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Naval ship

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A United States Navy Atlantic Fleet task force underway in 1959. The ships include an aircraft carrier, two submarines, and seven destroyers.

A naval ship (or naval vessel) is a military ship (or sometimes boat, depending on classification) used by a navy. Naval ships are differentiated from civilian ships by construction and purpose. Generally, naval ships are damage resilient and armed with weapon systems, though armament on troop transports is light or non-existent.

Naval ships designed primarily for naval warfare are termed warships, as opposed to support (auxiliary ships) or shipyard operations.

Naval ship classification

United States Navy and Philippine Navy vessels in the Sulu Sea in 2005

Naval ship classification is a field that has changed over time, and is not an area of wide international agreement, so this article currently uses the system as currently used by the United States Navy.

  • Aircraft carrier – ships that serve as mobile seaborne airfields, designed primarily for the purpose of conducting combat operations by Carrier-based aircraft which engage in attacks against airborne, surface, sub-surface and shore targets.
  • Surface combatant – large, heavily armed surface ships which are designed primarily to engage enemy forces on the high seas, including various types of battleship, battlecruiser, cruiser, destroyer, frigate, and corvette.
  • Submarine – self-propelled submersible types regardless of whether they are employed as combatant, auxiliary, or research and development vehicles which have at least a residual combat capability.
  • Patrol combatant – combatants whose mission may extend beyond coastal duties and whose characteristics include adequate endurance and sea keeping providing a capability for operations exceeding 48 hours on the high seas without support.
  • Amphibious warfare – ships having organic capability for amphibious assault and which have characteristics enabling long duration operations on the high seas.
  • Combat logistics – ships that have the capability to provide underway replenishment to fleet units.
  • Mine warfare – ships whose primary function is mine warfare on the high seas.
  • Coastal defense – ships whose primary function is coastal patrol and interdiction.
  • Sealift – ships that have the capability to provide direct material support to other deployed units operating far from home base.
  • Support – ships, such as oilers and auxiliary ships designed to operate in the open ocean in a variety of sea states to provide general support to either combatant forces or shore based establishments. (Includes smaller auxiliaries which, by the nature of their duties, leave inshore waters).
  • Service type craft – navy-subordinated craft (including non-self-propelled) designed to provide general support to either combatant forces or shore-based establishments.

Size

The USS Enterprise (CVN-65), the longest naval vessel ever built, near Portsmouth, England in 2004

In rough order of tonnage (largest to smallest), modern surface naval ships are commonly divided into the following different classes. The larger ships in the list can also be classed as capital ships.

Some classes above may now be considered obsolete as no ships matching the class are in current service. There is also much blurring and gray areas between the classes, depending on their intended use, history, and interpretation of the class by different navies.

Auxiliary ships

The USNS Patuxent (T-AO-201) replenishment oiler resupplying HMS Dauntless (D33) in 2012
HNoMS Haakon VII (A537), a Royal Norwegian Navy training ship, off Washington, D.C. in 1970. The vessel formerly served as the USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39) until 1958.

Navies also use auxiliary ships for transport and other non-combat purposes. They are classified by different names according to their roles:

See also

  • "US Navy Ships". Official Website of the United States Navy. Archived from the original on 10 April 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  • Jordan, Valinsky (30 April 2015). "Here's the Entire U.S. Navy Fleet in One Chart". Official Website of the United States Navy. Retrieved 26 March 2017.*"United States Naval Recognition Training Slides-Grand Valley State University Archives and Special Collections". Archived from the original on 2017-04-18. Retrieved 2019-01-01.
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Naval ship
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