America is considered to have one of the largest and strongest navy in the world, but the navy's most prideful ship and the flagship of the navy is its carrier.
USS - United States Ship
This abbreviation is used on American ships to classify their navy and their commission status
USS Langley (CV-1)
The USS Langley was the first aircraft carrier built by the united states. Launched in the 14th of August, 1912. It was converted from Jupiter a collier (a type of transport ship). The Langley didn't have a superstructure instead it had baskets on the side of the ship where crew would sit when the planes launched. The carrier held a early developed biplane the Vought VE-7. It served until WWII it was hit by Japanese bombers and flood its engine bay forcing them to scuttle the ship.
The Lexington class carrier boasts the USS Lexington and the USS Saratoga. It introduced the superstructure most commonly seen on aircraft carriers today. To combat military operations it also held 4 twin 8 inch guns and 12 single 5 inch anti aircraft guns. At its time it was the largest aircraft carrier class made. Almost twice the size of the Langley. They will later become support aircraft carriers and test carriers for pilots who were new to piloting. Then was destroyed as part of Operation Crossroads (The US Atom Bomb Tests).
USS Ranger (CV-4)
The Ranger was a modernized version of the Lexington class with a new catapult system and clearing the runway from obstruction. It also had a lighter superstructure sheathed in wood. Including the separation of the boilers into 6 smaller exhaust pipes. She supported Operation Torch and Leader and stationed in areas where the German fleet was weaker.
The Yorktown class was the fighting force of the United States in the Pacific War. Taking in battles including the Battle of the Coral Sea, Battle of Midway, and the Guadalcanal Campaign. The Yorktown class had 3 ships, USS Yorktown, Enterprise and Hornet. These carriers were the gleaming flagships before the the next evolution.
They represented the vast industrial power of the United States. A hard striking fast carrier division fighting in battle. This was the Fast Carrier Task Force (TF 38, TF 58).
Fighting in Iwo Jima and the battle of Yamato this was the fist of the United States. Having a maximum of 4 carriers ,6 to 8 support vessel, and 24 destroyers. However, sadly only Enterprise would survive the war. Her sisters, Yorktown and Hornet were both sunk in the midst of battle. Yorktown was hit badly during the Battle of Midway and fires made it almost impossible to save the ship forcing the sailors to scuttle her. Hornet was hit in the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands knocking out its engines forcing them to evacuate and scuttle the ship.
The Essex Class will replace the Yorktown Class as the backbone of the naval military for the remainder of the war. The Essex Class was the largest of its kind boasting 32 carriers. Many Yorktown class carriers that were sunk were rebuilt as Essex class carriers. Including the USS Hornet and Yorktown.
The Essex class was very experimental with many modifications built to each carrier making each one unique unlike other classes. The class is quoted to be "the most significant class of warships in American naval history". Playing a central role in the Pacific Theater and proxy wars like the Korean and Vietnam War. 11 Essex Carriers would participate in the Korean War. Including the USS Essex.
The Midway Class focused on armored aircraft carriers. Having a stronger base structure and a armored flight deck. Being directed to the carriers superstructure. It was deployed in the Vietnam War and served up to the 1990s. Their last combat mission was in Dessert Storm.
The Nimitz Class will mark the most modern aircraft carrier that the military holds currently. It boasts a CATOBAR arrangement to operate aircraft, with steam catapults and arrestor wires for launch and recovery. The ship costs 8.5 - 9.36 billion dollars. It operated in Operation Eagle Claw in Iran, the Gulf War, and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its design was based of the Enterprise Class. Two nuclear reactors provide power for the ship and can carry 90% more aviation fuel and 50% more ordnance when compared to the Forrestal class.
The Class boasts one the most advanced anti aircraft systems in the world a Phalanx CIWS is the Nimitz's last line of defense deployed in a short range missile defense role, to counter incoming rockets, artillery and mortar fire.
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is the last carrier that the United States have made. Being commissioned in 2017. Having a Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) however it still is being developed.
The United States have carrier fleets place around the world and its military power is only subjected to grow more. Ever CVN on the map represents a carrier group being stationed there and LHD is a amphibious assault ship. Every corner of the world is touched by the United States Navy.
The United States is constantly developing new technology. Like this prototype stealth drone being developed on a carriers elevator. For now no military in the world could match a Nimitz class carrier and constant improvements for it are being made.