Aircraft Carriers


Aircraft Carriers

A History of Carrier Aviation and Its Influence on World Events, Volume II: 1946-2006

Norman Polmar

560 pages


January 2008


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November 2011


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About the Book

In the post-1945 era, the aircraft carrier has remained a valued weapon despite the development of nuclear weapons, cruise and ballistic missiles, and highly capable submarines. At times, as in the early days of the Korean and Vietnam Wars and in the Falklands conflict, carriers alone could deploy high-performance aircraft to the battlefield. In other operations, such as enforcing the no-fly zones and the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, only carriers could provide the bases needed for sustained combat and support operations.

This second volume of Norman Polmar's landmark study details the role of carriers in the unification of the U.S. armed forces and strategic deterrence, fiscally constrained Great Britain, the development of British Commonwealth and ex-colonial navies, and the efforts of France and the Netherlands to rebuild their fleets. The role of the modern carrier-nine nations currently possess them-is discussed, as are the issues confronting nations that might acquire them. Chapters on the Soviet Union's effort to produce carriers are included for the first time. The development of both carrier planes and the many "oddball" aircraft that have flown from carriers-such as the U-2 spy plane-are also examined. Appendixes include comprehensive data on all carriers built and converted through 2006.

This volume is a valuable companion to the critically acclaimed Volume I, which covers aircraft carrier development and operations from 1909 to 1945.

Author Bio

Norman Polmar is a leading expert on naval and aviation matters. An internationally known analyst, consultant, and award-winning author, Polmar has written more than 40 books, including, with K. J. Moore, Cold War Submarines: The Design and Construction of U.S. and Soviet Submarines (Brassey’s, ISBN 1-57488-594-4) and Historic Naval Aircraft: From the Pages of Naval History Magazine (Brassey’s, ISBN 1-57488-572-3). He is a columnist for the U.S. Naval Institute's Proceedings and Naval History magazines. Polmar lives in the Washington, DC, area.


“For the naval aficionado who cannot get enough of the history of the carrier, this coffee table-size book is indispensable."—Military Heritage

"The text provides smart staffers with a lexicon of suitable examples, and plenty of killer quotes about the limits of Air Force action, insight and honesty."—International Journal of Naval History

"Should be useful for anyone interested in this particular type of naval vessel."—Nautical Research Journal

"Filled to the brim with fascinating information and illustrated with hundreds of well-chosen photographs, the second volume of Norman Polmar's Aircraft Carriers will serve general readers and historians alike as a valuable reference source for many years to come."—Journal of Military History

“Polmar has clearly done his research and performs yeoman’s work, bringing relevance to each phase of carrier operation he discusses…a magnificent piece of research.”—Air & Space Power Journal

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