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> When was the last time 120 Fighters were active in the airspace of a CSG like that?
not sure, it could very well but that the USN never actually loaded that many on to a Nimitz since it’s an obscene amount. It’d mean stuffing the hangar full of aircraft as well as the deck some what like how one would imagine a WWII flattop.
A supercarrier is far larger than a standard carrier so it’d have room for additional aircraft, fuel, munitions, and personnel as well as flight elevators (to transport aircraft/munitions) and catapults to launch aircraft (the Nimitz has 4 of each), most other countries’ carriers use ramps (STOBAR) instead of catapults (CATOBAR) and are far smaller with fewer elevators and storage space.
And that doesn’t take in to account that the USN supercarriers are nuclear meaning they don’t have to store their own fuel which frees up quite a bit of space for aviation fuel and other supplies. (A Nimitz has a capacity of 3.5 million gallons of aviation fuel vs. it’s predecessor the JFK which carried 1.8 million gallons of aviation fuel in addition to 2.4 million gallons of diesel ship fuel for itself).
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You think the aircraft capacity alone is amazing, wait until you understand how lopsided it is compared to the carriers of other nations.
Not only do the US supercarrier hold more aircraft, they can launch and shuffle them far better than most other carriers and the US supercarriers don’t have to lug around their own liquid fuel which every carrier (save for the Charles de Gaulle) has to do. This is due to nuclear propulsion, 4 catapults and elevators which is far more than other carriers.
The new RN carriers (HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales) will use a ski ramp and V/STOL, have about 40 aircraft (36 F-35Bs) and has 2 elevator lifts.
The new Indian carrier (Vikrant-class) features 2 elevators and an estimated 30 aircraft capacity the first ship the INS Vikrant will have a STOBAR ramp while the 2nd ship INS Vishal will use a system based on the US EMALS (Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System) which was developed for the Nimitz-class replacement Gerald R. Ford-class.
The French flagship Charles de Gaulle is the largest military ship in Europe and the only nuclear carrier ever built outside of the US, she features 2 CATOBAR catapults, a 40 aircraft capacity and 2 lifts.
There’s the Brazilian carrier Sao Paulo (ex-Foch) which carries 22 jets and 17 helicopters and has 3 CATOBAR catapults and 2 elevators but… it’s under repairs and was launched 55 years ago.
Most other carriers operate Harriers and or helicopters; about a dozen of each at most save for the Russian carriers operated by Russia, China and India.
THEN there’s the ships the USN doesn’t call carriers, the 9 “amphibious assault ships” of the America and Wasp classes which each operate about 20 Harriers and helicopters, on par with some of what other nations call carriers.