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The first true aircraft carriers were put into service at the end of the First World War as the Royal Navy converted several of its excess warships into large, floating airfields, writes Robert Farley, military affairs analyst of the American magazine ‘The National Interest’ in his article devoted to these symbols of state power.
During the interwar period, Japan and the United States made make their own ‘conversions’ with its large warships (obsolete enough to continue serving as battleships), and the three navies would supplement these ships, originally not designed for this, with ships designed to carry aircraft.
A few months after the beginning of hostilities in the Second World War in September 1939, the aircraft carriers demonstrated its worth in a variety of maritime tasks. By the end of 1941, these ships became the most valuable ships at sea.
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1. USS Enterprise, USA. It was the first nuclear aircraft carrier in the world and the largest warship that has entered service with 342 m, and the eleventh largest displacement.
2. HMS Illustrious, United Kingdom. It is currently the flagship of the British Navy. It can take on board Fighter-bombers as well as helicopters.
3. Zuikaku, Japan. It was one of the six Japanese aircraft carriers involved in the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. It could reach a speed of 34 knots and resist several impacts and damages during combats.
4. USS Midway, USA. It moves 45,000 tons; it could reach a speed of 33 knots and carry about 100 aircraft.
5. USS Theodore Roosevelt, USA. It is capable of carrying between 75-80 modern fighter aircrafts and can reach a speed of 30 knots.