21 photos that show just how imposing US aircraft carriers are

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The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) departs San Francisco.
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US Navy photo by Lt.j.g. Pete Lee/Released

Aircraft carriers are the cornerstone of America’s naval capabilities. They’re able to project air power anywhere in the world without having to depend on local bases.

And they are truly massive.

At 1,092 feet long – three times the length of a football field – Nimitz-class warships like the USS George H.W. Bush are the largest aircraft carriers. See below for a selection of pictures showing how massive America’s aircraft carriers are:


The USS Nimitz conducts an aerial demonstration.

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U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Aiyana S. Paschal/ Released

An aircraft director guides an F/A-18C Hornet onto a catapult aboard the USS Harry S. Truman.

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US Navy Photo

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) transits the Strait of Hormuz.

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US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class John Grandin

Sailors scrub down the flight deck of the USS George Washington (CVN-73).

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US Navy

Sailors man the rails of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) while departing Naval Base Coronado.

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US Navy

The USS George H.W. Bush is underway.

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U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brian Stephens/Released

PCU Gerald R. Ford is floated for the first time.

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U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua J. Wahl/Released

Blue Angels fly over the USS George H.W. Bush in the Atlantic Ocean.

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U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Terrence Siren/Released

The USS John C. Stennis conducts flight operations.

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U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Matthew Martino/Released

Sailors man the rails as the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) enters Pearl Harbor.

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US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Kelly M. Agee/Released

The USS Carl Vinson is underway in the Persian Gulf.

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U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex King/Released

Sailors observe as the USS John C. Stennis sails alongside the USS Ronald Reagan.

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US Navy

The USS George Washington (CVN-73) leads the George Washington Carrier Strike Group.

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US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ricardo R. Guzman/Released

The USS Ronald Reagan transports sailors’ vehicles.

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US Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Shawn J. Stewart/RELEASED

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) departs San Francisco.

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US Navy photo by Lt.j.g. Pete Lee/Released

The USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) performs a full-power run-and-rudder swing check during sea trials.

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USS Harry S. Truman performs swing checks.

F/A-18 Hornets demonstrate air power over the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74).

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US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Ignacio D. Perez/Released

The USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) transiting the Strait of Hormuz.

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US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class John Grandin/Released

The USS Enterprise is underway with the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group in the Atlantic Ocean.

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US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Harry Andrew D. Gordon/Released

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) returns to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

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US Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Barker/Released

The USS Abraham Lincoln and USS John C. Stennis join for a turnover of responsibility in the Arabian Sea.

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US Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Eric S. Powell/Released