World's aircraft carrier club now includes China
The USS John C. Stennis is a Nimitz-class carrier, one of 10 in the U.S. Navy fleet.
August 15th, 2011
01:31 PM ET

World's aircraft carrier club now includes China

With China’s first aircraft carrier completing sea trials this week, we thought it would be good to look at other countries that operate aircraft carriers.

Aircraft carriers give nations so-called blue water navies, with the ability to project military power far from their nation's shores. The carriers often are good neighbors, too, as essential platforms for disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.

Brazil: The Brazilian navy operates the Sao Paulo, a French Clemenceau-class light aircraft carrier it acquired from France in 2000. The Sao Paulo can carry up to 40 aircraft and operates with a mix of A-4 jets and helicopters. It was originally commissioned in France in 1963.

France: The French navy operates the Charles de Gaulle, a nuclear-powered light aircraft carrier. The de Gaulle can carry 35 to 40 aircraft and about 2,000 personnel. It entered service in 2001. Most recently the de Gaulle has been supporting NATO operations over Libya.

India: The Indian navy operates the INS Viraat, formerly the British carrier HMS Hermes, which it acquired in 1987. Viraat is a vertical short takeoff and landing carrier with displacement of almost 29,000 tons. It can carry up to 12 fighter aircraft and nine helicopters.

Italy: The Italian navy has two carriers in service, the 10,000-ton, vertical short takeoff and landing Guiseppe Garibaldi and the Cavour, also a vertical short takeoff and landing carrier with at 26,660 tons. Garibaldi was launched in 1985 and has been used as part of the NATO operations over Libya. Cavour was launched in 2004 and was used in Haiti earthquake relief actions in 2010.

Russia: The Admiral Kuznetsov is designated as a aircraft-carrying cruiser. It became fully operational in 1995. The ship carries more than 20 Su-33 fighters and 16 to 18 helicopters. The ship is now on a cruise to train flight crew in the Barents Sea, according to

Spain: The Spanish navy’s Principe de Asturias was commissioned in 1982. A short takeoff and landing vessel, Principe de Asturias can carry 12 jets and 12 helicopters and has a crew of 830, including its air wing.

Thailand: The Royal Thai Navy operates the HTMS Charki Naruebet, a vertical short takeoff and landing carrier based on Spain’s Principe de Asturias. It has a crew of about 600, including its air wing. It carries six jets and six helicopters.

United Kingdom: HMS Illustrious is an Invincible-class vertical short takeoff and landing carrier. Commissioned in 1982 and with a crew of 1,000, Illustrious is Britain’s last active carrier and will be decommissioned when new full-size carriers come on line later this decade.

United States: The U.S. Navy has 11 active carriers, 10 of them nuclear-powered Nimitz-class carriers that displace about 100,000 tons. Nimitz carriers carry about 5,700 crew and air wing. Each carrier has about 85 planes and helicopters.

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Filed under: Brazil • China • France • India • Italy • Military • Russia • Spain • Thailand • U.S. • U.S. Navy • United Kingdom • World
soundoff (32 Responses)

    i wonder if the ship has "made in china" stickers all over it?

    August 15, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amicable

      You should wonder how many places in US Ships have "Made in China" stickers. You will be surprised. One day we will drink Chinese water and breath Chinese Air. Even US Government policies will be made in china. This is why we elected US Government. They just want "Made in China" everything! NO HOPE!

      August 15, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • iamthelorax

      RUFFNUTT: They don't mention it in this article, but the ship was a Cold War era Soviet carrier that the Chinese bought from the Russians a few years ago, and then was modernized in Chinese shipyards. So to answer your question, it is probably a hodgepodge of made in USSR and made in China.

      August 15, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Timothy

      This is the only Supercarrier operated by another nation; all of the other ones are small; and while other countries have one or two, the USA has a dozen operational, and as many more in mothballs. When China starts mass producing fast carriers, which I fully expect them to do, once they work the bugs out of this one, then we can get ready for that war over Taiwan.
      Or maybe they'll just forgive our debt and we'll hand Taiwan over.

      August 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shark 2

      Amicable is a Chinese citizen.

      August 23, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • LTF

      This is hardly a "super" carrier. The tonnage and the number of aircrafts look quite impressive on paper, but... without steam catapults (next generation US carriers will feature more advanced magnetic catapults), the aircrafts on it cannot take off with full load of weapons and fuels, greatly diminishing the strike capabilities of the carrier group.
      I expect the Chinese Navy to eventually install catapults onto their carriers (they've already acquired a number of them from Russia), but not yet.

      August 30, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • CallingBS

      @Timothy..."People's Daily Online said that when completed, the carrier will be able to carry 30 J-15 fighter planes and will have a crew of 2,000."

      She's not a super carrier, it's a full sized carrier though. It's impressive, but only one...for now. The US still has more carriers than the entire world combined...all of which are super carriers. However, if we continue to go the route we are, soon we'll either need new ones or have to buy them from someone else...since we can't seen to hire any workers to do anything.

      September 8, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  2. iamthelorax

    RUFFNUTT: They don't mention it in this article, but the ship was a Cold War era Soviet carrier that the Chinese bought from the Russians a few years ago, and then was modernized in Chinese shipyards. So to answer your question, it is probably a hodgepodge of made in USSR and made in China.

    August 15, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |

      nice...that makes me feel safe... i'm sure it is,err was built to the strictest safety standards....

      August 15, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |

      btw any trofala tree comming back?

      August 15, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • iamthelorax


      August 15, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      I thought the Chinese turned it into an executive hotel...or was that just a cover story for their evil plans.

      September 6, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • CallingBS

      @Iamthelorax..."A Chinese military expert told the People's Daily Online that the radar system, called the "Chinese Aegis" in reference to its sophisticated U.S. Navy counterpart, is one of the most advanced deployed by any navy."

      I wouldn't be so quick to judge the technical capabilities of the Chinese, they are packing our lunch, why, because they are buying Indian scientists away from us, they are teaching their children science in state schools, and taking the best and brightest and putting them to work. Their economy is booming, because they have flooded the markets with cheap items that we can't compete with, due in part to the fact that 1. we've out sourced our manufacturing in lieu of profit, and 2.We've sold off our patents in lieu of profit... The upper 1% has sold this country out...every day they scream louder that we should not pay taxes, or have any social contracts with the citizens, or universal health care, and we must de-regulate eveything...we'll be speaking Chinese soon enough.

      September 8, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |

    maybe earth will just become one big walmart?

    August 15, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. gung hoe

    He he he he stupid chinaman should the weaponry

    August 15, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. han

    Well if china makes carriers like their trains, it's safe.... Right??

    August 15, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • miku


      August 16, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. scots

    hms illustrious is nolonger a short take off and landing carrier, after refit this year it is now a helicopter carrier. Leaving the uk without a plane carrier until 2015

    August 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      The UK doesn't need to be attacking anybody anyway. That whole Falklands thing was embarassing enough, losing nearly 200 soldiers for islands full of sheep.

      September 6, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • CallingBS

      @Rick...That embarrising Fauklands thing was decided by the use of carrier aircraft, and a submarine, they lost 200 soldiers and destroied an entire army, wrecked a nave, and broke the will of the enemy to fight. They defended their citizens, and to this day Argentinia respects please say again why carriers are useless...

      September 8, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. ronvan

    So who really gives a darn? The U.S. has more carriers, more aircraft, and more power on them than ALL the other countries combined!. No mention though as if this "hodgepodge" carrier is a nuclear powered one.

    August 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. s kel

    im only going to say one thing, ....stelth submarine.

    August 15, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |

    This is truly great news indeed, soarly needed since lately so much of the news has been so bad! The world really does need a counterweight to the U.S. and NATO since these powers have become so abusive as of late!!!

    August 15, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. 333

    china is the only one who can really afford it.

    August 17, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. wavejump1100

    no other country even has one carrier that can match a US carrier and we have 11 nuclear powered carriers? does this seem excessive to anyone else but me? no wonder we are broke

    August 17, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      We're building more of them too

      September 6, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bucsfanFL

    Broke? Maybe. Feared enough to not be attacked by any other nation? Definitely.

    August 19, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dr Doofensmirtz

    one thing the article fails to mention was how the carrier bought from Russia and was left mothballed in a Ukrainian port was only allowed to sail through the Black sea past Turkey because Bill Clinton told the Turks it was going to be used as a floating casino in Maccu. He sucker them into thinking the Chinese were not going to use the ship as a offensive weapon. One more debt owed to the Chinese payed by American tax payers by the treasonous actions of Bill Clinton. I guess he owed them big time since they gave him all that campaign cash. Now you know why his admin wouldn't allow CIA to share intel with the FBI. Hence allowing 9/11 to happen on Bush's watch. Thanks Buba.

    September 6, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rick

    Carriers are the modern day equivalent of dreadnought battleships. In the face of an enemy, they're nothing more than $10 billion dollar targets taken out by a $1 million dollar missile. That's why the USA is so paranoid about keeping other ships and planes away from our carriers, they're incredibly vulnerable, and only work well against defenseless nations.

    September 6, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • CallingBS

      Wrong again Rick...the carrier may be vulnerable, the carrier group is anything but. The tactics used in deploying a carrier make it very, very hard to detect and don't really know much abot you?

      September 8, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jimmy

    its not Chinese carriers we should is their submarines. Not too long ago they surfaced a diesel sub right in the middle of one of our "undetectable carrier groups". If they had the mind to sink our carrier they would have. I believe the carrier group commander was relieved of command on that one... I guess the point is carriers are very quickly becoming obsolete. instead of carrier born strike aircraft you will see submarine born cruise missles, and in next 20 years or so i believe you will see "rods from God", with the Air Forces new space bomber (this really is closer than you would think).

    September 13, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
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