The US Military is one of most powerful in the world. Although each of the vehicles the United States utilizes to maintain its might are vital, some stand out more than others. These vehicles are always at the tip of the American military spear.
Top 3 Navy Vehicles
Ford / Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier
The United States holds the record for the most aircraft carriers owned at eleven carriers, which is 8 more than the closest runners-up, China and Italy. The Ford Class Aircraft Carrier is the Navy’s most recent model; the first of this line, the USS Gerald Ford, was commissioned on July 22, 2017. It was an upgrade from the Nimitz Class Carrier, but the Navy still operates ten carriers of that class.
The Nimitz Class Carriers are some of the largest warships in the world today, displacing 102,000 tons and extending 1040 feet in length. In addition, they can maintain 90 fixed and rotary wing aircraft. Furthermore, they boast a top speed of thirty knots (thirty-five miles per hour), a substantial speed for the heaviest ship in the Navy. An astounding crew of 6,000 personnel is required to operate this craft. The Ford Class Carriers are mostly the same as their predecessors but possess the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, which is more efficient and practical than the hydraulic catapults on the Nimitz Class Carriers. One main benefit to this class is that all the systems on the ship are renovated so they require only 5,000 personnel.
Ohio Class Guided Missile Submarine
The stealthiest submarine in the Navy, the Ohio Class Submarines form one of the three legs of America’s nuclear triad: Surface Based, Air Based, and Sea Based ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile). It is a rather slow ship, with a reported top speed of twenty knots (twenty-five miles per hour). Nevertheless, it contains forty-eight Trident Nuclear Missiles and 154 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles. The range of these weapons extends 7,000 miles from the Submarine, giving it a powerful influence in global warfare.
Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer
One of the Navy’s most powerful surface ships, the Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer plays a key role in missile deterrence and defense, especially currently in Pacific waters because of the North Korean threat. Its maximum rate is thirty knots (thirty-five mph) and has an armament consisting of ninety Vertical Launch System (VLS) missile cells, at least six Surface to Air Missile (SAM) systems at one time, and six Mark forty-six Torpedoes among many others. It also can maintain up to two Seahawk Helicopters.
Top 3 Air Force Vehicles
F-35 Joint Strike 5th Generation Fighter
F-35 is among the most advanced fighters on the planet. The Navy, Air Force, and Marines have acquired them only this past year. They are technically bombers as well since they have two weapons bays for bombing missions. A sleek and stealthy design, the F-35 has countless missiles in its belly for air -to-air and air-to-surface targets. The variety of its arsenal gives this aircraft the capability to do battle with any target. In all, it can hold 18,000 lbs of weaponry. Another benefit to this airplane is its VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) capabilities. This means it does not require a runway in order to take off or land.
B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber
The B-2 was specifically designed to be a long range bomber able to travel across the globe to deliver nuclear weapons. The need for this type of aircraft arose during the Cold War, when many of the missions required ultimate secrecy. Today, there are ten fully commissioned Spirits in the Air Force. Despite having the smallest payload of all other US bombers at 50,000 pounds, its stealthy properties make this the most effective bomber. How is it stealthy? Aside from a sleek build that allows it to effectively slice through the atmosphere, it is built of materials designed to absorb radio waves so that enemy radar cannot detect this aircraft. Every part of the B-2, even down to the paint, is designed to deflect radar beams. Instead of bouncing off the plane, thus giving its position away, the waves are assimilated into it and the enemy’s radar determines that there is nothing there.
The AC-130, nicknamed the “Angel of Death,” is a large, long distance, ground attack gunship flown by USAF Special Operations, its most recent missions being in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are two versions, the AC-130H “Spectre” and AC-130U “Spooky II”. The Spectre requires a crew of fourteen to man two 20mm M61 Vulcan cannons, one 40mm L60 Bofors cannon, and one 105mm M102 howitzer. The Spooky II can operate 5,000 ft higher than the Spectre. Its one 25mm GAU-12/U gatling gun, 40mm L60 Bofors cannon, and 10mm M102 howitzer are managed by a crew of 13. Furthermore, its range extends to a staggering 2529 miles, which enables it to reach almost anywhere in a specific mission zone. With these capabilities, it can effectively execute its main missions: providing support to troops on the ground or decimate other surface targets.
Top 3 Army Vehicles
Although the Army is principally composed of surface-based vehicles and soldiers, the Apache is one of its two helicopters. One important role of this helicopter is its anti-tank capabilities. Tanks cannot defend themselves very well from air attacks; thus, an aircraft able to attack and destroy a heavily armored vehicle is significantly effective against them. On the nose of the Apache are infrared and laser sensors to locate targets, and its pylons hold seventy-six 70mm rockets, a 35mm Gatling or chain gun, and eight Hellfire Missiles. Interestingly, although the helicopter requires a crew of two, there are two separate cockpits so if the helicopter is hit by an enemy projectile, at least 1 of the crew will survive. It is designed to fly in any weather, night or day, making this craft a versatile and vital aircraft of Army operations.
The M1 Abrams is easily the most lethal tank in the world to date. Beginning with its armament, its main weapon is a 120mm Smooth Bore Cannon, complimented by two machine guns. The Abrams is the ultimate surface weapon in the military with virtually impenetrable armor. In fact, when tested, the M1’s 120mm Cannon was unable to pierce its own metal hide. It maxes out at 42 miles per hour, which is quite fast, especially in light of its resilient armor. This forceful machine has no equal on the battlefield, the only tank that could potentially rival the M1 being Russia’s T-14.
Patriot Missile Defense System
The Patriot Missile Defense System, although not a potent offensive weapon, is still an essential part of the Army for its role in detecting and destroying incoming projectiles, especially today in light of North Korean issue. It is not one specific vehicle but rather a series of stations and vehicles that all work together. These Patriot units are mobile so they can be deployed to wherever there is a missile threat, such as North Korea. Thus there are currently Patriot units in South Korea, Japan, and in the US to deter any of North Korea’s potential missile launches.
The first vehicle in the system to detect a threat launch is Forward Based Radar, an enormous oblong mobile radar disc. This will send data to the Ground Based Tracking Radar, which continues to follow the enemy missile in its route across the sky. From here, additional data will be given to the PAC-3 Patriot missile launcher, which does the dirty work. This launcher can be ready to fire any one of its 16 missiles in nine seconds. Once the intercepting Patriot missile is in the air, it will continue to be guided by the Ground Based Tracking Radar until it meets its target. This system is used against ICBMs, Cruise missiles, or even aircraft.
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HowStuffWorks.com. https://science.howstuffworks.com/stealth-bomber.htm> 25 October 2017