Why Aircraft Carriers are Smaller than Commercial Ships?


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Why Aircraft Carriers are Smaller than Commercial Ships?



Given today’s available technology and the US Navy’s budget, one might wonder why aircraft carriers are not built bigger/longer so they can accommodate more aircraft, especially that there are bigger /longer commercial vessel traversing the oceans every day. In this video, we will give you our take on this question, and it may not be what you think.

Note: “The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.”

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27 Comments

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  1. 1. Speed – it needs to go fast for jets to take off on a short runway
    2. Docking – Smaller ships can dock anywhere easier
    3. Manuveurability – Bigger ships are difficult to turn
    4. Cost – Less steel = cheaper costs

    saved you 5 minutes there

  2. There are only so many aircrafts that can use the limited runway space of the carrier, and I don't think a longer deck would add any more starting/landing capacity, not significantly, at least. So for the carrier the returns diminish really fast from some point on. If they are as big as to utilize the flight deck fully, I'd guess that would be a #1 reason to not make them any longer, better to build another one.

  3. SS United States probably could keep pace with any carrier if it were still in full working order. Though the liners were far different beasts than cruise ships, If the jet airliner had for whatever reason never been invented we would probably have massive nuclear powered ocean liners pushing 40kts. As ocean liners were about speed, Okay comfort too if you were rich. But most of all it was raw speed.

  4. speed requirement is not determined by need to take off aircraft. it's determined by the speed of your enemy fleet. you cannot be 10 knots slower than enemy destroyers.

  5. Wouldn't a longer ship have a longer airfield and thus giving the aircraft a higher take off speed?
    I guess the other reasons are valid. Not having to head into the wind would also give it more flexibility.

  6. I feel the speed point is a bit moot. If the carrier was longer would equal a bigger take off surface so the carrier wouldn't need to go as fast. More runway= more time to accelerate. The rest are on point though