VESSEL TYPES AND CHARACTERISTICS
Upon completion of this chapter, you should be able to do the following:
1. Describe the terms used to identify Navy ships.
2. Identify the ships included in the warship
Describe the roles of various types of naval
Describe the purpose and use of underway
replenishment in the Navy.
9 Sep. 1841
17 Oct. 1888
16 Dec. 1907
20 Mar. 1922
Congress authorizes the first
iron ship in the U.S. Navy.
The keel is laid and construction
begun on the battleship Maine.
The first fleet of warships to
circle the globe, the Great White
Fleet, leaves Hampton Roads,
The first aircraft carrier, USS
Langley, is commissioned.
The purpose of this chapter is to acquaint you
with the major classes of ships operated by the
Navy. We will describe the major types of ships
and give their characteristics and missions.
Before describing the ship types, however, we
must give some background information about
ships in general. We must also explain some of
the terminology associated with ships.
Each Navy ship is identified by name and
designation. In USS Forrestal (CV-59), for
example, USS means United States ship. CV is
the designationit indicates this type of ship is
a multipurpose aircraft carrier. The ships
identifying or hull number (59) is a general
indication of the number of ships of the same type
that have been built. (Gaps occur in the sequence
of numbers of most types because of the cancella-
tion of shipbuilding orders.) A ships hull number
never changes unless its designation also changes,
and it doesnt always change then.
The size of a ship usually is given in terms of
its displacement in long tons. Displacement means
the weight of the volume of water that the ship
displaces when afloat; in other words, the weight
of a ship by itself. The Navy uses full load
displacement, which describes the condition of the
ship complete and ready to deploy. All weights
given in this chapter are full load displacement
unless otherwise noted.
Armament describes the offensive weapons a
ship carries: guns, rockets, guided missiles, and
Armor means protective armor: special steel
installed along the sides of the ship, on a deck,
and on some gun mounts and turrets.