'. . . V/STOL aircraft will increase aviation mission performance by our air-capable ships and will enormously increase the flexibility of aircraft carrier design.'
-Admiral James L. Holloway III, USN
Chief of Naval Operations1
The U.S. Navy's nuclear-propelled supercarriers (CVNs) are the world's largest, most powerful, and most versatile warships. They are also the world's most expensive.
Their cost severely limits the number of supercarriers that the nation will afford. Today the Navy has 11 aircraft carriers. That number will decline to ten ships in about 2013 when the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) is decommissioned. The plan is to return to a force of 11 CVNs with the completion of the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), now scheduled for 2015-2016.