United States Navy ships
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The names of commissioned ships of the United States Navy all start with USS, meaning 'United States Ship'. Non-commissioned, civilian-manned vessels of the U.S. Navy have names that begin with USNS, standing for 'United States Naval Ship'. A letter-based hull classification symbol is used to designate a vessel's type. The names of ships are selected by the Secretary of the Navy. The names are that of states, cities, towns, important persons, important locations, famous battles, fish, and ideals. Usually, different types of ships have names originated from different types of sources.
Modern cruisers, destroyers and frigates are called Surface combatants and act mainly as escorts for aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, auxiliaries and civilian craft, but the largest ones have gained a land attack role through the use of cruise missiles and a population defense role through Missile defense.
See List of ships of the United States Navy for a more complete listing of ships past and present.
The ability of putting most nations within striking distance of U.S. air power make aircraft carriers the cornerstones of US forward deployment and deterrence strategy. Multiple carriers are deployed around the world to provide military presence, respond quickly to crises, and participate in joint exercises with allied forces; this has led the Navy to refer to their Nimitz-class carriers as "4.5 acres of sovereign and mobile American territory". Former President Bill Clinton summed up the importance of the aircraft carrier by stating that "when word of crisis breaks out in Washington, it's no accident the first question that comes to everyone's lips is: where is the nearest carrier?" The power and operational flexibility of a carrier lie in the aircraft of its carrier air wing. Made up of both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, a carrier air wing is able to perform over 150 strike missions at once, hitting over 700 targets a day. Carrier air wings also protect friendly forces, conduct electronic warfare, assist in special operations, and carry out search and rescue missions. The carriers themselves, in addition to enabling airborne operations, serve as command platforms for large battle groups or multinational task forces. U.S. Navy aircraft carriers can also host aircraft from other nations' navies; the French Navy's Rafale has operated, during naval exercises, from U.S. Navy flight decks.
Following below is a list of all carriers (and their homeports) on active duty or under construction as of 10 January 2009[update]. For a list of all carriers see List of aircraft carriers of the United States Navy and List of escort aircraft carriers of the United States Navy.
Enterprise class (Six originally planned, only one ever constructed)
Nimitz class (10 ships)
- USS Nimitz (CVN-68) — Everett, Washington
- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) — Norfolk, Virginia
- USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) — San Diego, California
- USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) — Norfolk, Virginia
- USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) — Everett, Washington
- USS George Washington (CVN-73) —Yokosuka, Japan
- USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) — Bremerton, Washington
- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) — Norfolk, Virginia
- USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) — Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, California
- USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) — Norfolk, Virginia
Ford Class (Two under construction, one more planned)
- USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) — Under Construction, will replace the USS Enterprise
- USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) — Under Construction, may replace the USS Nimitz
- USS Enterprise (CVN-80) — Planned, may replace the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower
Amphibious assault ships
Amphibious assault ships carry Marines and are the platforms for Marine aircraft. They project power as aircraft carriers do, allowing the military to strike targets from a distance. Amphibious assault ships superficially resemble aircraft carriers except without an angled flight deck.
- Wasp class (8 ships)
- USS Wasp (LHD-1), Norfolk, Virginia
- USS Essex (LHD-2), San Diego, California
- USS Kearsarge (LHD-3), Norfolk, Virginia
- USS Boxer (LHD-4), San Diego, California
- USS Bataan (LHD-5), Norfolk, Virginia
- USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), Sasebo, Japan
- USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7), Norfolk, Virginia
- USS Makin Island (LHD-8), San Diego, California
- America class (At least four ships planned)
Amphibious Transport Docks
An amphibious transport dock, also called a landing platform/dock (LPD), is an amphibious warfare ship, a warship that embarks, transports, and lands elements of a landing force for expeditionary warfare missions. Several navies currently operate this kind of ship. The ships are generally designed to transport troops into a war zone by sea, primarily using landing craft, although invariably they also have the capability to operate transport helicopters.
- San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock (7 active ships)
- USS San Antonio (LPD-17), Norfolk, Virginia
- USS New Orleans (LPD-18), Naval Base San Diego, California
- USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19), Norfolk, Virginia
- USS Green Bay (LPD-20), San Diego, California
- USS New York (LPD-21), Norfolk, Virginia
- USS San Diego (LPD-22), Naval Base San Diego, California
- USS Anchorage (LPD-23), (Under construction)
- USS Arlington (LPD-24), Norfolk, Virginia
- USS Somerset (LPD-25), (Under construction)
- USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26), (Under construction)
Dock Landing Ships
Dock landing ships are similar to amphibious transport dock ships, but lack hangar facilities to store and service embarked aircraft.
- Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship (8 active ships)
- USS Whidbey Island (LSD-41), Little Creek, VA
- USS Germantown (LSD-42), Naval Base San Diego, California
- USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43), Little Creek, VA
- USS Gunston Hall (LSD-44), Little Creek, VA
- USS Comstock (LSD-45), Naval Base San Diego, California
- USS Tortuga (LSD-46), United States Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan
- USS Rushmore (LSD-47), Naval Base San Diego, California
- USS Ashland (LSD-48), Little Creek, VA
- Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship (4 active ships)
There are two major types of submarines, ballistic and attack. Ballistic submarines have the single strategic mission of nuclear deterrence by being hidden launching-platforms for nuclear ICBMs. Attack submarines have tactical missions, including controlling naval and shipping activity, serving as cruise missile-launching platforms, and intelligence-gathering.
- Los Angeles class (42 in commission) – attack submarines
- Seawolf class (3 in commission) – attack submarines
- Virginia class (8 in commission, 2 under construction, 12 ordered, 8 more planned) — attack submarines
- Ohio class (18 in commission) – 14 ballistic missile submarines, 4 guided missile submarines
The destroyer evolved from the need of navies to counter a new ship which made a devastating debut in the 1891 Chilean Civil War and in the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894. This was the swift, small torpedo boat that could dash in close to the larger ships, loose their torpedoes and dash away. The world's navies recognized the need for a counter weapon, and so the torpedo boat destroyer—later just "destroyer"—was born. Modern destroyers have evolved greatly from this initial role; some are arguably the primary surface combatants of their fleets.
- Arleigh Burke class (61 in commission, 1 launched, 4 under contract, 75 planned) 
- Zumwalt class (1 under construction, 1 ordered, 1 more planned) — designed as multi-mission ships with a focus on land attack.
Frigates (according to the modern classification of U.S. navy warships) are smaller ships than destroyers. They are designed primarily to protect other ships (such as merchant convoys), and perform some Anti-Submarine Warfare duties. They are of more limited scope than destroyers, but are also more cost-efficient.
- Oliver Hazard Perry class (22 in commission)
- Cyclone-class coastal patrol ship (14 built, 13 in service, 1 transferred to the Philippine Navy)
- USS Tempest (PC-2), Little Creek, VA
- USS Hurricane (PC-3), Little Creek, VA
- USS Monsoon (PC-4), Little Creek, VA
- USS Typhoon (PC-5), Manama, Bahrain
- USS Sirocco (PC-6), Manama, Bahrain
- USS Squall (PC-7), Little Creek, VA
- USS Chinook (PC-9), Manama, Bahrain
- USS Firebolt (PC-10), Manama, Bahrain
- USS Whirlwind (PC-11), Manama, Bahrain
- USS Thunderbolt (PC-12), Little Creek, VA
Mine Countermeasures Ships
- Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship (14 in service)
- USS Avenger (MCM-1), United States Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan
- USS Defender (MCM-2), United States Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan
- USS Sentry (MCM-3), San Diego, California
- USS Champion (MCM-4), San Diego, California
- USS Guardian (MCM-5), United States Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan
- USS Devastator (MCM-6), San Diego, California
- USS Patriot (MCM-7), United States Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan
- USS Scout (MCM-8), Manama, Bahrain
- USS Pioneer (MCM-9), San Diego, California
- USS Warrior (MCM-10), San Diego, California
- USS Gladiator (MCM-11), Manama, Bahrain
- USS Ardent (MCM-12), Manama, Bahrain
- USS Dextrous (MCM-13), Manama, Bahrain
- USS Chief (MCM-14), San Diego, California
Littoral combat ship
A littoral combat ship (LCS) is a type of relatively small surface vessel intended for operations in the littoral zone (close to shore). It is "envisioned to be a networked, agile, stealthy surface combatant capable of defeating anti-access and asymmetric threats in the littorals."
- Independence-class littoral combat ship (2 completed, 1 in service)
- Freedom-class littoral combat ship (2 completed, 2 in service)
Historically significant vessels
The U.S. Navy has operated a number of vessels important to both United States and world naval history:
- USS Constitution, nicknamed "Old Ironsides", is the only surviving vessel of the original six frigates authorized by Congress in the Naval Act of 1794, which established the United States Navy. It served with distinction in the War of 1812 and is currently docked in Charlestown, Massachusetts, as the oldest commissioned warship afloat.
- USS Monitor and CSS Virginia are together known for participating in the first engagement between two steam-powered ironclads, known as the Battle of Hampton Roads. The Monitor was the first ironclad built by the U.S. Navy and its design introduced the rotating gun turret to naval warfare.
- USS Alligator was the first submarine built by the U.S. Navy. The submarine sank in 1863 while being towed during a storm and never saw combat. Though not technically a U.S. Navy vessel, H.L. Hunley (from the same war and era) was the first successful combat submarine.
- USS Maine (ACR-1) In January 1898, the Maine was sent from Key West, Florida, to Havana, Cuba, to protect U.S. interests during a time of local insurrection and civil disturbances. Three weeks later, on February 15 at 9:40 p.m., an explosion on board the Maine occurred in the Havana Harbor. The explosion was a precipitating cause of the Spanish-American War that began in April 1898.
- USS Arizona (BB-39) was a Pennsylvania-class battleship, best known for her cataclysmic and dramatic sinking, with the loss of 1,177 lives, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, the event that brought about U.S. involvement in World War II. The USS Arizona Memorial is constructed over the shattered hull, which still contains the remains of most of the crew. It is commonly—but incorrectly—believed that Arizona remains perpetually in commission, likely because naval vessels entering Pearl Harbor render honors to the remains of the vessel.
- USS Washington (BB-56), the only U.S. battleship to sink an enemy battleship in direct combat, in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, 13 November 1942.
- USS Indianapolis (CA-35), a Portland-class cruiser, was sunk on 30 July 1945 by the Imperial Japanese Navy, leading to the worst loss of life at sea in U.S. Navy history. Approximately 300 sailors of the listed crew of 1,196 died in the attack itself, but of the 880 who survived after, only 316 men lived to be rescued. The men survived four days after suffering from a lack of food, dehydration, exposure, and shark attacks.
- USS Enterprise (CV-6), a Yorktown-class aircraft carrier, was the most decorated U.S. warship in World War II, earning 20 of 22 possible battle stars. She was the only ship outside of the British Royal Navy to earn the Admiralty Pennant, the highest award of the British, in the more than 400 years since its creation.
- USS Missouri (BB-63), an Iowa-class battleship, was the site of the surrender of the Empire of Japan which ended World War II. She was also the last battleship built by the United States. In 1955, she was decommissioned and assigned to the inactive reserve fleet (the "Mothball Fleet"), but reactivated and modernized in 1984 as part of the 600-ship Navy plan, and fought in the 1991 Gulf War. Decommissioned in 1995, she was the last actively serving battleship in the world. She was donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association in 1998 and became a museum ship at Pearl Harbor, moored facing the USS Arizona.
- USS Nautilus (SSN-571), a submarine commissioned in 1954, was the world's first nuclear-powered ship. It demonstrated its capabilities by traveling 62,562 miles (100,684 km), more than half of which was submerged, in two years before having to refuel while breaking the record for longest submerged voyage, as well as being the first submarine to transit submerged under the North Pole in 1958.
- USS Liberty (AGTR-5) was an intelligence gathering ship attacked by Israeli jet fighter planes and motor torpedo boats on June 8, 1967, during the Six-Day War while in international waters off the Sinai Peninsula.
- USS Skate (SSN-578), a nuclear-powered submarine commissioned in 1957, was the first ship to physically reach the North Pole when she surfaced there in 1958.
- USS Triton (SSRN-586), a nuclear-powered submarine commissioned in 1959, made the first submerged circumnavigation of the world during its shakedown cruise in 1960, as well as being the only non-Soviet submarine to be powered by two nuclear reactors.
- USS George Washington (SSBN-598), commissioned in 1959, was the first ever ballistic missile submarine.
- USS Long Beach (CGN-9) was the first nuclear-powered surface warship in the world when she was commissioned in 1961 and signaled a new era of United States naval weaponry by being the first large ship in the Navy to have guided missiles as its main battery.
- USS Enterprise (CVN-65) was the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier when she was commissioned in 1961.
- USS Pueblo (AGER-2) was boarded and seized by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) on 23 January 1968 and is still under Korean control. The ship remains in commission to this day.
- USS Stark (FFG-31) was struck on May 17, 1987 by two Exocet antiship missiles fired from an Iraqi Mirage F1 fighter during the Iran–Iraq War becoming the victim of the only successful anti-ship missile attack on a U.S. Navy warship.
- USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) is an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate which struck an Iranian mine on 14 April 1988, severely damaging, and nearly sinking her, resulting in ten injured sailors, but no fatalities. The ship suffered flooding, fires, and a broken keel, which normally is fatal to the ship, but damage control efforts saved the ship. The attack resulted in the launching of Operation Praying Mantis. The ship is still in active service.
- USS Vincennes (CG-49) is a Ticonderoga-class AEGIS equipped guided missile cruiser. In 1988, the ship shot down Iran Air Flight 655 over the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 civilian passengers on board, including 38 non-Iranians and 66 children.
- USS Cole (DDG-67) On 12 October 2000, while at anchor in Aden, Yemen, the Cole was attacked by Al-Qaeda suicide bombers, who sailed a small boat near the destroyer and detonated explosive charges. The blast created a hole in the port side of the ship about 40 feet (12 m) in diameter, killing 17 crew members and injuring 39.
- Aircraft carriers
- Amphibious assault ships
- Carrier strike group
- United States ship naming conventions
- List of submarine classes in service
- List of naval ship classes in service
- List of auxiliary ship classes in service
- "Why the carriers?". Official United States Navy website. Retrieved 7 March 2007.
- "Fact file - Aircraft Carriers". United States Navy. Retrieved 7 March 2007.
- "World Wide Aircraft Carriers". globalSecurity.org. Retrieved 12 November 2006.
- The US Navy Aircraft Carriers. Official U.S. Navy Website. Retrieved 20 August 2006.
- "Carrier Design". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 8 April 2006.
- French Sailors Experience Flight Operations Aboard Roosevelt, US Navy Press Release, 22 July 2008, navy.mil
- "Northrop wins contract add-on for 10th LPD-class amphibious transport dock ship". The Mississippi Press. 30 April 2010.
- "Ingalls-built Amphibious Transport Dock Somerset (LPD 25) Completes Acceptance Trials". October 11, 2013.
- "US Navy Orders Up To 10 Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers". June 05, 2013.
- PRODUCT LINES AT SUPSHIP BATH
- "SSN-571 Nautilus." GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 20 July 2006.