What is the state of the World’s leading naval powers? Where are large naval units home-ported, and what ships are in reserve? What units are being built or rebuilt and what does dismantling an aircraft carrier actually look like? What historic vessels are preserved and where are those elusive views of ships that are no more? Navigate the shipsearcher tabs in the menu above to start exploring warship views!
The Satellite Imagery Interpretation Section (SIS) at Warsearcher have been busy creating an archive of pages filled with satellite imagery of warships. This site is under development as of 2020, with more navies/more pages coming. This site currently documents 746 ship classes across 36 navies with 1,359 satellite or aerial imagery captures.* Pages are organized by navy index pages (in the tabs above in the shipsearcher menu bar). From these visitors can navigate down into sub-pages where the ship views are located. Each ship or class is described with key dates (usually first date in commission — date of last decommissioning, and other dates such as scrapping), the Length Overall (LOA) of the vessel (this is the greatest length from bow to stern, measured in feet), and the Total Displacement (TDISP) (which is an approximation, for a rough idea of vessel size, of the total volume the vessel’s hull displaces in the water when it is loaded with stores, ammunition, crew). Other notes that may be of interest are included. Pennant numbers and other identification numbers are a best effort, and do not necessarily reflect fleet renumbering. If you are looking for highly technical descriptions of the armament, sensors, propulsion, counter-measures, or detailed information about the air complement carried in any particular era, we encourage you to look at the many other sources online. We are not technical experts; What we do, we do for the love of warships, and an almost fanatical interest in correctly identifying them.
The site pages are organized based on ships or classes of ship for which satellite imagery has been located. If staff could not locate a relevant view, there is no listing!** Normally this limits the types of vessels listed to those that have been in existence (including as museum ships) from the late 1990s until now, with some exceptions for older captures. In some cases, ship identifications are speculative, and visitors can read about the process of identification at a ship identification page, that also provides guidance and terms for using our imagery. We want to share these views! Extensive ship photos help complement these captures, providing alternate views of vessels thru their sometimes long careers, or views of long-dismantled sister-ships. In some cases they have been included to support the identification of the vessels.
There are many reasons why even the most developed pages will remain a partial record of naval units, and this site is not intended to be a definitive record of all warships of all navies of the World. We started by looking for views of the largest and easiest to identify vessels: aircraft carriers. The site expanded by leaps and bounds to document historical/retired carriers, amphibious assault ships, preserved battleships, cruisers, destroyers, destroyer escorts, frigates, corvettes, littoral combat ships…and continues to grow. At the index page for each navy’s ship classes we indicate how many different ship classes are documented on the page and how many individual captures appear.
We would always welcome constructive input, corrections, unique photos of ships we feature (we will credit you) and ideas for pages or ships to try to locate. Help us out! Please note, images and satellite / aerial captures in these pages, to the extent of our understanding, are correctly attributed and free of copyright restrictions to non-commercial use. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information in the following pages does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement. This statement applies equally to all other archives and other sources of photographs we use.
*This count is not an accurate number of individual ships documented, as there are some single captures of multiple vessels, and multiple captures of a single vessel. This also is not a count of any of the additional illustrative photographs used from a variety of sources, nor the captures of overall bases or the few captures of other subjects of interest, such as simulated aircraft carriers or large mock-ups.
**In a very few cases, imagery of warships no longer in existence or not located have been added to show the evolution of warship classes or variants of ships.