Special Report

The World’s Fastest Warships

tcly / iStock via Getty Images

With geopolitical tensions rising in the Pacific, the U.S. Navy may be called upon to help defend Taiwan against a possible Chinese invasion. And though the Navy was vital to victories in previous wars, the buildup of the Chinese navy in recent years is a cause for concern. China now has the world’s largest navy. (See the countries with the largest naval fleets.)

Navies have been used in warfare for centuries to transport troops, defend coastlines, and bombard targets. They play a critical role for any military power. Part of maintaining a strong navy is employing a diverse fleet of warships, each with different features that could be advantageous in a given scenario. Fast warships are often used for combat, ground assault, patrol, and more.

To determine the fastest warships in the world, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the list Modern Warships & Submarines compiled by Military Factory, an online database of military vehicles, aircraft, arms, and more. Warship classes were ranked based on the top speed of the fastest ship within the class, and only those currently in service with a top speed of over 41 miles per hour were considered. Supplemental information about the year entered service, personnel, displacement, and which navies employ these ships also came from Military Factory.

The Zubr LCAC, or landing craft air cushion, is employed by multiple navies around the world. It was initially developed by the Soviet Union and later built in Russia and Ukraine. The Zubr is designed to counter different terrain, as it can effectively maneuver across diverse surfaces such as shallow waters, ice, and marshlands. Its operational range is 300 miles and its maximum speed clocks in at 69 mph.

Towards the top of this list is the Freedom-class littoral combat ship designed to conduct various missions in shallow waters. The first of this class was the USS Freedom, which was launched in September 2006 and commissioned into the U.S. Navy in November 2008. 

The USS Freedom is built to carry out coastal defense, reconnaissance, and rescue operations, among others. It has a top speed of 54.1 mph propelled by two Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines and two Colt-Pielstick diesel engines. This combination of propulsion systems grants the vessel with commendable speed and agility in littoral zones. (Also see, the oldest ships and submarines still operating in the U.S. Navy.)

Littoral combat ships occupy some of the top spots as do ships that play roles in amphibious assault or offshore operations. Here is a look at the fastest U.S. military warships.

Click here to see the world’s fastest warships.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

19. Houbei-class fast attack missile boat
> Top speed: 41.4 mph (36 knots)
> Year entered service: 2004
> Navy(s) serving in: China
> Personnel: 12
> Displacement: 225 tons

[in-text-ad]

18. Sina-class fast attack missile boat
> Top speed: 41.4 mph (36 knots)
> Year entered service: 2003
> Navy(s) serving in: Iran
> Personnel: 31
> Displacement: 275 tons

17. Alvand-class light frigate warship
> Top speed: 44.9 mph (39 knots)
> Year entered service: 1971
> Navy(s) serving in: Iran
> Personnel: 135
> Displacement: 1,100 tons

16. CB90-class shallow-draught fast assault craft
> Top speed: 46.0 mph (40 knots)
> Year entered service: 2007
> Navy(s) serving in: United States
> Personnel: 24
> Displacement: 22 tons

[in-text-ad-2]

15. Naval special warfare special forces inflatable insertion-extraction boat
> Top speed: 46.0 mph (40 knots)
> Year entered service: 1992
> Navy(s) serving in: United States
> Personnel: 13
> Displacement: 09 tons

14. Patrol boat light light-class patrol boat
> Top speed: 46.0 mph (40 knots)
> Year entered service: 1990
> Navy(s) serving in: United States
> Personnel: 11
> Displacement: 06 tons

[in-text-ad]

13. LCAC hovercraft
> Top speed: 46.0 mph (40 knots)
> Year entered service: 1987
> Navy(s) serving in: United States
> Personnel: 5
> Displacement: 87 tons

12. Stridsbat-90H-class personnel fast landing craft
> Top speed: 46.0 mph (40 knots)
> Year entered service: 1991
> Navy(s) serving in: United States
> Personnel: 25
> Displacement: 16,865 tons

11. Tarantul-class guided-missile corvette warship
> Top speed: 48.3 mph (42 knots)
> Year entered service: 1977
> Navy(s) serving in: India, Russia, Turkey
> Personnel: 50
> Displacement: 550 tons

[in-text-ad-2]

10. Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport
> Top speed: 49.5 mph (43 knots)
> Year entered service: 2012
> Navy(s) serving in: United States
> Personnel: 350
> Displacement: 2,362 tons

9. Independence-class littoral combat ship
> Top speed: 50.6 mph (44 knots)
> Year entered service: 2017
> Navy(s) serving in: United States
> Personnel: 75
> Displacement: 3,300 tons

[in-text-ad]

8. Yoon Youngha-class patrol vessel
> Top speed: 50.6 mph (44 knots)
> Year entered service: 2011
> Navy(s) serving in: South Korea
> Personnel: 40
> Displacement: 630 tons

7. Tuo Chiang-class stealth coastal guided-missile corvette
> Top speed: 51.8 mph (45 knots)
> Year entered service: 2014
> Navy(s) serving in: Taiwan
> Personnel: 41
> Displacement: 567 tons

Source: usnavy / Flickr

6. Freedom-class littoral combat ship
> Top speed: 54.1 mph (47 knots)
> Year entered service: 2008
> Navy(s) serving in: United States
> Personnel: 125
> Displacement: 3,000 tons

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

5. Patrol Boat Mark V high-speed insertion-extraction vessel
> Top speed: 57.5 mph (50 knots)
> Year entered service: 1995
> Navy(s) serving in: United States
> Personnel: 22
> Displacement: 68 tons

Source: Stocktrek Images / Stocktrek Images via Getty Images

4. Sea Fighter-class littoral combat ship
> Top speed: 63.3 mph (55 knots)
> Year entered service: 2005
> Navy(s) serving in: United States
> Personnel: 26
> Displacement: 1,600 tons

[in-text-ad]

3. Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft
> Top speed: 69.0 mph (60 knots)
> Year entered service: 1988
> Navy(s) serving in: Greece, Ukraine, Russia, China
> Personnel: 31
> Displacement: 415 tons

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

2. Skjold-class stealth coastal patrol corvette
> Top speed: 74.8 mph (65 knots)
> Year entered service: 1999
> Navy(s) serving in: Norway
> Personnel: 14
> Displacement: 300 tons

1. Type 726 landing craft, air-cushioned amphibious vessel
> Top speed: 92.1 mph (80 knots)
> Year entered service: 2010
> Navy(s) serving in: China
> Personnel: 5
> Displacement: 150 tons

The Easy Way To Retire Early

You can retire early from the lottery, luck, or loving family member who leaves you a fortune.

But for the rest of us, there are dividends. While everyone chases big name dividend kings, they’re missing the real royalty: dividend legends.

It’s a rare class of overlooked income machines that you could buy and hold – forever.

Click here now to see two that could help you retire early, without any luck required.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.