Navy specialists often joke: if you want to fly to space while still remaining on the Earth, then you need to become a captain of an aircraft carrier.
This type of war vessels is able to project the military power wherever it is needed, and this versatility together with rapid strike or counter-strike possibilities makes it one of the most lethal weapons in nearly any combat.
USS Gerald R. Ford conducts high-speed turns in the Atlantic Ocean, Oct. 29, 2019. Image credit: Official U.S. Navy Page on Flickr, CC BY 2.0
Indeed, to operate the aircraft carrier you need at first to pack it with the most advanced technology, and a highly skilled crew consisting of several thousand people. If we just consider its size, such ship already becomes quite expensive to build. Plus, it would be a pity to lose an expensive aircraft carrier to a single anti-ship missile, so you have to pack the ship with even more advanced technology to give the aircraft carrier effective capabilities to defend itself against all possible threats.
So how expensive an aircraft carrier can be? Actually, we now have a very ‘fresh’ estimate, as the U.S. have recently completed building a new addition to its fleet – the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). This ship is officially the most advanced aircraft carrier this country has ever built, and probably the most advanced in the world. The total price tag reaches $13.3 billion, and it will probably exceed this cost margin further because new equipment additions are expected, until USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) reaches its full operational readiness in 2022.
The following video explains why aircraft carriers are that expensive to build, and why so much technology is needed just to make it move:
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