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World Aircraft Carriers (1951 - 2020)

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All non-US carriers operating fixed-wing aircraft (click to enlarge) The aircraft carrier has been the ultimate expression of naval power since World War II. Able to engage air, surface, and subsurface targets from hundreds of miles away, the carrier is a highly versatile class of warship and even a small number of carriers can turn the tide of an entire war. However, these ships (and the aircraft that they carry) are extremely expensive and only a handful of navies have ever operated them. Since the end of World War II, only 14 nations have operated a carrier with fixed-wing aircraft and no more than 9 nations have done so simultaneously. The above chart covers all non-US aircraft carriers operating fixed-wing aircraft from 1951-2020. I have not only excluded helicopter carriers, but also attempted to avoid counting commissioned ships that did not have available aircraft (for instance, I did not count the Soviet Kiev -class ships after 1991, when their Yak-38 fighters were phased out)