Aircraft carriers are large naval vessels equipped with a flight deck - a large unencumbered flat area from which aircraft can take off and on which they can land - and below-deck hangar areas for aircraft, ordnance, personnel quarters, and other ship equipment.
Carriers project more power than any other type of ships at sea. They thus make attractive targets for attacks by aircraft, submarines, and other ships. So they are rarely without a battle group of support ships, such as frigates and destroyers, for protection.
Due to the advanced sensors and communication equipment found on carriers, they usually house the senior officer (Officer in Tactical Command) in any battle group.
An aircraft carrier is a ship whose primary purpose is to transport and deploy aircraft. It also can be fitted with anti-air weapons to increase protection of aircraft being deployed. Since late 1942, aircraft carriers have been considered capital ships, taking over from battleships and cruisers, which are now mostly obsolete compared to aircraft carriers. The largest aircraft carriers in the world are the United States' Nimitz class carriers. The first aircraft carrier was the HMS Ark Royal, originally laid down as a merchant ship and converted to a carrier in 1914.
Aircraft carriers allow nations to launch air power from the sea, usually for bombing operations against land targets, defending fleets, hunting other ships and destroying enemy aircraft, or supporting ground forces.
- World Wide Aircraft Carriers at GlobalSecurity.org
- Carriers in Combat: The Air War at Sea, by Chester G. Hearn, Stackpole Books, 2007
- Carrier: A Guided Tour of an Aircraft Carrier, by Tom Clancy, Penguin Group, 1999