximum speed: 32 knots
Crew: 1,950
Weapons: 40 aircraft, missile defence systems
Picture: AP Photo/Franck Prevel

Wasp Class amphibious assault ship
Essentially a giant floating helicopter platform, one of these vessels is capable of transporting almost the entire US Marine Corp’s quick reaction Marine Expeditionary Unit. It has two folding aircraft elevators on the outside that move between the hanger and flight deck, which can fold inwards to allow the vessel to pass through the Panama Canal.
Operated by: United States Navy
Number in fleet: 8
Length: 831ft
Displacement: 40,500 tons
Maximum speed: 22 knots
Crew: 1,208 crew and 1,894 Marines
Weapons: 6 vertical take off aircraft, 24 helicopters, missile defence systems
Picture: AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

Invincible class aircraft carrier
Although far down the list in terms of the world’s biggest warships, this is the Royal Navy’s largest currently in operation. Brazil, Italy and Spain all have larger aircraft carriers, but when the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier comes into service in 2018, it will leave Britain with the second biggest warship in the world, behind the US.
Operated by: Royal Navy of Great Britain
Number in fleet: 3
Length: 686ft
Displacement: 22,000 tons
Maximum speed: 28 knots
Crew: 1000 crew and 500 marines
Weapons: 22 aircraft and anti missile systems
Picture: Royal Navy

Sejong the Great class destroyer
Possibly the best named class of ship in operation at the moment and the biggest destroyer after the new Izumo class, it is named after the fourth king in the Joseon Dynasty of Korea, who is credited with creating the Korean alphabet. These guided missile destroyers are the biggest of their kind in operation in the world at the moment, but are set to be out-classed by the US Navy’s new Zumwalt-class stealth destroyer, which will use electric motors and carry advanced weaponry, when it completed sometime in 2015.
Operated by: Republic of Korea Navy
Number in fleet: 3
Length: 541ft
Displacement: 11,000 tons
Maximum speed: 30+ knots
Crew: 400
Weapons: 1 5 inch naval gun, 16 anti-ship missiles, 32 cruise missiles and 6 torpedoes. Two helicopters
Picture: US Navy

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/howaboutthat/10228104/The-worlds-largest-and-most-powerful-destroyers-and-aircraft-carriers.html

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