Navy ships or naval ships are types of ships that are specifically designed for the use of naval forces. They differ from merchant and civilian ships in terms of design, construction and use. Navy ships are normally made of specialised steel alloy that makes them damage resilient during the enemy attacks. Most of navy ships are armed with advanced weapon system with exception of troop transporters where armament is light or non-existent. Navy ships that are exclusively built for combat are called warships.
Navy ships are built in an entirely different way from merchant ships. They are equipped to carry weapons, ammunition and supplies for crew, and are designed in a way to handle and use them whenever required. They are also designed to move faster than merchant ships and withstand damage during an emergency. They have capability to operate independently as well with a squadron of specialised ships with commander of fleet traveling in the flagship, which is the most powerful ship in the group.
Navy ships are classified in different categories according to their size and purpose of use. It ranges from the largest supercarriers and aircraft carriers to the smallest fast attack crafts. Modern surface naval ships are often divided into the following different classes.
Supercarrier is an unofficial term describing the largest type of aircraft carrier and their displacement is usually over 70,000 long tons. Supercarriers are the largest navy ships ever built eclipsing even the largest battleship classes laid down by all countries.
They are giant ships acting as a seaborne airbase for the navy. They are primarily used in deploying aircrafts for air combat operations from the sea for use in attacks against airborne, surface and shore targets. As they are very expensive to built and manage, only ten nations including USA, Russia, China and UK have operating aircraft carriers in the world.
A battleship is a large armored navy ship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. Battleships have better weapons, armor and are larger than cruisers and destroyers. Because they were the largest ships in a fleet, battleships were used to attain command of the sea and represented the apex of a nation's naval power.
When last Iowa-class ships were decommissioned no battleship remain in service (neither in reserve) with any navy worldwide. A number of them are preserved as museum ships, either afloat or in drydock.
As its name says helicopter carrier is an aircraft carrier whose primary purpose is to operate helicopters. Helicopter carriers have been used as ASW carriers and amphibious assault ships.
A cruiser is large warship built for high speed and large cruising radius, capable of defending its own fleet and coastlines and also jeopardising those of the enemy.
Nowadays only USA, Russia, and Peru still have operating cruisers, though the line between cruisers and destroyers is once again blurred. New models of destroyers (for instance the Zumwalt class) are often more powerful and larger than cruiser classes they replace.
They are very fast and maneuverable navy ships used for escorting larger vessels during attacks by powerful short-range enemy attacks.
Frigate is a type of small escort ship used to guard convoys from submarines and has antiaircraft role. Frigate is equipped with radar and surface-to-air missiles and antisubmarine gear.
Nowadays many frigates carry helicopters to aid in submarine hunting. Such a vessel displaces upward of 3,000 tons, has a top speed of 30 knots or more and carries a crew of about 200.
Corvette is a small and fast naval vessel ranking in size below a frigate.
Modern corvettes are usually armed with torpedoes, missiles and machine guns and have displacement from 500 to 1,000 tons. They are performing antisubmarine, antiaircraft, and coastal-patrol duties in the world’s small navies.
Offshore patrol vessel
They can be smaller than a corvette or as large as a frigate. They may consist of fast attack craft, missile boats and torpedo boats. The offshore patrol vessels are the normally smallest warships in the command of naval forces.
Fast attack craft
A fast attack craft or FAC is a fast, small, agile and offensive warship armed with anti-ship missiles, gun or torpedoes. They usually operate closer to the land as they lack both the seakeeping and all-round defensive capabilities to survive in blue water. The size of the vessel also limits the fuel, stores and water supplies. Size wise they are usually between 50–400 tonnes and can reach speeds of 25–50 knots.