In today's world, where everyday it seems a new piece of military technology is poised to take over the battlefield and make everything else obsolete, there are several weapons of war that seem to have some staying power.
Aircraft carriers, while some may consider them obsolete, remain one of the ultimate ways to display national power and prestige, with the unique capability to attack targets from the world's seas with deadly accuracy.
Submarines have many uses. Whether it is to exercise sea control, deter an enemy with underwater nuclear weapons or ensure you have the ability to strike with various types of conventional weapons like cruise missiles on land, subs seem to be only gaining in prominence.
Then there is the bomber. Some are old, like the B-52. Some are just getting started, like the B-21 Raider. Some we don't know much about, like Russia's PAK-FA. Yet, one thing is clear: Bombers can still make or break any conflict that could occur now or in the future.
And fighter jets are not going anywhere. The F-35 is the ultimate example--considering the massive cost--of this important military asset having clear staying power (the only debate at this point is whether it will be manned or unmanned).
So what are the best carriers, submarines, bombers and fighters ever? Robert Farley, one of the world's best defense experts and frequent TNI contributor, has written on this subject extensively. For your reading pleasure, we have packed together several pieces that take this subject on into this one post, which were written several years ago. Let the debate begin.
The first true aircraft carriers entered service at the end of World War I, as the Royal Navy converted several of its excess warships into large, floating airfields. During the interwar period, Japan and the United States would make their own conversions, and all three navies would supplement these ships with purpose-built carriers. Within months of the beginning of hostilities in September 1939, the carrier demonstrated its worth in a variety of maritime tasks.
By the end of 1941, carriers would become the world’s dominant capital ship. These are the five most lethal carriers to serve in the world’s navies, selected on the basis of their contribution to critical operations, and on their longevity and resilience.