The Naval Institute Guide to Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet, 19th Edition

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Published:March 20, 2013
By Norman Polmar (Author)

"This is the last edition of this work to be under the superb editorship of Norman Polmar. He and the USNIP are to be congratulated for this high quality book. For historians, technologists and naval enthusiasts it will undoubtedly become the reference work covering this significant transformational period in the history of the US maritime power." — Warship

This updated, 19th edition of The Naval Institute Guide to the Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet meets the high expectations and exacting standards of those who rely on this volume to stay informed and to make related policy, force level, technological and weapons decisions related to the U.S. Navy.

Packed with comprehensive information, up-to-date photographs, line drawings, and useful appendixes, this timely volume describes the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard during a period of intensive transformation while engaged in combat operations.

In describing the Navy’s “ships and aircraft,” extensive coverage is given to the new littoral combat ships (LCS), joint high-speed vessels (JHSV), Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers, and other new ships as well as developments in shipboard ballistic missile defense. At the same time, the convoluted path in surface combatant construction is “deciphered,” while the belated decision to cancel the Marine expeditionary fighting vehicle (EFV) is explained. Also addressed in detail is the new F-35 series Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and other aviation programs. Similarly addressed are Navy personnel, Marine Corps issues, Coast Guard forces, marine mammals, unmanned underwater and aerial vehicles, and other aspects of U.S. naval forces.

Continuing the longstanding tradition as the most complete resource of its kind, this updated 19th edition meets the high expectations and exacting standards of those who rely on this volume to stay informed in the field.

List Price: $145.00
Member Price: $116.00
Product Details
  • Subject: Ship Design & Reference
  • Hardback : 650 pages
  • Illustrations: 677 illustrations.
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (March 20, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1591146879
  • ISBN-13: 9781591146872
  • Product Dimensions: 9 X 12 in
  • Shipping Weight: 72.8 oz
  • “In its nineteenth edition, this classic just gets better and better…If you really need, or are simply interested in, a very thorough update on the current state of the ships, boats and aircraft—and their weaponry—of the U.S. fleet, this is where to get it…There is no better source of this vital information.”
  • “It is a remarkable achievement for any book that is not the scripture of a major religion to reach its nineteenth edition. Come to think of it, our naval services are a kind of religion, and Norman Polmar, if not its apostle, is one of its major prophets…[The book] is an essential resource for anyone who needs to analyze, procure, plan for, organize, train, equip or understand America’s bewildering variety of naval platforms, programs and systems…Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet is a dependable reference providing balanced and objective assessments that speak truth to power.” —
  • “This work is a visual tour de force that will please both naval professionals and interested readers…the flagship upon which any serious study of the U.S. Navy must embark. Summing Up: Highly recommended.” — Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries
  • “…The undisputed single edition bible of the US Fleet since [the Guide] was acquired by the publishing arm of the United States Naval Institute several decades ago. Retaining noted naval authority, author, and historian Norman Polmar as editor proved to be a wise choice, for Polmar infuses each edition with much of his vast background on all things US Navy...A first-rate reference guide compiled by a first-rate author.” — Sea Classics
  • “Everything about this book exudes the quality that the reputations of both publisher and author(s) promise. A tome of such breadth, depth and sheer weight is deserving of the world’s largest and most powerful navy. This guide, which was already the best most comprehensive source of information on the ships and aircraft of the U.S. Navy and the Coast Guard is even better than ever.” — Warships International Fleet Review
  • "Norman Polmar, with this work and his many earlier books—he has 50 to his credit—and other writings, is the most mature and significant of naval affairs thinkers as the West has seen in recent decades. He is clearly the strong successor to Capt. John Moore, RN, the legendary British naval intelligence officer and submariner who gave Jane’s Fighting Ships its great authority during the Cold War years. And he is a worthy successor, too, to Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan and Theodore Roosevelt, who could see what the US needed to do to command the seas, and had the persuasion to see it implemented. This great book is a bargain; it is a potion to clear the head the morning after the drunken run–ashore the US has enjoyed in the heady pay-days of the past couple of decades.”

    Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis and D&F’s Strategic Policy
  • “No one can doubt that this book is the best and most complete overview of the most powerful navy in the world, conceived for specialists and for decision-makers, but available also for the general public.”

    JP4 MENSILE DI AERONAUTICA (and PANORMA DIFESA) – published out of Firenze, Italy
  • “If you really need, or are simply interested in, a very thorough update on the current state of the ships, boats, and aircraft—and their weaponry—of the U.S. fleet, this is where to get it. There is no better source of this vital information.”

    — Work Boat World

Norman Polmar is an analyst, author, and consultant, specializing in naval, aviation, and technology subjects.  He has directed studies related to the Soviet/Russian navies for various government organizations, and has been a consultant or advisor on related issues to three U.S. Senators,  the Speaker of the House, the Deputy Counselor to the President, and three Secretaries of the Navy. He has visited the Soviet Union/Russia several times as a guest of the  Navy commander-in-chief, the submarine design bureaus, and the Institute of U.S. Studies. 

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Customer Reviews

1 Review
Average Customer Reviews
3.00 Stars
Decent Book
Sunday, August 25, 2013
By: William Rogalski, Jr.
The latest edition of this Naval Institute classic provides a description of the U. S. Navy and its ships, boats, aircraft, missiles, other weapons, electronic systems, and both manned and unmanned aircraft. It also includes ships of the Military Sealift Command and NOAA, as well as ships, boats and aircraft of the U. S. Coast Guard and ships and craft of the U. S. Army. Additionally descriptions of the administrative and command structures of the maritime services are provided. Coverage is very complete, and the author more than maintains the tradition established by James Fahey, who started the series in the late 1930s. It appears that most to all of the specifications and descriptions of ships, aircraft, and systems found in the volume are from public sources, and they generally seem to be fairly reasonable within the limits of classification constraints. There are, however, numerous inconsistencies throughout the material contained in the book, some within the same paragraph. Examples of this include the description of the DDG 1000 principal radar system and the description of the USS Independence’s hull form as a semi-planing monohull, when it is actually a trimaran. In addition, the author’s inexperience in ship design results in occasional inaccuracies with respect to ship characteristics and propulsion and mechanical systems. My only major problem with the book is the reproduction quality of the photographs. Many are muddy or otherwise not clear and lack sufficient contrast to adequately illustrate the subjects. The issue may have been exacerbated by the quality of the paper chosen for the book. The use of glossy paper found in many books of this type would have been far preferable. The cost may have been higher, but given the already high price of the book, the marginal difference may not have been that great. In a few cases, the photographs appear to be poor quality downloads from the Internet. A major publication of the Naval Institute such as this deserves better. On the positive side, annotated outboard profiles of many of the major combatant ship classes are provided. These help significantly in understanding basic ship arrangements, and it would have been desirable to include them for all major ship classes. I recommend this book if you desire an overview of the maritime forces of the United States; however, I urge caution in relying on some of the specific information contained therein. Publication involved significant delays, and using some of this time for a thorough editing and review by subject-matter experts would have been invaluable.


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