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  • How Many Ships Are In The US Navy

How Many Ships Are in the U.S. Navy? A Breakdown

 

If you have ever asked yourself, how many ships are in the US Navy, you’re in luck. We have the answer. But it is important to understand how the Navy is structured and some of the various types of ships it has in it.

The U.S. Navy has seven numbered fleets in its arsenal; the 2nd Fleet, 3rd Fleet, 4th Fleet, 5th Fleet, 6th Fleet, 7th Fleet and 10th Fleet. If you noticed, one, eight and nine are missing and that’s because those fleets were established during World War II and have since been deactivated or merged with other fleets.

The U.S. Navy is the world’s second-largest navy with more than 280 ships, both commissioned and non-commissioned ships. China has the biggest navy on earth, but they have smaller coastal ships, and the American Navy simply has more power even though it has less ships. The U.S. Navy has larger, more capable vessels than any other navy in the world. So, if someone asks what the largest Navy in the world is, or how many ships are in the US Navy, frankly none of it matters because American ships are power projection platforms that can unleash a world of hurt on anything, land, sea, or air.

HOW MANY SHIPS ARE IN THE US NAVY SERVING AS AIRCRAFT CARRIERS?
A Navy aircraft carrier doesn't just launch aircraft – it projects power. A carrier air wing can dominate large stretches of territory – on the ocean or to land – with their reach and technological sophistication.

There are two active classes of nuclear-powered Navy aircraft carriers: the legacy Nimitz class, and the new Ford class. How many ships are in the US Navy matters less when the U.S. Navy has 11 of the world’s 43 carriers.

HOW MANY SHIPS ARE IN THE US NAVY SERVING AS CRUISERS & DESTROYERS?
Because cruisers and destroyers are so important to Navy operations, they are called “escort vessels.” But make no mistake, these ships are powerful and capable enough to operate on their own in almost any situation. There are 72 destroyers and 17 cruisers.

Arleigh Burke and Zumwalt class destroyers, are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. Destroyers can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups.

Ticonderoga-Class Guided-Missile Cruiser
These multi-role warships were commissioned in 1983 and they can launch missiles, perform anti-submarine missions and conduct interdiction or escort operations.

Arleigh-Burke Class Guided-Missile Destroyer
This is the Navy’s longest-running class which entered service in 1991. It can perform anti-air, anti-sub, and surface warfare.

Zumwalt-Class Destroyer
This is the Navy’s stealth destroyer that has an innovative technology that enables it to appear as a fishing boat on radar. It is about 40 percent larger than an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The Zumwalt-Class has been plagued by program costs overrun and performance challenges.

HOW MANY SHIPS ARE IN THE US NAVY SERVING AS SUBMARINES?
Navy submarines are among the most high-tech vessels in the world. They can insert SEAL teams into hostile target areas, launch guided or ballistic missiles, take out enemy subs and ships, and perform reconnaissance and rescue missions.

The U.S. Navy has 50 attack submarines, 14 ballistic missile subs, and 4 guided missile submarines.

HOW MANY SHIPS ARE IN THE US NAVY SERVING AS LITTORAL COMBAT SHIPS?
Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) come in two classes, Freedom and Independence. Their key advantage is that they are re-configurable. They can be fitted with "mission modules" specific to the task at hand. These ships perform a variety of missions like anti-mine, anti-submarine, and surface warfare.

The Freedom variant of the U.S. Navy’s LCS is a high-speed, agile, shallow-draft and networked surface ship. The LCS 1 and follow-on ships (LCS 3, LCS 5, LCS 7, etc.) are open-ocean capable, but are designed to defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance in the coastal water battlespace. A fast, maneuverable and networked surface combatant, LCS provides the required warfighting capabilities and operational flexibility to accomplish critical warfighting missions, including mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare with inherent capabilities that also support missions such as special operations and maritime interdiction.

The LCS delivers combat capability from core self-defense systems in concert with rapidly interchangeable, modular mission packages and an open architecture command and control system. The LCS aviation facilities and watercraft launch-and-recovery capability support focused mission packages outfitted with both manned and unmanned air, surface, and sub-surface vehicles. Reconfigurable spaces and weapons modules provide support service interfaces between mission package weapons, sensors and vehicles and the sea frame. Modularity maximizes the flexibility of LCS and enables commanders to meet changing warfare needs, while also supporting faster, easier technological updates. The LCS will be networked to share tactical information with aircraft, ships, submarines, joint and coalition units both at sea and on shore, and with LCS operating groups.

The Rolls Royce MT30 gas turbines on the Freedom variant are the largest of any surface combatant in the U.S. Navy. The flight deck is larger than those on U.S. Navy guided missile frigates, destroyers, and cruisers.

The Independence Variant of the LCS Class is a high speed, agile, shallow draft and networked surface ship. The LCS 2 and follow (LCS 4, LCS 6 and LCS 8 etc.) are open ocean capable ships but are designed to defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance in the coastal water battlespace. A fast, maneuverable and networked surface combatant, LCS provides the required warfighting capabilities and operational flexibility to accomplish critical warfighting missions including mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare with inherent capabilities that also support missions such as special operations and maritime interdiction.

LCS delivers combat capability from core self-defense systems in concert with rapidly interchangeable, modular mission packages and an open architecture command and control system. The LCS Independence variant aviation facilities and watercraft launch, and recovery capability support focused-mission packages outfitted with both manned and unmanned air, surface, and sub-surface vehicles. A mission bay and three weapons modules provide support service interfaces between mission package weapons, sensors and vehicles and the sea frame. Modularity maximizes the flexibility of LCS and enables commanders to meet changing warfare needs, while also supporting faster, easier technological updates. LCS will be networked to share tactical information with aircraft, ships, submarines, joint and coalition units both at sea and on shore, and with LCS operating groups.

The trimaran construction is unique to the US Navy and lends the USS Independence some unique characteristics. Its flight deck is the largest of any current surface combatant, and its hangar bay can hold two MH-60 helicopters.

The U.S. Navy has 22 LCS-Class ships.

HOW MANY SHIPS ARE IN THE US NAVY SERVING AS HOSPITAL SHIPS?
Whether providing medical support to deployed troops or offering critical care and humanitarian assistance in the wake of tragedy, hospital ships offer unique health care to those in need.

The U.S. Navy has two hospital ships.

HOW MANY SHIPS ARE IN THE US NAVY SERVING AS AMPHIBIOUS SHIPS?
Amphibious warfare ships resemble a small aircraft carrier; capable of Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing, Short Take-Off Vertical Landing, Vertical Take-Off and Landing tilt-rotor and Rotary Wing aircraft operations; contains a well deck to support use of Landing Craft, Air Cushioned and other watercraft.

Modern U.S. Navy Amphibious Assault Ships project power and maintain presence by serving as the cornerstone of the Amphibious Readiness Group / Expeditionary Strike Group. A key element of the Seapower 21 pillars of Sea Strike and Sea Basing, these ships transport and land elements of the Marine Expeditionary Unit or Marine Expeditionary Brigade with a combination of aircraft and landing craft.

The Tarawa-classes provide the Marine Corps with a means of ship-to-shore movement by helicopter in addition to movement by landing craft. They have extensive storage capacity and can accommodate Landing Craft Utility and LCAC craft. They were active during Operations Desert Shield / Storm. Since that time, LHAs have been participants in major humanitarian-assistance, occupation and combat operations in which the United States has been involved. Such operations have included participating as launch platforms for Marine Corps expeditionary forces into Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 and 2002, Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and humanitarian support after the catastrophic Tsunami in 2004. In 2004, they were used to transport thousands of Marines and their equipment to Iraq and Afghanistan for combat operations. 

Amphibious warships are designed to support the Marine Corps tenets of Operational Maneuver from the Sea and Ship to Objective Maneuver. They must be able to sail in harm’s way and provide a rapid buildup of combat power ashore in the face of opposition. Because of their inherent capabilities, these ships have been and will continue to be called upon to also support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice. The United States maintains the largest and most capable amphibious force in the world.

The U.S. Navy has 23 amphibious ships.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was created using U.S. Navy press releases and websites that contain public information.)

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  • How Many Ships Are In The US Navy

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