REVISED: 2/26/09

A i r c r a f t   C a r r i e r s

The red line indicates the number of fleet carriers, the blue line auxiliary carriers. Peak strengths for the carriers were during WW2, with 28 active in 1945, and the Vietnam War. Auxiliaries also hit a high point in 1945 when 71 were on active duty.

CV were the general-purpose large carriers, CVN when nuclear powered. All CVs were changed to CVA Oct 1, 1952 as strike-only carriers, and CVAN when nuclear powered. CVA Attack Carriers were redesignated CVS Antisubmarine Carriers when downgraded to that role. Other designations: CC as Command Ship, CVB Large-Aircraft Carrier, CVE Escort Carrier (SEE BELOW), CVL Light Carrier (SEE BELOW), and CVT Training Carrier, changed to AVT. LPH for Landing Platform, Helicopter (now called Amphibious Assault Ship (Helicopter)).

For a more complete exposition, see the Navy's page about carriers.

CV, CVA, CVL, and CVN Carriers

USS Pennsylvania "Flight deck" (Library of Congress)

While not an official aircraft carrier, cruiser USS Pennsylvania, at anchor on San Francisco Bay, holds the double honors of having the first airplane to fly from (11/14/10) and to (1/10/11 ?>1/18/11) the deck of a ship (p: Eugene Ely), and as the first ship to hoist aboard an aircraft (2/17/11), at San Diego (p: Glenn Curtiss).

Langley aircraft deck (USN)

CV-1/AV-3 Langley - 1924-1942. The collier USS Jupiter was modified with a wooden deck to became our nation's first official aircraft carrier; length: 542' disp: 15,150 speed: 15.5 (kts) crew: 468 aircraft: 30-35. Crippled by Japanese bombers, scuttled 2/27/42.

Lexington in SF drydock Note plane taking-off (postcard)
Lexington (USN)

CV-2 Lexington - 1925-1942; length: 850' disp: 38,746 speed: 34 crew: 3,300 aircraft: 90. Fatally damaged in Coral Sea battle, scuttled 5/8/42.

Saratoga (USN)

CV-3 Saratoga - 1927-1946; Lexington class. Converted to troop ship after the war. Sunk in atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll 7/25/46.

Ranger (USN)

CV-4 Ranger - 1934-1946; length: 730' disp: 17,577 speed: 29 crew: 2,000 aircraft: 86. Scrapped 2/x/47.
Yorktown (USN)

CV-5 Yorktown - 1937-1942; length: 761' disp: 25,484 speed: 33 crew: 2,200 aircraft: 100. Sunk by Japanese submarine 6/7/42.

CV-/CVA-/CVS-6 Enterprise - 1938-1947; Yorktown class. Sold 7/1/58, scrapped 9/?/58.

Wasp (USN)

CV-7 Wasp - 1940-1942; Yorktown class. Crippled by torpedoes and fire, scuttled 9/15/42.

Hornet (USN)

CV-8 Hornet - 1941-1942; length: 820' disp: 34,881 speed: 33 crew: 2,631 aircraft: 100. Immobilized by torpedoes and bombs, scuttled 10/26/42.

Essex (USN)

CV-/CVA-/CVS-9 Essex - 1942-1969; length: 820' disp: 34,881 speed: 33 crew: 2,631 aircraft: 100. Scrapped 1973.

Yorktown (USN)

CV-/CVA-/CVS-10 Yorktown - 1943-1970; Essex class. Transferred to museum at Charleston SC in 1973.

Intrepid (USN)

CV-/CVA-/CVS-11 Intrepid - 1943-1974; Essex class. Transferred to museum at New York City in 1982.

Hornet (USN)

CV-/CVA-/CVS-12 Hornet - 1943-1947, 1953-1970; Essex class. Sold for scrap in 1993, repossessed and underwent preservation as a floating museum at Alameda CA.

CV-/CVA-/CVS-13 Franklin - 1944-1947; Essex class. Scrapped 1966.

CV-/CVA-/CVS-14 Ticonderoga - 1944-1973; modification of Essex class, similar specifications. Scrapped 1974.

CV-/CVA-/CVS-15 Randolph - 1944-1969; Ticonderoga class. Scrapped 1973.

CV-/CVA-/CVS-/CVT-/AVT-16 Lexington - 1943-1947, 1955-1991; Essex class. Transferred to museum at Corpus Christi TX 1991.

CV-/CVA-/CVS-17 Bunker Hill - 1943-1947; Essex class. Scrapped 1973.

CV-/CVA-/CVS-18 Wasp - 1943-47, 1951-1972; Essex class. Scrapped 1973.

CV-/CVA-/CV-19 Hancock - 1944-1947, 1954-1976; Ticonderoga class. Scrapped 1976.

CV-/CVA-/CVS-20 Bennington - 1944-1946, 1951-70; Essex class. Scrapped 1994.

CV-/CVA-/CVS-21/LPH-4 Boxer - 1944-1969; Ticonderoga class. Scrapped 1971.

CVL-22 Independence - 1943-1946; length: 600' disp: 14,751 speed: 31.6 crew: 1,461 aircraft: 45. Atom bomb tests at Bikini Atoll July 1946, sunk as target ship 1/30/51. (SEE CVL data below.)

CVL-23 Princeton - 1943-1944; Independence class. Fatally bombed at Leyte Gulf and scuttled 10/24/44. (SEE CVL data below.)

CVL-24 Belleau Wood - 1943-47; Independence class. Scrapped 1962. (SEE CVL data below.)

CVL-25/AVT-1 Cowpens - 1943-1947; Independence class. Scrapped 1961. (SEE CVL data below.)

CVL-26/AVT-2 Monterey - 1943-1947, 1950-1956; Independence class. Scrapped 1970. (SEE CVL data below.)

CVL-27 Langley - 1943-1947; Independence class. Scrapped 1964. (SEE CVL data below.)

CVL-28/AVT-3 Cabot - 1943-1972; Independence class. Sole survivor of nine light carriers hurriedly produced and pressed into service following the attack on Pearl Harbor, CVL-28 was sold for scrap in 1995, but preservation efforts are presently under way. The boat was awarded nine battle stars and a Presidential Unit Citation for extraordinary heroism.

CVL-29/AVT-4 Bataan - 1943-1947, 1950-1954; Independence class. Scrapped 1959. (SEE CVL data below.)

CVL-30/AVT-5 San Jacinto - 1947-1970; Independence class. Scrapped 1970. (SEE CVL data below.)

CV-/CVA-31 Bon Homme Richard - 1944-1947, 1951-1971; Essex class. Scrapped 1992.

CV-/CVA-/CVS-32/AVT-10 Leyte - 1946-1959; Ticonderoga class. Scrapped 1969.

CV-/CVA-/CVS-33 Kearsarge - 1946-1950, 1952-1970; Ticonderoga class. Scrapped 1974.

CV-/CVA-/CV-34 Oriskany - 1950-1976; Ticonderoga class. Scrapped 1995, hulk sunk as an artificial reef in the Gulf of Mexico 5/18/06.

CV-35 Reprisal - 1948-1949; never commissioned, used for tests only. Scrapped 1949.

Antietam (USN)

CV-/CVA-/CVS-36 Antietam - 1945-1949, 1951-1963; Ticonderoga class. Scrapped 1974. First of the angled-deck carriers.

CV-/CVA-/CVS-37/LPH-5 Princeton - 1945-1949, 1950-1970; Ticonderoga class. Scrapped 1973.

CV-/CVA-/CVS-38 Shangri-La - 1944-1947, 1955-1971; Ticonderoga class. Scrapped 1988.

Lake Champlain (USN)

CV-/CVA-/CVS-39 Lake Champlain - 1945-1947, 1952-1966; Ticonderoga class. Scrapped 1972.

CV-/CVA-/CVS-40/AVT-12 Tarawa - 1945-1949, 1951-1960; Ticonderoga class. Scrapped 1968.

CVB-/CVA-/CV-41 Midway - 1945-1955, 1957-1992; length: 900' disp: 59,901 speed: 33 crew: 3,583 aircraft: 137. Pending disposal.

CVB-/CVA-/CV-42 Franklin D Roosevelt - 1945-1954, 1956-1977; Midway class. Scrapped 1980.

Coral Sea and SF Bay Bridge 1961 (USN)

CVB-/CVA-/CV-43 Coral Sea - 1947-1957, 1960-1991; Midway class (final displacement: 65,200); partially scrapped 1995.

CV-44 - Cancelled 1943.

CV-/CVA-/CVS-45/LPH-8 Valley Forge - 1946-1970; Ticonderoga class. Scrapped 1971.

CV-46 Iwo Jima - Cancelled 1945.

CV-/CVA-/CVS-47/AVT-11 Philippine Sea - 1946-1958; Ticonderoga class. Scrapped 1971.

CVL-48/AVT-7/AGMR-2 Saipan - 1946-1957, Arlington 1966-1970; length: 664' disp: 19,086 speed: 33 crew: 1,677 aircraft: 48. Scrapped 1975. (SEE CVL data below.) AGMR redesignation as Arlington represented a Major Communications Relay Ship — "A" for Auxilary (non-combatant), "GMR" was just a letter group (AGM signified Missile Range Instrumentation Ship). Thanks to Jim Bohannan for dredging this one up!

CVL-49/AVT-7/CC-2 Wright - 1947-1956, 1963-1977; Saipan class. Scrapped 1980. (SEE CVL data below.)

CV-50 through CV-57 - Cancelled 1945.

CVA-58 United States - Cancelled 1949.

CVA-/CVA-/AVT-59 Forrestal - 1955-1993; length: 990' disp: 76,614 speed: 30+ crew: 4,676 aircraft: 100. Scheduled for scrapping.

CVA-/CV-60 Saratoga - 1956-1994; Forrestal class. Scheduled for scrapping.

Ranger in drydock (USN)

CVA-/CV-61 Ranger - 1957-1993; Forrestal class. Reserve status.

CVA-/CV-62 Independence - 1959-1998; Forrestal class. Decom: 9/30/98 at Bremerton WA.

CVA-/CV-63 Kitty Hawk - 1961-(2008). Builders: CVA-63: New York Shipbuilding Corp, Camden NJ; CV-63: New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn NY. Powerplant: 8 boilers, 4 geared steam turbines, 4 shafts, 280,000 shaft horsepower. Length, overall: 1062.5' (323.8 meters). Flight deck width: 252' (76.8 meters). Beam: 130' (39 meters). Displacement, full load: about 80,800 tons (82,096.69 metric tons). Speed: 30+ kts (34.5+ mph). Aircraft: 85. Crew: Ship's Company 3,150, Air Wing 2,480

CVA-/CV-64 Constellation - 1961-(2003); Kitty Hawk class.

CVAN-/CVA-65 Enterprise - 1961-(2013); length: 1040' disp: 89,084 speed: 30+ crew: 5,382 aircraft: 80. Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding Co, Newport News VA. Powerplant: 8 nuclear reactors, 4 shafts. Length overall: 1,101' (335.64 meters). Flight deck width: 252' (75.6 meters). Beam: 133' (39.9 meters). Displacement, full load: 89,600 tons (91,037.91 metric tons). Speed: 30+ kts (34.5 mph). Aircraft: 85. Crew: Ship's Company 3,350, Air Wing 2,480.

CVA-/CV-66 America - 1965-1996; Kitty Hawk class. Decom: 9/?/96.

CVA-/CV-67 John F Kennedy - 1968-(2018). Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding Co, Newport News VA. Powerplant: 8 boilers, 4 shafts, 280,000 total shaft hp. Length overall: 1052' (315.6 meters). Flight deck width: 252' (76.8 meters). Beam: 130' (39.6 meters). Displacement, full load: 82,000 tons (83,315.95 metric tons). Speed: 30+ kts (34.5 mph). Aircraft: about 85. Crew: Ship's Company 3,117, Air Wing 2,480.

CVAN-/CVN-68 Nimitz - 1975->. Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding Co, Newport News VA. Powerplant: 2 nuclear reactors, 4 shafts. Length overall: 1,092' (332.85 meters). Flight deck width: 252' (76.8 meters). Beam: 134' (40.84 meters). Displacement, full load: about 97,000 tons (98,556.67 metric tons). Speed: 30+ kts (34.5+ mph). Aircraft: 85. Cost: about $4.5 billion. Crew: Ship's Company 3,200, Air Wing 2,480.

CVN-69 Dwight D Eisenhower - 1977->; Nimitz class.

Carl Vinson (USN)

CVN-70 Carl Vinson - 1982->; Nimitz class.

CVN-71 Theodore Roosevelt - 1986->; Nimitz class.

CVN-72 Abraham Lincoln - 1989->; Nimitz class.

CVN-73 George Washington - 1992->; Nimitz class.

CVN-74 John C Stennis - 1995->; Nimitz class.

Harry S Truman (USN)

CVN-75 Harry S Truman - 1998->; Nimitz class.

Ronald Reagan (USN)

CVN-76 Ronald Reagan - Christened 2001, commissioned 7/12/03. Nimitz class.

George H W Bush (USN)

CVN-77 - George H W Bush. Replacement for CV-64, christened 10/7/06. Nimitz class.

Gerald R Ford Computer concept (USN)

CVN-78 -

CVE/CVU Escort/Utility Carriers

CVE-1 Long Island
AVG-2 to -5 - Planned conversions of merchant ships cancelled in 1941
CVE-6 HMS Battler
CVE-7 HMS Attacker
CVE-8 HMS Hunter
CVE-9 Bogue
CVE-10 HMS Chaser
CVE-11 Card
CVE-12 Copahee
CVE-13 Core
CVE-14 HMS Fencer
CVE-15 HMS Stalker
CVE-16 Nassau
CVE-17 HMS Pursuer
CVE-18 Altamaha - Lost in a storm
CVE-19 HMS Striker
CVE-20 Barnes
CVE-21 Block Island - Lost in action
CVE-22 HMS Searcher
CVE-23 Breton
CVE-24 HMS Ravager
CVE-25 Croatan
CVE-26 Sangamon
CVE-27 Suwanee
CVE-28 Chenango
CVE-29 Santee
CVE-30 Charger, HMS Charger
CVE-31 Prince William
CVE-32 Chatham, HMS Slinger
CVE-33 Glacier, HMS Atheling
CVE-34 Pybus, HMS Emperor
CVE-35 Raffins, HMS Ameer
CVE-36 Bolinas, HMS Begum
CVE-37 Bastian, HMS Trumpeter
CVE-38 Carnegie, HMS Empress
CVE-39 Cordova, HMS Khedive
CVE-40 Delgada, HMS Speaker
CVE-41 Edisto, HMS Nabob
CVE-42 Estero, HMS Premier
CVE-43 Jamaica, HMS Shah
CVE-44 Keeweenaw, HMS Patroller
CVE-45 Prince, HMS Rajah
CVE-46 Niantic, HMS Ranee
CVE-47 Perdido, HMS Trouncer
CVE-48 Sunset, HMS Thane
CVE-49 St Andrews, HMS Queen
CVE-50 St Joseph, HMS Ruler
CVE-51 St Simon, HMS Arbiter
CVE-52 Vermilion, HMS Smiter
CVE-53 Willapa, HMS Puncher
CVE-54 Winjah, HMS Reaper
CVE-55 Casablanca
CVE-56 Liscombe Bay - Lost in action
CVE-57 Coral Sea, Anzio
CVE-58 Corrigedor
CVE-59 Mission Bay
CVE-60 Guadalcanal
CVE-61 Manila Bay
CVE-62 Natoma Bay
CVE-63 Midway, St Lo - Lost in action
CVE-64 Didrickson Bay
CVE-65 Wake Island
CVE-66 White Plains
CVE-67 Solomons
CVE-68 Kalinin Bay
CVE-69 Kasaan Bay
CVE-70 Fanshaw Bay
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay
CVE-72 Tulagi
CVE-73 Gambier Bay - Lost in action
CVE-74 Nehenta Bay
CVE-75 Hoggatt Bay
CVE-76 Kadashan Bay
CVE-77 Marcus Island
CVE-78 Savo Island
CVE-79 Ommaney Bay - Lost in action
CVE-80 Petrof Bay
CVE-81 Rudyard Bay
CVE-82 Saginaw Bay
CVE-83 Sargent Bay
CVE-84 Shamrock Bay
CVE-85 Shipley Bay
CVE-86 Sitkoh Bay
CVE-87 Steamer Bay
CVE-88 Cape Esperance
CVE-89 Takanis Bay
CVE-90 Thetis Bay
CVE-91 Macassar Strait
CVE-92 Windham Bay
CVE-93 Makin Island
CVE-94 Lunga Point
CVE-95 Bismark Sea - Lost in action
CVE-96 Salamaua
CVE-97 Hollandia
CVE-98 Kwajalein
CVE-99 Admiralty Islands
CVE-100 Bougainville
CVE-101 Mantanikau
CVE-102 Attu
CVE-103 Roi
CVE-104 Munda
CVE-105 Commencement Bay
CVE-106 Block Island
CVE-107 Gilbert Islands
CVE-108 Kula Gulf
CVE-109 Cape Gloucester
CVE-110 Salerno Bay
CVE-111 Vella Gulf
CVE-112 Siboney
CVE-113 Puget Sound
CVE-114 Rendova
CVE-115 Bairoko
CVE-116 Badoeng Strait
CVE-117 Saidor
CVE-118 Sicily
CVE-119 Point Cruz
CVE-120 Mindoro
CVE-121 Rabaul
CVE-122 Palau
CVE-123 Tinian (built, but never commissioned)
CVE-124 to -139 - cancelled.

CVL Light Carriers
Thanks to Jim Bohannan for research

There were nine ships of the Independence class (CVL) of 1940-42. From Fahey's Ships and Aircraft of the United States Fleet: CVLs normally carried about 45 aircraft, a Composite Squadron of Fighters, VSBs and VTBs. On some missions only Fighters were borne. They sometimes provided air cover for the larger CVs while their Groups were on strikes. Five CVLs were laid down as Light Cruisers of the Cleveland Class. They were reordered from New York Ship as CVs on 3/18/42. With four later ships they became CVLs in June 1943.

CVL-22 Independence (ex-CL-59 Amsterdam)
CVL-23 Princeton (ex-CL-61 Tallahassee)
CVL-24 Belleau Wood (ex-CL-76 New Haven)
CVL-25 Cowpens (ex-CL-77 Huntington)
CVL-26 Monterey (ex-CL-78 Dayton)
CVL-27 Langley (ex-CL-85 Fargo)
CVL-28 Cabot (ex-CL-79 Wilmington)
CVL-29 Bataan (ex-CL-99 Buffalo)
CVL-30 San Jacinto (ex-CL-100 Newark)

Two additional CVLs comprised the Saipan class of 1943 — an adaptation of the Baltimore class CA design. Built as carriers from the keel up, they were cleaner than the converted CVLs of the Independence class:

CVL-48 Saipan
CVL-49 Wright

IX Auxiliary Training Carriers

Bastard children though they may have been in the proud carrier group, IX-64 Wolverine and IX-81 Sable served their country well while landlocked on the Great Lakes. Converted from side-wheeler excursion steamers to flat-tops, they were used in training thousands of fledgling Naval aviators in the manly art of carrier operations.

Wolverinewas built originally in 1942 as civil Seeandbee, acquired for conversion by USN 3/12/42, commissioned 8/12/42, and stricken 11/28/45. Sable was built by the American Shipbuilding Co in 1924 as civil Greater Buffalo, acquired by USN 8/7/42, commissioned 5/8/42, and stricken 11/28/45.

-- Ships and Aircraft of the US Fleet,James C Fahey (Gemsco, various editions 1945-73; Naval Institute Press 1976)

-- Naval Historical Center. Internet site:

-- USN Vessel Registry. Internet site:

-- US Warships since 1945,Paul Silverstone (US Naval Institute Press)