Key Point: Kuznetsov is old and needs to be retired, but as Russia’s only carrier that likely won’t happen any time soon.
Aircraft carriers are, with the possible exception of submarines, the most complicated naval vessels afloat. Not only do carriers have the traditional concerns of warships to deal with, they must also safely manage a fleet of aircraft which are often complicated in their own right. Despite these complications, carriers are among the most useful and lethal of warships. Even now, 100 years after the first purpose-built carrier HMS Hermes was laid down, major naval powers are still building these ships.
Not everyone does aircraft carriers correctly, and there have been several clunkers with the CV designation. Most of these ships are from the early years of naval aviation, before roles and missions were clearly assigned and the technology to build them was in its adolescent years. Others were poorly designed by latecomers to the aircraft carrier game, and some were perfectly useful ships made bad by insufficient training, maintenance or aircraft.
Hyuga and Ise:
During the First World War, Japan launched two new battleships of the Ise-class. Ise and her sister ship Hyuga were 640 feet long and displaced 29,990 tons. The two ships were each armed with twelve 14-inch guns mounted in six turrets of two guns each, twenty 5.5-inch guns and four 3-inch guns. The battleships each had twelve inches of steel armor at the main belt, tapering to three inches at the ends, deck armor of up to 2.5 inches, and eight inches of armor protecting the main guns.
The Battle of Midway proved a disaster for Imperial Japan, with the loss of four top of the line aircraft carriers to determined American aerial attacks. The decision was made to convert the two battleships into battleship carriers. Both Japan and the United States had converted large warships into aircraft carriers, but this had typically occurred during the construction process, far before the ships were complete.