The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games and life converge

Quantifying the size of the aircraft carriers in Girls und Panzer

How big are the aircraft carriers in Girls und Panzer?

Type that into Google and I bet that search results providing a numerical, quantitative value will probably be very difficult to come by, at least until this post is indexed. This post aims to not only rectify that, but also a rather misleading Google Search result as a consequence of my captioning one of my images in an unusual manner. I’ve noticed that one of the images I’ve posted here were unintentionally indexed to Google Images, meaning that if one were to do a search for the UNSC Infinity and its size, they would likely come across an image depicting the Ooarai school vessels from Girls und Panzer. That is to say, searching for something would turn out meaningless, unrelated results; of course, this is unsportsmanlike of me to do so.

Ooarai Carrier

  • The size of the aircraft carriers in Girls und Panzer are always a bit of a surprise for those who learn of its dimensions for the first time: at 7.6 kilometers long, the Ooarai carrier is actually one of the smaller ones in the Girls und Panzer universe. Despite dwarfing the Imperial II Star Destroyer and UNSC Infinity, the Executor-class Star Destroyers are 19 kilometers in length (2.5 times that of the Ooarai carrier), and Covenant Super-Carrier is roughly 3.81 times longer, at 28.96 kilometers in length; the largest of the school ships would be smaller than these leviathans.

  • Figure I: Size comparison between the Ooarai school ship, the UNSC Infinity and other well-known vessels. Because I’m awesome, I was able to reverse engineer some images to form this comparison. The Ooarai vessel is actually one of the smaller vessels in the series. The figure of 7.6 kilometres will be used for subsequent calculations, which are only an estimate.

With this in mind, I have come across discussions concerning the size of the vessels in the anime, which are sufficiently large as to carry small towns on their surface. Thus, the UNSC Infinity from Halo 4 will be used as a yardstick of sorts to carry out the comparison. As a bit of background reading, the INF-101 UNSC Infinity was commissioned into the UNSC Navy following the end of the Human-Covenant war in 2553, Infinity represents the pinnacle of Human technology, incorporating recovered technology from both the Covenant and Forerunners, boasting advanced defensive and slipstream technologies. Infinity is approximately 5.6 kilometres (3.5 miles) from bow to stern, making it the largest known UNSC vessel to date. Said to possess Forerunner technology, Infinity features substantially improved shielding and slipstream technology relative to its predecessors.

  • This image comparing the UNSC Infinity to the Forward Unto Dawn can be expanded for more detail. Aside from their armour complement, the ships in Girls und Panzer are largely undefended and do not appear to have airfields. Moreover, they do not appear to have heavy armour plating. In comparison, the Infinity is heavily armed as a warship; aside from four CR-08 Series-8 Mass Accelerator Cannons, a substantial missile network consisting of 1100 missile pods is present to enable ship-to-ship combat, anti-air defense and orbital support for ground forces. Close-in defense against enemy missiles, fighters, and boarding craft is provided by the ship’s M965 Fortress point defense system, which consists of a network of 830 70mm automatic cannons. It also had a number of Mark 2488 Magnetic Accelerator Cannon’s on the top of the ship. Finally, Infinity’s most powerful weapons are the CR-08 Series 8 Super MACs, which are powerful enough to penetrate Forerunner armour.

  • While the Infinity was originally built to combat the Covenant in the event that Earth had fallen, the end of the Human-Covenant War meant that this function would no longer be necessary. Thus, the vessel would be re-purposed as an expeditionary and exploratory ship, as well as being the location of a SPARTAN-IV training site. Infinity is assigned the task of locating Forerunner installations and establish nearby bases to oversee their decommissioning at the beginning of the events in Halo 4.

By comparison, information regarding the school ships in Girls und Panzer was released prior to the start of the season. The original documentation gives us the precise dimensions of the Ooarai carrier. The scan finds that the carrier is 7.6 km in length, with a beam of 1.1 km, and a maximum height of 900 metres.  Citations are always more reliable than estimation. One fan guessed that the Ooarai carrier was 600 m long; rather than engage in a long discussion, it’s rather more efficient to simply produce some documentation. While this surpasses the UNSC Infinity in terms of sheer size, the UNSC Infinity possesses Forerunner technology on top of the best engineering, equipment and materials that the UNSC possesses.

  • From left to right, we have the St. Gloriana vessel and the Ooarai vessel. Using a comparison image derived from the “School Ship War” OVA, some rudimentary arithmetic will find that the St. Gloriana ship, the HMS Ark Royal, has a maximum length of 13.24 kilometers.

  • The Pravda vessel is depicted to the right here. These images are limited in showing the vessel’s full sizes, and so, the Pravda school ship, known as the Kiev, could be quite difficult to estimate the size for. The full image of all the school ships allows this computation to be carried out more easily: the same technique used to estimate the HMS Ark Royal’s length, when applied here, finds the Kiev to have a length of 13.79 km.

Thus, given that the Ooarai vessel is 7.6 km long, I conclude that the St. Gloriana vessel is 13.24 km long, and the Pravda vessel is 13.79 km in length. It is important to note that these estimations are purely based on the assumption that the aircraft carriers follow very specific standards, so there is a possibility that the actual dimensions may vary by up to 10 percent. The UNSC Infinity was stated to have a length of 5.6 km, making it smaller than the all of these vessels. There are considerable structural challenges when constructing any vessel of this scale: humanity required the use of Forerunner technology to make the Infinity possible, and it stands to reason that ocean-borne vessels larger than the Infinity would be even more challenging. However, given that both Halo 4 and Girls und Panzer are fictional, a rational viewer is willing to suspend their disbelief and enjoy the series for what they are. While Halo 4, being a science-fiction game, does do a more thorough job of accounting for the construction of its mega-vessels compared Girls und Panzer, this does not affect the anime in any way and ends up making the ships’ sizes more of a fun point to consider. At the very least, this post should compensate viewers for being misdirected to an anime blog when they were in fact looking for UNSC Infinity related materials.

28 responses to “Quantifying the size of the aircraft carriers in Girls und Panzer

  1. Nick Funk January 20, 2013 at 23:16

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. So thorough and analysed. Similar to an XKCD blog article or a Mythbusters crackdown.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Matt Eyre January 26, 2013 at 17:41

    Wow, briliant , looks like the St.gloriana,s carrier is based on the ark royal, Saunders is missing, based on Nimitz carrier? might be bigger than St,Gloriana,s and Pravda carriers?


  3. Whitzwold March 4, 2013 at 05:40

    The Pravda vessel looks like an Admiral Kuznetsov class Russian Aircraft carrier due to the ski jump and the (massive) heli pads


  4. David Blanco Camargo March 28, 2013 at 10:07

    A few thing to consider Regarding the Infinity construction using Forerunner technology:
    1- Infinity is a space traveling ship, and so it needs different standards for it’s construction, even when compared to a 7km Aircraft Carrier.
    2- Most of the Ships in Halo are smaller than infinity because, at the time they were built (Not that the Human Covenant war wasn’t a really long one) they met the necesities of the UNSC because at the time they were just fighting insugents and as such these vessels where just what the UNSC needed, because it wasn’t an all out war against a different faction with the same industrial capabilities.
    3- UNSC infinity almost left the UNSC bankrupt and was built as a last resort. Maybe the high builg cost might have come because of all the reverse engineering that must have been done to all the forerunner technology used, and not because of the size.
    4- I’m not sure how big the Super MAC or cairo station is, but if you take into consideration the Space Stations, then one could truly have a better look at the capabilities of the UNSC at building.

    I believe the people from GuP just make their aircraft carriers of “Unobtanium” (AKA, plot materials) and just carry on 😛


    • infinitezenith March 28, 2013 at 13:39

      Fair enough, although for purposes of discussion, I believe that my comparisons makes things sufficiently interesting.

      The MAC Stations aren’t that big: at around 1.336 km in height, they’re large enough to dock Stalwart-class light frigates, but that’s about it.


  5. John Nagle May 31, 2013 at 14:06

    The carriers in GuP are clearly examples of the Bigger on the Inside trope. Look at those 20 foot containers on the dock for scale. The carriers are seen in aerial views that include Oarai more than once. The deck height is shown as the same as Oarai Tower, which is 60m high. Oarai Tower close-ups appear in GuP, and it’s no bigger than in real life.

    A city block on the carrier deck is about one container length by two container lengths, or about 7 m x 14m. The deck just isn’t to scale. There’s no escaping that. A 7km carrier would dwarf the whole town of Oarai.


    • infinitezenith June 1, 2013 at 20:59

      I’ve taken a close look, and the claim that the Zuikaku has a deck height of 60 metres is soundly false, as per the source materials (which give an actual height of 690 metres). Inspection of the Zuikaku finds that from the camera’s perspective, the Ooarai Tower appears closer in height to the deck, where in actuality, it is not. Similarly, there is a possibility that the containers and cranes might not be of the same dimensions as conventional cargo containers. Thus, I call to mind the idea that the scale representations are probably inconsistent, rather than fitting in with your aforementioned trope (which is not present at TvT at the time of writing).

      With that said, this is an anime, so I’m willing to let the details slide. Lastly, 20 feet would be 6.096 metres, rather than 7 metres 😉


  6. captain keyes September 22, 2013 at 19:31

    no body cares about your little unpopular anime ship! please do not compare something awesome with some otaku trash ps super star destroyer 8miles! covenant super carrier 27kilometers!


  7. Rebecca August 13, 2015 at 13:05

    An additional note on length. Babylon 5, a space station with 250,000 people on board was 5 miles long, or roughly 8.05 km in length. Of course you’d have to consider the rotating cylinders where inside them was housed that number of people which provide a pretty good sized bit of space.


    • infinitezenith August 17, 2015 at 19:43

      A dedicated cylinder such as Babylon 5 would have ample room for housing people in its interior provided that the residential areas were properly organised, there’s no reason it couldn’t house that number. The only reason the UNSC Infinity has a crew of ~17000 is because the ship’s interior is dedicated to hangers (large enough to house ten Strident-class frigates, themselves 575 meters in length each), various machinery and reactors to keep the vessel operational, the MAC batteries and Spartan training quarters.

      The ships in Girls und Panzer are flattops and explicitly stated to have a large proportion of its population on the surface; Ooarai’s school ship has around twelve square kilometers of surface, so it’d have a population density of 2485.5 persons per square kilometer. To put that in perspective, my current location has 1554.8 persons per square kilometer, and Hong Kong has around 6571 persons per square kilometer: the figures from Girls und Panzer are hardly unrealistic by any stretch.


      • Rebecca August 18, 2015 at 15:17

        Not contesting that. I was just stating that B5 probably has more interior room because of it’s internal structure. But I’m sure you can pack a bunch of people into an Academy Ship.


        • infinitezenith August 18, 2015 at 15:44

          The school ships of Girls und Panzer are said to make use of their interiors for agriculture and propulsion. The main reason why the vessel’s interior is not used as living space is because of the subdivision of the ship into bulkheads as a defense against flooding. Moreover, living inside the vessel itself was projected to be a gloomy experience. This is why the residential areas are located on the deck itself. Otherwise, they’d be able to carry a much greater number of inhabitants.


  8. Just A Nerd November 3, 2016 at 12:16

    Out of curiosity, what would you say the lengths of Kuromorimine and Saunders’ ships? I’m doing a bit of research for some things, and it’d help a lot. ^-^


    • infinitezenith November 3, 2016 at 22:08

      Saunder’s USS George Washington would have an estimated length of 12.59 kilometers, while Black Forest’s Graf Zeppelin, I estimate would be 13.46 kilometers. The basis for these calculations are made from this image. I’ve re-evaluated some of my methodologies to re-calculate the sizes for both the HMS Ark Royal and Kiev: the old trick worked well enough for the former, but overestimates the Kiev’s size by around 2 km.

      Quite honestly, I’m surprised at how much time’s passed since I wrote this post: I hope I’ve been able to help, and happy reading!


  9. General Jashin August 30, 2021 at 03:47

    Lots of comments here. Heh.
    For this all I have to say is, yes. It must be really difficult to build and maintain such gigantic ships, which just goes to show how the anime is in a fictional or alternative universe. Many haters dislike the unrealistic nature that is in the anime sometimes, but that’s the problem, the anime isn’t based on real life.
    I would like to explore the history of the GuP univrse. How wars and development went down and such.


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