Military establishments all over the world today have very sophisticated machines and ammunition. From automatic auxiliary guns to lightning-fast fighter jets, the world’s military has gotten its own fair share of technological advancements and upgrades.
On land, armies make use of ground vehicles like armored battle tanks and combat support vehicles. In the air, fighter jets are deployed for airstrikes and surveillance, while on the sea large military vessels are used to extend military strength and power.
In medieval times, warships were made chiefly from hard seasoned wood. These ships were powered by oars or sails and sometimes both. Today vessels have become more sophisticated as they are now powered by heavy turbines that can propel them as fast as possible on the water.
These days, wooden vessels are out of commission. Ships are now made from steel and aluminum alloys which make them very durable and resistant to impact from underwater rocks usually found in docking areas.
What is NSN?
The National or Nato Stock Number replaced the Federal Stock Number (FSN) developed by the US Department of Defence in 1949. This number was an 11-digit code used to identify various items in the Army-Navy Catalog System. The FSN was replaced by the NSN which has 13 digits. The two extra numbers are added at the 5th and 6th positions to signify the country of origin. In this vein, the 5th and 6th positions of the U.S. military vessels’ NSN and that of other items will be 00 which is the code for the United States.
Types of Military Vessels
Naval fleets all over the world are diversified, having various types of ships or vessels serving specific purposes. In this article, we’ll cover the following naval vessels:
- Aircraft carriers
- Littoral combat ships
- Attack submarines
- Amphibious assault ships
- Ballistic missile submarines
- Cruise missile submarine
- Support ships
#1 Aircraft Carriers
Aircraft carriers, also known as supercarriers, are mobile airbases. They are large vessels with a long flat deck used by aircraft for landings and take-offs at sea. On these vessels, air force operations are carried out very similarly to being on land. These floating airbases are the largest of all military ships in the world weighing over 100,000 tons and have the capacity of housing about 6,000 men. In the world today, the U.S. Navy is the only one that has up to 11 active aircraft carriers. The United Kingdom, Italian, and Chinese Navies each have two active aircraft carriers with the rest of the world owning one or none at all. Click here to see the full list of aircraft carriers by country.
#2 Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs)
As the name suggests, littoral combat ships are designed to operate in areas with shallow waters. In these areas, bigger ships like the supercarriers cannot be used. The numbers of LCSs actively in use are very few and they all belong to the United States Navy. They can be used for a number of functions like special operations warfare, mine hunting, reconnaissance, and as helicopter platforms. To lower the cost of operating these ships, only the minimum number of crew members is used.
Cruisers are the strongest of all naval vessels. They are designed to have incredible firepower that can take out any opposition faced by its strike group. These days, cruisers and destroyers are often mistaken for the other because new destroyers like the DDG-1000 now have bigger guns and firepower than some cruisers.
#4 Attack Submarines
An attack submarine is designed specifically for underwater combat to take out enemy submarines and also surface vessels. They mostly use torpedoes for strikes but could also have cruise missiles to increase their target range. Because they have low visibility and are great for stealth operations, they are also often used in spying out and gathering enemy intel. Attack submarines can stay underwater for as long as six months on patrol.
Frigates protect other ships in their strike group from enemy submarines. They typically weigh over 3000 tons and carry 76 mm guns, torpedoes, and Phalanx close-in weapons. Frigates are similar to cruisers, corvettes, and destroyers, and so are easily mistaken when being referred to.
Destroyers have a wide range of use, and so is one of the most used vessels in the world today. They can be used for land, water, and air attacks, as well as underwater defense. Destroyers have large weapons with great firepower and are capable of massive destruction. Currently, there are 57 of these vessels active with the DDG-1000 being the newest model.
Corvettes are the smallest of all warships. They are mostly used for patrols in smaller seas because of their small size and maneuverability. Corvettes typically weigh between 500 and 2,000 tons, with newer models going up to 3,000 tons. They have a low cost of operation and as a result, are used by a lot of navies around the world.
The U.S., South Korea, Argentina, Germany, Portugal, Turkey, Indonesia, Israel, and Romania are among the many nations whose naval fleet includes this vessel. Russia has the greatest number of corvettes in operation today due to their connection with many small seas.
#8 Amphibious Assault Ships
These are warfare ships used to protect ground troops from hostile surface vessels and airplanes. Other functions of this ship are to provide support, refueling of ground vehicles, and transport. They have decks where helicopters and smaller aircraft can land and take off from. Bigger amphibious assault ships are sometimes regarded as supercarriers.
#9 Ballistic missile submarines
These submarines are specially designed for deepwater operations. They are used in offensive strikes to destroy strategic enemy targets using nuclear warheads. Because they mostly use nuclear warheads for strikes, these submarines are powered by strong nuclear reactors that give them range that is almost unlimited.
#10 Cruise missile submarine
Cruise missile submarines are designed to carry and launch cruise missiles known as submarine-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs). These submarines have incredible firepower, with some capable of launching 154 missiles without having to refuel and rearm. The Ohio-class submarine is a perfect example of these powerful underwater war machines.
Earlier designs of this submarine were unable to launch attacks from underwater. In newer models, this problem has been fixed and they can now conveniently cause massive destruction while being totally submerged underwater. Check out https://www.military.com/equipment/ssgn-ohio-class-guided-missile-submarine to learn more about the Ohio-class submarine.
#11 Support ships
Unlike other vessels discussed in this article, support ships are not specifically designed for battle. They provide all that the Navy needs to function efficiently. Onboard these ships are stores with parts for repair, food, mail, and other needed supplies.
These ships are often very large and specialized. One of such is the Navy hospital ship equipped with operating and emergency rooms. Support vessels are very important members of a fleet, especially during war.
Every nation in the world today has some form of Naval presence in oceans around the world. However, the United States Navy is considered the most powerful, owing to its large fleet of warships.