Cover image for The Naval Institute guide to the ships and aircraft of the U.S. fleet
The Naval Institute guide to the ships and aircraft of the U.S. fleet
Polmar, Norman.
Personal Author:
Seventeenth edition.
Publication Information:
Annapolis, Md. : Naval Institute Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
x, 657 pages : illustrations ; 31 cm
General Note:
Includes indexes.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
VA61 .S47 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

On Order



Provides a detailed analysis of the U.S. Navy and gives the history, specifications, and tactical role of naval ships and aircraft.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

This fifteenth edition of The Naval Institute Guide is the first to be published since the end of the Cold War era. A new chapter on sealift ships, numerous photographs and descriptions reflecting Gulf War operations, and the initial chapter "State of the Fleet" all reflect the U.S. fleet of the early 1990s as well as ongoing naval programs and cancellations. This work provides detailed, comprehensive descriptions of all elements of the fleet, from organization, command structure, and personnel to ships, aircraft, weapon systems, and electronic systems. Polmar is an author and adviser to secretaries of the Navy. He took over this work beginning with its eleventh edition in 1978. Contents are arranged in 34 chapters, from brief but key glossary and ship-classification chapters to the lengthy chapters on auxiliary ships and naval aviation. For example, "Amphibious Ships" gives the number of ships and their lift capacity (in numbers of troops, vehicle and cargo space, helicopter spots, and landing-craft spots) and provides numerous photographs and diagrams of ships and their features. Listings are given of individual ships; their builders; dates laid down, launched, and commissioned; and current status (active Atlantic or Pacific, reserve, etc.). Though the detail is somewhat technical, it is accessible to a nonmilitary readership. There are chapters on the Fleet Marine Force, the Coast Guard, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Appendixes cover "Advanced Technology Ships," "Force Levels 1945-1990," "Navy Shipbuilding Programs, Fiscal 1947-1992," "Foreign Ship Transfers, 1987-1991," and "Navy and Coast Guard Ships Preserved as Memorials and Museums." A general index and a ship-name and class index aid access. An addendum briefly updates 16 of the chapters through October 1992. There is no comparable guide to the U.S. fleet. Jane's, of course, publishes annual guides to fighting ships, naval weapon systems, and so on for all the world's military forces. The Naval Institute Guide, however, unifies the information for U.S. naval forces. For the most current information, Jane's volumes will be the best choice. But for comprehensive coverage of the U.S. fleet and for the economy and convenience of purchasing just one volume, this work is recommended. Clientele of public and academic libraries will find it quite valuable. (Reviewed Aug. 1993)

Choice Review

In this standard reference work on the US Navy (16th ed., CH, Jun'97, 34-5450), naval analyst and consultant Polmar continues his editorship, which began with the 11th edition published in 1978. As in previous editions, Polmar begins with an introductory "state of the fleet" essay. This outlines the condition of the fleet and presents his view of the war-fighting proficiency of the US Navy. He describes six current threats to the navy: unmanned aerial vehicles, cyber attack, non-nuclear submarines, mines, lack of sea combat experience, and cruise missiles. Succeeding chapters provide detailed information on ships, aircraft, weapon/electronic systems, the Coast Guard, NOAA, and miscellaneous ships/craft. Five appendixes are included, as are general and ship indexes. Profusely illustrated with photographs, drawings, and tables, this work is a visual tour de force that will please both naval professionals and interested readers. The annual IHS Jane's Fighting Ships, edited by S. Saunders (1994-95 CD-ROM, CH, Dec'95, 33-1921), and The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World (16th ed., 2013; 2005-06, CH, Sep'05, 43-0007) have chapters on the US Navy; however; Polmar's book is the flagship upon which any serious study of the US Navy must embark. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers. H. N. Boyer independent scholar

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
1 State of the Fleetp. 1
2 Glossary of Abbreviationsp. 11
3 Ship Classificationsp. 14
4 Defense Organizationp. 17
5 Navy Organizationp. 25
6 Fleet Organizationp. 34
7 Marine Forcesp. 39
8 Military Sealift Commandp. 48
9 Naval Personnelp. 53
10 Strategic Missile Submarinesp. 61
11 Submarinesp. 68
12 Research Submarines and Submersiblesp. 92
13 Aircraft Carriersp. 106
14 Battleshipsp. 125
15 Cruisers and Destroyersp. 131
16 Frigatesp. 157
17 Command Shipsp. 165
18 Amphibious Warfare Shipsp. 171
19 Landing Craft and Vehiclesp. 192
20 Patrol and Special Warfare Craftp. 206
21 Mine Countermeasures Ships and Craftp. 216
22 Auxiliary Shipsp. 230
23 Sealift Shipsp. 275
24 Service Craftp. 319
25 Floating Dry Docksp. 350
26 Naval Aviationp. 358
27 Naval Aircraftp. 388
28 Weapon Systemsp. 476
29 Electronic Systemsp. 533
30 Coast Guardp. 562
31 National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administrationp. 609
32 Miscellaneous U.S. Shipsp. 618
A Navy Force Levels, 1945-2000p. 629
B Navy Shipbuilding Programs, Fiscal 1947-2000p. 630
C Foreign Ship Transfers, 1995-2000p. 634
D Navy and Coast Guard Ships Preserved as Memorials and Museumsp. 635
E Arsenal Ship Programp. 637
General Indexp. 639
Ship Name and Class Indexp. 642
Addendap. 651