Step aboard the floating cities that patrol international waters, launch aircraft from their decks, and decide the fate of war. Behold the king of naval warfare: the aircraft carrier.
Soon after the Wright Brothers' historic flight in 1903, officials explored the airplane's military applications. The seaplane and the flying boat were conceived to combine air and naval operations, but their potential proved limited. Aircraft that could operate from the deck of a ship, however, offered tremendous possibilities. A few visionaries seized the opportunity, and by mid-century the aircraft carrier eclipsed the battleship as the preeminent weapon of naval warfare.