In the early days of the Surface Navy, wooden frigates, propelled by sails, would fire cannon balls at enemy ships in an attempt to either sink or capture the ships on the open seas. The rise of the “New Navy” gave birth to world-wide missions such as the Great White Fleet, convoy operations of World War I, the great carrier battles of World War II, large amphibious landings in Korea, and the United States ability to engage in two simultaneous wars along separate fronts. Advancements in propulsion and weaponry have increased the capabilities of today’s Navy into a force that protects American interests globally. Modern surface warfare conducts a wide variety of missions—from multiple ship classes—including aviation, damage control, and seamanship. More advanced missions include anti-air warfare; amphibious warfare; ballistic-missile defense; visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS); mine warfare; and anti-submarine warfare.
This page highlights Navy vessels that are equipped with modern propulsion systems such as fuel, nuclear or electric.