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U.S. Navy Active Ship Force Levels, 1917-1998

This tabulation was compiled from such sources as the Navy Directory (issued at varying intervals to 1941); the Annual Reports of the Secretary of the Navy (issued annually to 1931); Comptroller of the Navy (NAVCOMPT) compilations; Department of the Navy (DON) 5-Year Program, Ships & Aircraft Supplemental Data Tables (SASDT); and records and compilations of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OP-802K, now N804J1D) Ship Management Information System (now Ship Management System), refined and edited with the assistance of the annual Naval Vessel Register.

For consistent historical comparison, Naval Reserve Force (NRF) and Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force (NFAF) ships, and Military Sealift Command (MSC) fleet support ships, are included in current and recent active totals. Figures, and conclusions drawn from them, would, otherwise, be historically inconsistent, and comparisons would be skewed.

From 1963 through 1974, former guided-missile frigates (DLG/DLGN) are counted under the categories (cruisers, destroyers) to which they were assigned on 30 June 1975: DLG 6 class Became DDG 37 class; DLG 16 class became CG 16 class; DLG 26 class became CG 26 class; DLGN 25, 35, 36 classes became CGN 25, 35, 36 classes .



U.S. Navy Ship Force Levels, 1917-1923

     Date      4/6/17  11/11/18  7/1/19 7/1/20 7/1/21    7/1/22   7/1/23
Battleships     37      39       36     26       22        19        18
Monitors,
Coastal          7       7        5      1       2@         -         -
Cruisers        33      31       28     27       10        12        13
Destroyers      66      110     161    189    68(208rc)   103       103
Frigates        17       17       -      -        -         -         -
Submarines      44       80      91     58    69(11rc)   82(7rc)   69(5rc)
Mine Warfare     -       53      62     48     50(8rc)     36        38
Patrol          42      350      65     45     59(1rc)     43        41
Auxiliary       96       87     304    173      104        83        82
Surface
Warships       160      204     230    243      102       134       134

Total Active   342      774     752    567   384(228rc) 379(7rc)  365(5rc)

Events: U.S. enters WWI 6 April 1917. Bolshevik Revolution begins 28 October
(Old Style) 1917. WWI ends 11 November 1918. Washington Treaty in force
17
August 1923.

@ = The last Coast Defense Monitor went out of commission in 1921.
* = Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine (nuclear powered).
rc = Reduced Commission: not included in "active" total.
Notes: The drop in ship numbers evident from 1920-21 is a post-WWI
readjustment to a peacetime strength, with limited budgets and naval arms
limitation.

-----------------------------------------------------------

U.S. Navy Ship Force Levels, 1924-1930

     Date      7/1/24  7/1/25   7/1/26   7/1/27   7/1/28  7/1/29    7/1/30
 Battleships     18      18     15(3rc) 15(3rc)  16(2rc)  16(2rc)   16(2rc)
   Carriers,
    Fleet        1        1        1       1        3        3         3
   Cruisers      16      18       18       16       16      16        20
  Destroyers    103      105      106     106      106      103       103
  Submarines  77(3rc)  76(3rc)    80       77       77      80        81
 Mine Warfare    39      40       39       40       40      37        36
    Patrol       37      37       37       32       33      32        29
  Auxiliary      84      73       71       69       68      68        68
     Rigid
   Airships      1        2        1       1        1        1         1

 Total Active    376     370      368      357      360     356       357
               (3rc)    (3rc)    (3rc)   (3rc)    (2rc)    (2rc)     (3rc)
    Surface
   Warships     137      141      139     137      138      135       139

Events: Battleship modernization program in effect 1926-1934. London Treaty
in force 31 December 1930.

rc= Reduced Commission: not included in "active" total.

-----------------------------------------------------------

U.S. Navy Ship Force Levels, 1931-1937

     Date       7/1/31   7/1/32   7/1/33   7/1/34   4/1/35*  7/1/36 9/1/37*
  Battleships   12(3rc)  11(4rc)  11(4rc)  14(1rc)    15       15      15
   Carriers,
     Fleet         3        3        3        4        4       4       3@
   Cruisers       20       19       20       24       25       26      27
  Destroyers      87^      102      101     102^^     104     106     111
  Submarines      56       55       55       54       52       49      52
 Mine Warfare     33       33       26       26       26       26      30
    Patrol      27(1rc)    24       26       24       23       23      22
   Auxiliary      69       65       68       71       71       73      75
 Rigid Airships    1        1        1        1        -       -       -
    Surface
   Warships      119#      132      132      140      144     147     153

 Total Active     308      313      311      320      320     322     335
                 (4rc)    (4rc)    (4rc)    (1rc)

Events: Japan enters Manchuria 18 September 1931. Hitler to power 30 January
1933. Failure of the International Economic Conference to stabilize world
currencies in July 1933 leads to growing instability. Vinson-Trammell Act,
27 March 1934, authorizes--though it does not fund--Navy construction to
Treaty strength. Japan renounces Washington Treaty 29 December 1934,
effective 31 December 1936. Germany renounces disarmament clauses of the
Treaty of Versailles 16 March 1935. Spanish Civil War begins 18 July 1936.
Japan begins large-scale military operations in China 7 July 1937.

* Data for 1 July not available.
@ = CV-1 to AV-1 (auxiliary).
^ = London Treaty exchange of new DD for older types allowed.
^^ = New DD begin to appear.
# = Post-1921 low.
rc = Reduced Commission: not included in "active" total.

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U.S. Navy Ship Force Levels, 1938-1944

     Date      6/30/38 6/30/39 6/30/40  12/7/41  12/31/42  12/31/4312/31/44
 Battleships     15      15       15       17       19       21       23
   Carriers,
    Fleet        5        5       6        7        4        19       25
   Cruisers      32      36       37       37       39       48       61
  Destroyers    112      127     185      171      224       332      367
  Submarines     54      58       64      112      133       172      230
 Mine Warfare    27      29       36      135      323       551      614
    Patrol       34      20       19      100      515      1050     1183
  Auxiliary     101      104     116      210      392       564      993
    Surface
   Warships     159      178     237      225      282       635      827
 Total Active   380      394     478      790      1782     3699     6084

Events: WWII begins in Europe when Germany and the USSR invade Poland
September 1939.

-----------------------------------------------------------

U.S. Navy Ship Force Levels, 1945-1950

     Date       8/14/45*  6/30/46 6/30/47  6/30/48  6/30/49  6/30/50 
  Battleships     23       10       4        2        1        1      
   Carriers,
     Fleet        28       15       14       13      11       11      
   Carriers,
    Escort        71       10       8        7        7        4      
   Cruisers       72       36       32       32      18       13       
  Destroyers      377      145     138      134      143      137    
   Frigates       361      35       24       12      12       10      
  Submarines      232      85       80       74      79       72      
 Mine Warfare     586      112      55       54      52       56      
    Patrol       1204      119      74       50      50       33      
  Amphibious     2547      275     107       86      60       79      
   Auxiliary     1267      406     306      273      257      218    
    Surface
   Warships       833      226     198      180      174      161     
 Total Active    6768     1248     842      737      690      634    
Events: WWII in Europe ends 8 May 1945. V-J Day 14 August 1945 (15 August
in
western Pacific). Pacific War formally ends 2 September 1945. US-USSR
relations deteriorate 1945-1950. Chinese Civil War won by communists 1949.
Korean War begins 25 June 1950.

* = V-J Day.

Notes: The increase in fleet size after 1950 is due to the mobilization,
begun after North Korea invaded South Korea on 25 June 1950.

-----------------------------------------------------------

U.S. Navy Ship Force Levels, 1951-1957

     Date       6/30/51  6/30/52 6/30/53  6/30/54  6/30/55  6/30/56 6/30/57
  Battleships      3        4       4        4        3        3       2
   Carriers,
     Fleet        17       19       19       20      21       22       22
   Carriers,
    Escort         9       10       10        7        3        2       -
   Cruisers       15       19       19       18      17       16       16
  Destroyers      206      243     247      247      249      250     253
   Frigates       38       56       56       57      64       70       84
  Submarines      83       104     108      108      108      108     113
  SSG/SSBNs        1        1       2        2        1        2       2
 Command Ships     -        -       -        -        -        1       1
 Mine Warfare     91       114     121      117      112      113     104
    Patrol        40       29       23       22      15       11       12
  Amphibious      208      189     226      223      175      139     134
   Auxiliary      269      309     287      288      262      236     224
    Surface
   Warships       262      322     326      326      333      339     355
 Total Active     980     1097     1122     1113    1030      973     967

Events: Korean War Armistice signed 1953. Taiwan Straits patrol begins 1955.

-----------------------------------------------------------

U.S. Navy Ship Force Levels, 1958-1964

     Date       6/30/58  6/30/59 6/30/60  6/30/61  6/30/62  6/30/63 6/30/64
   Carriers       24       23       23       24      26       24       24
   Cruisers       15       12       13       12      13       18       24
  Destroyers      245      237     226      223      240      222     215
   Frigates       71       61       41       41      68       40       40
  Submarines      109      109     106      105      104      102     102
  SSG/SSBNs        2        4       7        10      14       17       23
 Command Ships     1        1       1        1        1        2       2
 Mine Warfare     77       82       81       83      84       84       84
    Patrol        12        6       4        4        2        -       -
  Amphibious      121      120     113      110      130      132     133
   Auxiliary      213      205     197      206      218      216     212
    Surface
   Warships       331      310     280      276      321      280     279
 Total Active     890      860     812      819      900      857     859

Events: Lebanon landings 1958. Cuban quarantine October-December 1962.
Tonkin Gulf incident 1964.

-----------------------------------------------------------

U.S. Navy Ship Force Levels, 1965-1971

     Date       6/30/65  6/30/66 6/30/67  6/30/68  6/30/69  6/30/70 6/30/71
  Battleships      -        -       -        1        1        -       -
   Carriers       25       23       23       23      22       19       19
   Cruisers       27       29       35       35      34       31       30
  Destroyers      221      217     216      219      201      155     152
   Frigates       39       42       46       50      43       47       61
  Submarines      104      104     105      105      100      103     100
  SSG/SSBNs       30       37       41       41      41       41       41
 Command Ships     2        2       2        2        2        -       -
 Mine Warfare     84       84       83       84      74       64       59
    Patrol         -        -       3        6        7       15       17
  Amphibious      135      159     162      157      153      97       95
   Auxiliary      213      212     216      210      207      171     177
    Surface
   Warships       287      288     296      304*     279      249     262
 Total Active     880      909     931      932      885      743     752

Events: Carrier strikes on North Vietnam and Market Time 0perations begin
1965. Sea Dragon amphibious operations 1966-1968.

* = Vietnam era high.
Notes: The dramatic fall in ship numbers after 1968-1969 is due to the
decision to limit the use of American military force in Vietnam and the
decommissioning of many WWII-era ships.

-----------------------------------------------------------

U.S. Navy Ship Force Levels, 1972-1978

     Date     6/30/72  6/30/73  6/30/74  6/30/75 6/30/76  6/30/77   9/30/78^
   Carriers      17       16      14       15       13       13       13
   Cruisers      27       29      28       27       26       26       28
  Destroyers    132      139      119      102      99       92       95
   Frigates      66       71      64       64       64       64       65
  Submarines     94       84      73       75       74       77       81
    SSBNs        41       41      41       41       41       41       41
 Mine Warfare    31       34      34       34       25       25       25
    Patrol       16       14      14       14       13       6         3
  Amphibious     77       65      65       64       65       65       67
  Auxiliary     153      148      135      123     116      114       113
    Surface
   Warships     225      239      211      193     189      182*      188
 Total Active   654      641      587      559     536      523       531

Events: Last U.S. forces withdraw from South Vietnam following the ceasefire
1973. South Vietnam falls to North Vietnamese communists 1975.

^ = Beginning with FY 78, the fiscal year runs 1 October through 30
September.
* = Post-Vietnam low for surface warships.

-----------------------------------------------------------

U.S. Navy Ship Force Levels, 1979-1985

     Date       9/30/79  9/30/80 9/30/81  9/30/82  9/30/83  9/30/84 9/30/85
  Battleships      -        -       -        -        1        2       2
   Carriers       13       13       12       13      13       13       13
   Cruisers       28       26       27       27      28       29       30
  Destroyers      97       94       91       89      71       69       69
   Frigates       65       71       78       86      95       103     110
   Submarines     80       82       87       96      98       98      100
     SSBNs        41       40       34       33      34       35       37
 Command Ships     -        3       4        4        4        4       4
 Mine Warfare     25       25       25       25      21       21       21
    Patrol         3        3       1        4        6        6       6
  Amphibious      67       63       61       61      59       57       58
   Auxiliary      114      110     101      117      103      120     121
    Surface
   Warships       190      191     196      202      195      203     211
 Total Active     533      530     521*     555      533      557     571

Events: Grenada operation 1983. Attempted peacekeeping in Lebanon 1983.

* = Post-Vietnam War low (total active ships).

-----------------------------------------------------------

U.S. Navy Ship Force Levels, 1986-1992

     Date       9/30/86  9/30/87 9/30/88  9/30/89  9/30/90  9/30/91 9/30/92
  Battleships      3        3       3        4        4        1       -
   Carriers       14       14       14       14      13       15       14
   Cruisers       32       36       38       40      43       47       49
  Destroyers      69       69       69       68      57       47       40
   Frigates       113      115     107      100      99       93       67
  Submarines      101      102     100       99      93       87       85
     SSBNs        39       37       37       36      33       34       30
 Command Ships     4        4       4        4        4        4       4
 Mine Warfare     21       22       22       23      22       22       16
    Patrol         6        6       6        6        6        6       6
  Amphibious      58       59       59       61      59       61       58
   Auxiliary      23       127     114      137      137      112     102
    Surface
   Warships       217     223^     217      212      203      188     156
 Total Active     583     594*     573      592      570      529     471

Events: Fall of the Berlin Wall and many East European communist
governments, 1989-1990. Gulf mobilization and war, 1990-1991. Dissolution
of
the Soviet Union and end of the Cold War, 1991.

^= 1980s high for surface warships.
* = 1980s high for total active ships.
Notes: A rapid decline in force level is evident after the anticommunist
revolutions in Eastern Europe and the collapse of the Soviet Union,
1989-1991.

-----------------------------------------------------------

U.S. Navy Ship Force Levels, 1993-present

      Dates       9/30/93  9/30/94  9/30/95  9/30/96  9/30/97  9/30/98-- - -
   Battleships       -        -        -        -        -        -
     Carriers        13       12      12       12       12       12
     Cruisers        52       35      32       31       30       29
    Destroyers       37       41      47       51       56       50
     Frigates        59       51      49       43       42       38
    Submarines       88       88      83       79       73       65
      SSBNs          22       18      16       17       18       18
  Command Ships       4        4       4        4        4        4
   Mine Warfare      15       16      18       20       24       26
      Patrol         2        7       12       13       13       13
    Amphibious       52       38      39       40       41       40
    Auxiliary       110       94      80       67       52       62 
 Surface Warships   148      127     128      125      128      117*
   Total Active     454      404     392      377      365      357^                                                      

Events:
* = Low since 1931.
^ = Low since 1938.


11 May 2001