Trump said the US Navy's new aircraft carrier is the world's 'largest ship,' but these ships prove him wrong

USS Gerald R. FordUSS Gerald R. Ford underway on its own power for the first time in Newport News, Virginia, April 8, 2017.US Department of Defense

  • During remarks in the Oval Office on Monday, President Donald Trump said that the USS Gerald Ford-class aircraft carrier is "the largest ship in the world." While it is massive, Nimitz-class carriers weigh more, and the decommissioned Enterprise is longer.
  • The remarks came as Trump was discussing the federal budget, and saying that more than $716 billion would be requested for next year's defense budget.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In an Oval Office meeting Monday, President Donald Trump touted the Navy's new aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford.

"We're building new submarines, we have a new aircraft carrier coming online, the largest ship in the world. It's so large that maybe I could even land a plane on top of it, but it's a big one. President Gerald Ford. It's phenomenal - it's a phenomenal ship," Trump said.

The Gerald R. Ford is indeed large and impressive; it has a five-acre deck, can hold 4,660 personnel and 75 aircraft, and can reach speeds above 30 knots, according to Huntington Ingalls, the company that builds the Ford class.

But the Ford isn't actually the world's largest ship, as some commercial ships dwarf the carrier in length and tonnage.

That title arguably belongs to the Pioneering Spirit, a 1,253-foot-long crane ship used to install and remove offshore oil platforms. The behemoth weighs 365,000 tonnes in transit - more than three times the tonnage of the USS Gerald R. Ford, and it can hold much more weight without sinking.

Supertankers are also larger than the Gerald R. Ford. They can stretch out to 1,500 feet and have a gross weight of 275,000 tonnes.

GettyImages 1064372702The Pioneering Spirit passes through the Dardanelles Strait in 2018.Burak Akay/Getty

Read more: These are 2 of the world's most powerful aircraft carrier classes - this is how they stack up

Among warships, a good case could be made for the Gerald R. Ford. Only the USS Enterprise, a one-of-a-kind aircraft carrier that's now being dismantled, was longer at 1,123 feet long, to the Ford class's 1,106 feet. But the Ford can still claim a larger tonnage, suggesting it has more bulk.

Trump was discussing concerns about the US government's spending. The Congressional Budget Office estimates about one-sixth of federal spending goes toward national defense, and the Pentagon is currently seeking to replace its aging Nimitz-class carriers.

US aircraft carriers are still the largest in the world. The second-largest, China's Type 001A, is 1,033 feet long and weighs 70,000 tons. Due to their size, US aircraft carriers are highly survivable, too, not to mention heavily armed.

Trump visited the Gerald R. Ford shortly before it was commissioned, in May 2017, where he discussed his plans to increase spending on the military.

"After years of endless budget cuts that have impaired our defenses, I am calling for one of the largest defense-spending increases in history," he said at the time. On Monday, Trump said that he would be requesting more than $716 billion for the 2020 defense budget.

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