How much is the cost for operational of aircraft carrier?


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How much is the cost for operational of aircraft carrier
cost for operational of aircraft carrier
photo: – The US Navy spends approximately $60 billion per year operating and supporting its fleet of 480 ships, that seems like a lot, right? To put things in perspective, Americans spend about 100 billion dollars per year on lottery tickets, 80 billion dollars on tobacco, and 70 billion dollars on beer as cited by Forbes. This number is quite fantastic, isn't it? But then, how much does it actually cost to operate the warships?

In thist post, we will take a look on the operational budget spent for the , if you are curious to the answer, let's see the following review!

The carriers are not just merely large vessels that can fight in warfare. They are rather a symbol of prestige and power for fleets representing their countries. Considered as the world's largest warships, the United States is the only country in history to sustain 11-fleet of large-deck, -powered aircraft carriers. The term “large-deck” refers to a carrier with a deck area of more than four acres, large enough to support a carrier air wing of 75 or more aircraft. Meanwhile the phrase “nuclear-powered” means that the carrier's unlimited range and endurance, with just one refuelling required over its 50-year operational life cycle. Moreover, large deck carriers refer to the Nimitz and Ford class with the capability of delivering multiple smart bombs, disable and destroy hundreds of targets each day.

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How much is the cost for operational of aircraft carrier
Gerald R. Ford-class (photo:

The Gerald R. Ford class is a class of nuclear-powered carriers constructed for the United States Navy. However, an aircraft carrier's capacity to protect itself is limited, there must rely on other types of vessels or defence against projectiles, warplanes, and submarines. A carrier strike group normally includes at least a cruiser, two destroyers, and possibly a supply ship or a . Operating and maintaining carrier strike groups requires a greater sum of capital, which includes military payment, maintenance, resupply, and midlife refuelling.

How much is the cost for operational of aircraft carrier?

Additionally, as mentioned by the Loren Thompson Lexington Institute in their current report, most of these costs will have to be covered whether the vessels are deployed, on training missions or in port. However, even if expenditures remain constant regardless of ship status, the annual cost of owning and managing 11 carrier strike groups is less than $30 billion.

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To be precise on the operational calculation, each vessel has a maximum of nearly 6700 personnel on board, in which a yearly operating cost for this a super carrier's average is estimated to be $1.18 billion. In addition, the carrier air wing generally consists of 4860 crews with an annual operating cost of $910 million per unit.

Considering a carrier including the air wing, its annual operating cost could reach $2.1 billion. In other words, it can be estimated that a carrier strike group's operational cost ranges from $6 million to $8 million per day. This calculation also depends on the exact arrangement of a carrier group. This notion is line to what has been mentioned by a retired Navy Captain Hendrix of Centre for a New American Security (CNAS), operating a carrier strike group costs $6.5 million each day, which covers payment for sailors as well as the cost of purchasing all of the strike group's ships.

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Lastly, calculating the financial burden of each carrier strike group seems to be challenging because assumptions need to be made about things like the number of days deployed, the rate at which expendables are consumed, and what other costs might be spent if other joint force would also involve.

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