An aircraft carrier is a huge warship that serves as an airbase in the ocean. It is equipped with high-end flight facilities and a flight deck that carries, deploys, and recovers aircraft.
Because of its humongous size, only a few countries can make and construct an aircraft carrier since it is very intricate and exorbitant to manufacture. If your country has this warship, aren’t you curious about how much does aircraft carrier cost?
Average Cost of Aircraft Carrier
It really depends on a lot of factors, but basically, it can run from around $1 billion to more than $13 billion. In terms of Nimitz, or those nuclear supercarriers, expect the cost to rise to $22 billion.
Here is a list of some aircraft carriers around the world with their corresponding costs:
- The price of an aircraft carrier named Cavour CVH that is located in Italy runs around $2 billion.
- Charles de Gaulle, which is located in France, has a cost of around $3.7 billion.
- CVN-78 Gerald R. Ford, which is located in the United States, has a cost of around $13.3 billion.
- The aircraft carrier in the United Kingdom named Queen Elizabeth costs around $3.7 billion.
- A George HW Bush aircraft carrier in the United States costs around $6.26 billion.
- In Japan, the aircraft carrier named Hyuga DDH costs around $1.06 billion.
- India also has its own aircraft carrier named Vikrant, which costs around $10 to $11 billion.
Keep in mind that the given aircraft carrier prices are for the cost of construction or manufacturing alone. There will still be operating costs that should be considered.
The maintenance and operational costs of a large-sized aircraft carrier run at around $160 million per year, and that is for the personnel alone. So if you add up the fuel for the aircraft and its parts for maintenance, the total operational cost for a single aircraft carrier per year would be around $400 million.
To operate the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford, it will cost $2.5 million a day. This amount will cover the cost of the air wing, the support of a single attack submarine and five surface combat ships, plus 6,700 sailors.
On the other hand, a Nimitz class aircraft will need around $1.5 million in budget for it to run for just one day.
Another thing to consider is the launching of the aircraft carrier, which will also cost a lot. On average, it will be launched 18 times per day, which will be equivalent to more than $90,000.
So if you are planning to purchase your own aircraft carrier, prepare at least $5 billion in budget.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Aircraft Carriers
The cost of an aircraft carrier greatly depends on but is not limited to the following criteria:
- Size and weight – because of the different types of aircraft these carriers are intended to carry, their size and weight will be a major factor in their overall cost. This is because of the need for more materials and labor as the requirements become larger and heavier.
- Speed and toughness – one of the main reasons why the United States spends a lot of money on supercarriers is because of their armor and compartments. Due to this, carriers can’t get any damage from torpedoes or naval mines. The more speed and toughness the finished product has, the higher the cost.
- Capacity of the warship – the cost may also differ depending on the warship’s capacity. This means that the cost also varies depending on how many aircraft it can carry and how many personnel it can accommodate. The USS Gerald R. Ford can carry at least 75 aircraft and can accommodate almost 7,000 personnel, as mentioned above.
- Capability of the warship – Some supercarriers are equipped with both active and passive defenses, like the ones the US owns. They can easily defend against missiles and submarines. Each of their supercarriers has high-end sensors, heat-seeking and radar-guided missiles, and Gatling guns. The supercarriers’ sensors and weapons are combined through their high-end command center for more coordination during the action.
- Where manufactured – because different countries make or manufacture aircraft carriers, the cost of production may vary depending on which country produces these carriers. This is due to the fact that materials and labor costs are not the same in every part of the world.
- Technology used – it goes without saying that because the manufacturers are from different countries, the technology being used may also be different and may even be patented in different parts of the world. With this fact in mind, the cost may also have a big difference.
- System of propulsion – the type of propulsion used by aircraft carriers also affects the overall cost. Nuclear propulsion, steam turbine propulsion, turbo pressurized boilers, a combination of pressurized boilers and steam turbines, gas turbines, diesel generators, a combination of gas turbines and diesel generators, among others. The USS Gerald R. Ford is powered by nuclear propulsion and is considered the most expensive warship ever built.
Aircraft Carriers Around the World
There are only a limited number of countries that can construct their own aircraft carriers. Currently, there are only around 43 active aircraft carriers that are being operated by 14 navies throughout the whole world.
The United States alone has 11 supercarriers. These are huge aircraft carriers that are nuclear-powered. Each of these can carry at least 80 fighter jets.
These supercarriers are the largest carriers in the whole world. The combined deck space of all 11 supercarriers is twice as large as all of the aircraft carriers from other nations combined. Here are some of the specifications:
- The total height of a supercarrier is around 244 feet. It can be compared to the height of a 24-story building.
- The amount of water that is displaced when the carrier is fully loaded is around 97,000 tons.
- The total weight of its steel structure runs at around 60,000 tons.
- The total area of its flight deck runs around 4.5 acres.
- The number of compartments and spaces inside is usually around 4,000 or more.
On the other hand, other countries such as China, India, Russia, and France have their own medium-sized aircraft carriers that can carry at least 30 fighter jets and up to 50.