A combatant ship is armed with offensive weaponry, although the ship and its weapons may be employed in offensive or defensive roles. Combatant ships and auxiliary ships form the two primary groups of naval vessels. The key discriminator is that, if even armed, auxiliary ship weapons are used for ship self-defense only.
- Aircraft carriers
- Battleships, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, corvettes
- Fast attack craft
- Amphibious assault ships
- Patrol craft
Most types perform many of the combatant operations, see their respective articles for details.
Combatant vs. auxiliary roles
The roles of combatant and auxiliary ships can overlap. An aircraft carrier's roles start with the traditional auxiliary roles of transport (of aircraft) and replenishment (of her battle group), but the ability to launch her aircraft for offensive strikes or defensive air cover makes her a prime combatant. The difference between a combatant amphibious assault ship and an auxiliary troop ship, both of which carry troops, is the organic ability to land the troops under combat conditions with landing craft or helicopters. Unarmed supply, research, and rescue submarines are properly auxiliaries.
References and notes
- "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go into harm's way." - John Paul Jones, USN
|This naval article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|