An aircraft carrier is a type of warship that does precisely what you would expect: it carries aircraft for the military. These ships have a flight deck and enough space to carry, arm, and deploy aircraft without needing a local base.
As of 2020, there are an estimated 44 aircraft carriers in service worldwide. The United States has 20 aircraft carriers, the highest of any country, followed by Japan and France with four each. Ten other nations have aircraft carriers:
Australia is the only nation in the world with aircraft carriers that are in reserve. This nation has two aircraft carriers in reserve as of 2019.
One hundred twenty-six aircraft carriers have been decommissioned throughout history. The nation with the highest number of decommissioned aircraft carriers is the United States, which has 55. Next is the United Kingdom, which has 40 that have been decommissioned. France has had seven ships decommissioned, while Japan and the Netherlands have had four. Australia, Spain, and Canada have three each; Argentina, Brazil, and India have had two each, and Russia has one decommissioned ship.
In 2019, there are a total of 9 aircraft carriers under construction. Two of these are for the United States. The remaining nations that are constructing one aircraft carrier each are:
- United Kingdom
There are also a total of 47 aircraft carriers that were never completed. The United States and the United Kingdom both have 12 aircraft carriers that were never completed.