Special Report

The US Navy's Fastest Ships and Submarines

usnavy / Flickr

The U.S. Navy has 243 surface and underwater warships: aircraft carriers, guided missile destroyers, amphibious ships, and submarines, among other classes of vessels. And some of these are considerably faster than others.

To determine the fastest warships in the U.S. military, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed an online database of military vehicles, aircraft, and vessels, Military Factory’s list of active U.S. military naval vessel classes. We also relied on several other sources, including Military-Today, and ranked all of the Navy’s warships according to the top speed of each vessel. Data on crew count and the year each vessel entered service also came from Military Factory. Supplemental information on how many vessels are in service in each class came from the World Directory of Modern Military Warship

The Ford-class aircraft carrier and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier classes have by far the biggest crews of any ships on the list and are also among the top 10 fastest ships in the naval fleet. Bothhave top speed of 30 knots, or 34.5 miles per hour.

Four submarine classes – the Ohio, the Virginia, the Los Angeles, and the Seawolf classes – are on the list. Their speeds range from 28.8 mph (25 knots) for the Ohio class to 40.3 mph (35 knots) for the Seawolf class – the speediest submarine and tied for third fastest among all warships. (Also see, 11 new warships that will join the U.S. Navy fleet.)

There are three classes of amphibious ships in the list – San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, the America-class amphibious assault ship, and the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship. They tend to be slower, with the fastest reaching 26.5 mph (23 knots). Still, their role could be crucial in a successful defense of Taiwan.

Click here to see the fastest ships and submarines in the US Navy. 

19. Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship
> Top speed: 16.1 mph (14 knots)
> Number in US fleet: 8
> Crew: 81
> Year entered service: 2017

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Source: viper-zero / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

18. Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship
> Top speed: 25.3 mph (22 knots) (tied)
> Number in US fleet: 7
> Crew: 413
> Year entered service: 1970

17. San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock
> Top speed: 25.3 mph (22 knots) (tied)
> Number in US fleet: 11
> Crew: 361
> Year entered service: 2016

Source: viper-zero / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

16. America-class amphibious assault ship
> Top speed: 25.3 mph (22 knots) (tied)
> Number in US fleet: 2
> Crew: 2745
> Year entered service: 2014

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15. Wasp-class amphibious assault ship
> Top speed: 26.5 mph (23 knots) (tied)
> Number in US fleet: 7
> Crew: 2979
> Year entered service: 1995

Source: viper-zero / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

14. Blue Ridge-class command ship
> Top speed: 26.5 mph (23 knots) (tied)
> Number in US fleet: 2
> Crew: 842
> Year entered service: 1997

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

13. Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship
> Top speed: 28.2 mph (24.5 knots)
> Number in US fleet: 4
> Crew: 825
> Year entered service: 1989

12. Ohio-class submarine
> Top speed: Submerged: 28.8 mph (25 knots) (tied), Surface: 13.8 mph (12 knots)
> Number in US fleet: 18
> Crew: 153
> Year entered service: 1985

11. Virginia-class submarine
> Top speed: Submerged: 28.8 mph (25 knots) (tied), Surface: 17.3 mph (15 knots)
> Number in US fleet: 19
> Crew: 135
> Year entered service: 1987

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10. Los Angeles-class submarine
> Top speed: Submerged: 34.5 mph (25 knots) (tied), Surface: 28.8 mph (30 knots)
> Number in US fleet: 28
> Crew: 134
> Year entered service: 2006

9. Ford-class aircraft carrier
> Top speed: 34.5 mph (30 knots) (tied)
> Number in US fleet: 1
> Crew: 4660
> Year entered service: 2008

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8. Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer
> Top speed: 34.5 mph (30 knots) (tied)
> Number in US fleet: 2
> Crew: 140
> Year entered service: 1993

Source: viper-zero / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

7. Nimitz-class aircraft carrier
> Top speed: 34.5 mph (30 knots) (tied)
> Number in US fleet: 10
> Crew: 5680
> Year entered service: 1975

6. Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer
> Top speed: 35.7 mph (31 knots)
> Number in US fleet: 68
> Crew: 380
> Year entered service: 2010

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Source: Stocktrek Images / Stocktrek Images via Getty Images

5. Ticonderoga-class cruiser
> Top speed: 36.8 mph (32 knots)
> Number in US fleet: 22
> Crew: 330
> Year entered service: 1983

4. Seawolf-class submarine
> Top speed: Submerged: 40.3 mph (35 knots) (tied), Surface: 20.7 mph (18 knots)
> Number in US fleet: 3
> Crew: 141
> Year entered service: 2004

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3. Cyclone-class patrol ship
> Top speed: 40.3 mph (35 knots) (tied)
> Number in US fleet: 10
> Crew: 30
> Year entered service: 1983

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

2. Independence-class corvette
> Top speed: 50.6 mph (44 knots)
> Number in US fleet: 12
> Crew: 75
> Year entered service: 1976

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

1. Freedom-class littoral combat ship
> Top speed: 54.1 mph (47 knots)
> Number in US fleet: 9
> Crew: 125
> Year entered service: 1991

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