Hello everyone, I have recently visited the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum onboard the USS Midway. Having never been on a large naval vessel it was a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable experience. The ship served in the active fleet for 47 years from 1945 to 1992, which prompts my question: Why do the US Navy seem to get a longer service life from their ships (particularly the carriers) than the RN? The post-WW2 Ark Royal was commisioned in 1955 and retired in 1978 (23 years) and Eagle was about the same. Invincible was commisioned in 1980 and decommisioned last year (25 years). The 1985 Ark Royal is projected to retire in 2015 (30 years). In contrast the USN is still operatiing Kittyhawk which commisioned in 1961 and is scheduled to be retired in 2009 (47 years). Other carriers of her vintage also served for over 40 years and those that didn't were victims of downsizing. My thoughts as to the possibilities are: 1. The numerical strength of the USN fleet means that the ships are not worked as hard as their RN counterparts. 2. The strength in numbers also allows the ships to be absent from the fleet for longer periods for refit and they receive more radical improvements. 3. The US Navy can afford to buy exactly what it wants in the first place and so the ships are worth updating and retaining. (eg if the RN had CVA01 in 1970 would it still be in service in 2010?) 4. The US designs are simply more robust, which again is probably down to money. 5. The US ship designs are subject to less political interference. Any thoughts?