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Aircraft Carriers

An Aircraft Carrier is a ship with a long, unobstructed flight deck that permits takeoffs and landings by high-performance airplanes. A carrier is in effect a mobile air base. Planes are stored below deck and brought up and down on elevators. They take off under their own power or may be launched by catapults. Mirror landing systems and arresting cables that catch a hook on the outside of incoming aircraft facilitate safe landings. Decks are angled so that pilots missing the arresting gear will be able to go around again without hitting other aircraft. Carriers, equipped with or capable of carrying missiles, are the heart of modern striking forces, accompanied by a variety of support vessels: destroyers and cruisers for protection and supply ships bearing fuel, ammunition, and food.Carriers are often called flattops because of their wide, flat decks. The largest oil tankers are the only ships bigger than aircraft carriers.

Aircraft carriers have only a minimum number of antiaircraft guns or defensive missiles for protection against enemy planes and missiles. Carriers usually steam (travel) with other ships. Cruisers, destroyers, and submarines protect aircraft carriers from enemy planes, surface ships, and submarines. Such a fleet is called a carrier task force or battle group.

U.S.S. Enterprise

The U.S.S. Enterprise, the largest

warship in the world, was the first

aircraft carrier to be nuclear powered.

Its flight deck is over three football fields

long, and the ship can accommodate

more than 84 airplanes.




Abraham Aircraft Carrier


Propeled by nuclear power, the Abraham

Lincoln provides a flight deck for high

performance planes. By naval standards the

ship is very long, but its runway is still

shorter than most air strips on land. To

compensate for this, incoming planes use

hooks on their undersides to catch arresting

cables on the ship's deck.


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