US Navy Ships of Every Kind


Most of us are familiar with the various words used to describe different types of Navy ships, but few of us actually understand which terms refer to which ships, or what the letters before each ship’s name stands for. All commissioned Navy ship names begin with USS, which stands for “United States Ship”. Civilian, non-commissioned ship names begin with USNS, for “United States Naval Ship”. There are three basic types of Navy ships: aircraft carriers, surface combatants and submarines.

Attack And Ballistic Submarines

Submarines are either of the attack or ballistic variety. Ballistic submarines, such as the Ohio class, act as launch pads for nuclear ICBMs. Attack submarines are used in tactical missions, intelligence gathering operations and as cruise missile launching platforms. There are 3 classes of attack submarines: the Virginia, Seawolf and Los Angeles classes.

Immense Aircraft Carriers

Aircraft carriers are the behemoths of American defense, running over 1,000 feet in length. The U.S. Navy has the world’s largest carrier fleet, making our sea power unparalleled. Aircraft carriers bring fixed wing and rotary aircraft and fire power to wherever they are needed around the globe. There are currently three classes of aircraft carrier: the Enterprise, the Nimitz and the Ford. There has been only one Enterprise class aircraft carrier ever built. Currently, there are ten Nimitz class aircraft carriers and only one Ford class, with two more planned for construction.

Surface Combatants Take Up The Slack

Surface combatants are the ships that assist aircraft carriers and submarines. They can also attack on their own. While there are many smaller classes of ships used, the three major classes of surface combatants are the destroyers, the frigates and the cruisers. These ships act as amphibious assault ships, aircraft carrier escorts, as well as auxiliary and civilian craft that provide missile defense. Amphibious assault ships are the Marine Corps’ equivalent to the Navy’s aircraft carrier. There are two classes of amphibious assault ships being used today: the Wasp and the Tarawa. Ticonderoga class guided missile cruisers are powerful and versatile ships used in anti-submarine warfare, as well as for air and surface warfare.

Destroyers were originally known as torpedo boat destroyers. The Zumwalt and Arleigh Burke classes of destroyers started out as deadly and agile attack ships which have evolved into significantly larger and far more deadly primary weapons. Frigates are designed primarily to protect other ships, being smaller than destroyers. Their secondary function lies in anti-submarine actions. All operational frigates are of the Oliver Hazard Perry class. One of the first sail powered frigates, the USS Constitution, was operational from 1797 to 1881. In 1907, the USS Constitution began serving as a museum ship.

The versatility, power and accuracy of these ships continue to garner the respect and admiration of governments around the world. In war and in peace keeping missions, these Navy ships are able to span the globe, halting terror and destruction, often without firing a single shot, simply by their presence. The enemies of freedom know full well the deadly capabilities of U.S. Navy ships and their crews.


Source by Chris A. Harmen

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