War. War never changes. Mankind has fought naval battles for thousands of years. And in the 21st century, the navy is still the most important branch of any maritime nation's combat forces. But technology does change, and if you don't live near a navy harbor, there's a chance you've missed all the newest ships being built and launched in the past few years.

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The following set of photos will introduce to you the latest, most advanced, sometimes surprisingly futuristic vessels from the largest navies of the world.

This is HMS Queen Elizabeth, the newest aircraft carrier of the British Navy, also the largest warship ever built in the UK—named by Queen Elizabeth II on July 4th, 2014, and scheduled to be commissioned in early 2017.

Photo: CPOA(Phot) Thomas Tam McDonald/Royal Navy/MoD/Crown

Photo: Aircraft Carrier Alliance

Photo: Andrew Linnett/MoD/Crown


HMS Defender is the fifth of the Royal Navy’s six state-of-the-art Type 45 or Daring-class air defense destroyers (commissioned on March 21st, 2013).

Photo: L(Phot) Will Haigh/Royal Navy/MoD/Crown


The U.S. Navy's newest littoral combat ship—aka a ship designed to be used near shore—USS Coronado (LCS 4) was commissioned on April 5th, 2014. It is the second littoral combat ship of the Independence variant that features an innovative "trimaran" hull.

Photo: Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Donnie W. Ryan/U.S. Navy


The littoral combat ships USS Independence (LCS 2), left, and USS Coronado (LCS 4) are underway in the Pacific Ocean.

Photo: Chief Mass Communication Specialist Keith DeVinney/U.S. Navy


The USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) is the first of three Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyers developed for the U.S. Navy. It was christened on April 12th, 2014, and will be commissioned in 2015.

Photo: General Dynamics/U.S. Navy

Photo: General Dynamics/U.S. Navy

Photo: U.S. Navy


The U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command's first-in-class high-speed vessel USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) has been in service since December 5th, 2012. Its modular design allows it to be rapidly refitted for various non-combat missions, such as transportation of troops or equipment.

Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeffrey M. Richardson/U.S. Navy

Photo: Paul Farley/U.S. Navy

Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Phil Beaufort/U.S. Navy


America's newest first-in-class aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), was christened on November 9th, 2013, and is going to be commissioned in 2016 after additional outfitting and testing.

Photo: Chris Oxley/Huntington Ingalls Industries/U.S. Navy

Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua J. Wahl/U.S. Navy


USS America (LHA-6) is the first of the America-class amphibious assault ships built for the U.S. Navy. The future amphibious assault ship is scheduled for commissioning on October 11th, 2014.

Photo: Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Lawrence Grove/U.S. Navy

Photo: Shane Scara/Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding/U.S. Navy


The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23) was commissioned on May 4th, 2013.

Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Lindahl/U.S. Navy

Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James R. Evans/U.S. Navy

Photo: Huntington Ingalls Industries/U.S. Navy


The Steregushchiy (hull number 530) and Boikiy (hull number 532) are members of the Steregushchy class, the newest class of corvettes in the Russian Navy. Boiky was commissioned on 14 May 2013.

Photo: Black leon/Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Radziun/Wikimedia Commons


The Landing Helicopter Dock Dixmude (L9015) amphibious assault ship and helicopter carrier of the French Navy was commissioned in December, 2011.

Photo: Simon Ghesquiere/Marine Nationale/Wikimedia Commons


Forbin (D620), the large anti-air destroyer of the French Navy, lead ship of the Horizon class, has been in service since October 14th, 2010. Her main task is to protect aircraft carriers, capital ships or civilian ships from supersonic missile attacks.

Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Rafael Figueroa Medina/U.S. Navy/Wikimedia Commons


This is the INS Makar, the first indigenously-built catamaran hull vessel of the Indian Navy. The primary role of the ship is to carry out hydrographic surveys, required for production of nautical charts and publications aimed at improving navigational safety at sea. It was commissioned on September 21st, 2012.

Photo: Indian Navy


This Type 052D destroyer, called Kunming, is the lead ship of the newest class of guided missile destroyers deployed by the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy. It was commissioned on 21 March 2014.

Photo: 我是平凡/Wikimedia Commons

Photo: 我是平凡/Wikimedia Commons


Linyi (FFG 547), the Chinese People's Liberation Army-Navy's Jiangkai-class frigate, was commissioned in 2012.

Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan/U.S. Navy


HMAS Canberra (LHD 02), a.k.a. NUSHIP Canberra, is the first of two Canberra class landing helicopter dock (LHD) ships constructed for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). After commissioning, this Amphibious Assault Ship will be the largest vessel ever operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

Photo: ABCSO Steven Thomson/Royal Australian Navy/Commonwealth of Australia

Photo: ABIS Tom Gibson/Royal Australian Navy/Commonwealth of Australia


Top photo: L(Phot) Dave Jenkins/Royal Navy/MoD/Crown