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    Naval Might or Maritime Mishap: A Glance at the World’s Less Effective Aircraft Carriers

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    Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier” by Ministry of Defence is licensed under CC BY 4.0

    The measure of an aircraft carrier’s effectiveness is not merely in its size or appearance but in its operational capacity and technological prowess.

    Russian Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is Escorted by HMS York Near Scotland” by Defence Images is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    As enthusiasts of military technology and strategy, we delve into the complexities and shortcomings of certain flattops that have failed to deliver on their intended potential.

    Admiral Kuznetsov, Russian Aircraft Carrier” by Christopher.Michel is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Take, for instance, Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov, notorious for its persistent need for repairs and reliance on a tugboat escort due to its tendency to breakdown.

    HMS Liverpool Escorts Russian Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov” by Defence Images is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    Its utilization of Mazut as a power source, an outdated petrochemical, contrasts starkly with the advancements seen in American nuclear-powered carriers, highlighting a technological chasm in carrier capabilities.

    HTMS Chakri Naruebet at Changi Naval Base” by Alert5 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

    The HTMS Chakri Naruebet stands as Thailand’s first and only aircraft carrier, while the Chakri Naruebet has not necessarily suffered from design flaws or repeated maintenance issues, it’s simply not being used for what it was supposed to.

    File:HTMS Chakri Naruebet 001.jpg” by Pescov is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

    The removal of its Harrier V/STOL jet fleet left a void, reducing it to a helicopter carrier, further limited by budget constraints.

    USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) transits the Bay of Dadiz with ITS Giuseppe Garibaldi, USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) and USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20).” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Italy’s Giuseppe Garibaldi, while historically significant as the nation’s first through-deck aviation ship, also falls short of being a contemporary powerhouse in terms of carrier capabilities.

    ITS Giuseppe Garibaldi (C-551)” by BuquesdeGuerra.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Despite participating in combat operations across various theaters, it is deemed “hardly class-leading,” suggesting a vessel more respected for its service than feared for its might.

    An F/A-18F Super Hornet approaches USS Gerald R. Ford.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    The United States, while home to the most advanced carriers like the USS Gerald R. Ford, is not immune to carrier criticism.

    Commissioned in July 2017, the USS Gerald R. Ford is the most powerful and capable supercarrier ever built. However, it has been plagued by recurring issues and is still not combat-ready a year after being deployed.

    220122-N-IN633-1617” by U.S. Pacific Fleet is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    The USS Wasp’s lengthy absence from major deployments raised questions and concerns about its readiness and effectiveness.

    An F-35B Lightning II aircraft is secured aboard USS Wasp (LHD 1).” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Though the ship was retrofitted for the F-35Bs, the gap in its deployment history cannot be ignored.

    Mar. 2014: Landing Helicopter Dock CANBERRA [III] is pushed to the Woolloomooloo berth long occupied by Australia’s last aircraft carrier, HMAS MELBOURNE [II] – Bonny Gassner, RAN.” by Kookaburra2011 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Australia’s foray into the world of aircraft carriers with the HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide, both Landing Helicopter Dock carriers, was marked by propulsion problems hinting at design issues.

    HMAS Adelaide L01 at Fleet East Base, Sydney” by map.009 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    These setbacks raise the curtain on the challenges even advanced navies face when integrating new technologies into their maritime fleets.

    HMAS Adelaide (L01), Fremantle, 2017 (04)” by Bahnfrend is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

    In today’s climate of rapidly advancing military technology and geopolitical power plays, the stories of these vessels serve as a sobering reminder that innovation is fraught with risk and failure.

    Relevant articles:
    Flattop Failures: 5 Worst Aircraft Carriers Ever, The National Interest
    Aircraft Carrier Designs That Didn’t Fly: 5 Worst Carriers Ever to Sail, The National Interest
    These are the world’s 7 worst aircraft carriers that are currently in service, Business Insider

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