Saturday, July 13, 2002
Spain has an aircraft carrier?!? Why aren't they policing the rest of the world? I thought having an AC meant you were capable of projecting power! (link via Joyful Christian)
UPDATE: Yours truly has done the grunt work of finding out who has carriers (I'm only counting ones with actual planes, as opposed to helicopters). Apparently, the short list is: USA (11 supercarriers, 12 "amphibious assault ships"), UK (3), France (1), Spain (1), Brazil (1), India (1), and Thailand (1). The UK is apparently working on building two 50,000ish-ton carriers in the near future. The Indian, Brazilian, and Thai carriers are old 1960s carriers bought from the English and French, and mostly operate VSTOL aircraft (such as Harriers). The Spanish carrier is a cute little thing at 16,700 tons, while the French carrier (nuclear, incidentally) tips the scales at 36,000 tons and apparently has yet to complete a cruise without a major malfunction. Just because it's Bastille Day, I'll point out that they also bought planes for it that needed a longer runway than they had. The three British carriers are 20,600-ton vessels which operate Harriers. Meanwhile, our supercarriers are big ol' nuclear things that tip the scales around 88,000 tons and can field 80+ fixed-wing aircraft, while the assault carriers are 40,000 tons apiece. I can see why no one else can really project power.
FURTHER UPDATE: Apparently a Chinese company is somewhat in possession of a former Soviet nuclear carrier of roughly 70,000 tons that they bought from the Ukrainians. It's supposed to be turned into an entertainment complex (I don't want to ask).