It’s more than 100 meters longer than the Empire State Building and when fully loaded will weigh around 600,000 tons. Shell’s 1,453-foot-long "Prelude" is the biggest vessel to have ever gone to sea, and it has taken the evolution of transport to a whole new level.
From Russian aircraft with a 300-foot wingspan to U.S. aircraft carriers that can carry 6,000 sailors, transport has produced many titans through the ages. Here’s a list of the most notable:
Ukrainian Antonov An-225 Mriya
Produced in 1988 to help transport the Soviet Union’s space shuttle, it holds several world records for airlifted payload – 559,577 pounds the biggest one. However, after the cancellation of the space program in 1991 and the breakup of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was left with the aircraft, which was entrusted to the manufacturer, Antonov Airlines. With its unique lifting abilities, the aircraft has been contracted by various militaries to help supply coalition forces in the Middle East. A second An-225 is currently in production but will cost upwards of $300 million.
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American Nimitz class aircraft carrier
These 10 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers were built over a period of 38 years, starting with the lead ship, the USS Nimitz, commissioned in 1975, and the most recent and last was the USS George H.W. Bush, commissioned in 2009. Each one is 332.8 meters long with a beam of around 80 meters, yet it can hit speeds of 30 knots or more as it carries its crew of 3,200 ship's company and 2,480 air wing almost anywhere as it never needs to refuel.
Russian Mil V-12 Helicopter
With helicopter-style rotor blades attached to the 219-foot wings, this Russian-built helicopter looks like a cross between a normal aircraft and a helicopter. However, due to design flaws with its lifting capabilities, only two were built.
American Saturn V
The heaviest, tallest and most powerful rocket ever successfully launched into space, it carried men to the moon in 1969 as part of the Apollo space programs. While just 138 feet tall, it could generate 7,648,000 pounds of force at takeoff and would travel at 2.58 kilometers per second for 263 seconds before dropping down speeds as it entered space.
France Char 2C Tank
This French-built tank was 10 meters long and carried 12 crewmembers, making it the biggest tank to ever see service in any conflict. But it was largely a failure due to its slow speed, ultimately becoming nothing more than a propaganda tool for the French.
German Zeppelin Airship
The zeppelin Hindenburg was the largest airship ever built and one of the most luxurious forms of transport in the early 1900s, but after the outbreak of World War I, the ship was primarily used for bombing raids. After the war, the Zeppelin experienced a golden age, exemplified by the Graf Zepplin, a 235-meter-long giant. Around this time the first tran-Atlantic routes were opened up from Frankfurt to Recife in Brazil. Things were going well until the Nazis arrived in the early 1930s, in the full knowledge that zeppelins would be useless in combat. The business moved across to the United States to escape the Nazi regime but was pretty much halted in its tracks after the Hindenburg disaster shook any confidence people had in the aircraft.
Russian Zubr-Class Hovercraft.
This Soviet creation still serves to today in the Russian, Greek and Ukrainian navies and is capable of carrying 500 troops or three tanks. With numbers in service decreasing, the Chinese recently ordered four at a cost of $315 million. The 57-meter-long hovercraft can travel at speeds of 55 knots for over 300 miles, making it a good landing craft for military operations on islands.
Belarussian BelAZ 75710 dump truck
It weighs 360 tons and can carry 450 tons, is 20 meters long, eight meters high and nearly 10 meters wide. It’s basically a huge truck.
Russian Typhoon-Class submarine
At 570 feet long, this submarine is the biggest ever built and can dive to 1,300 feet for up to 120 days. Despite being designed in the 1960s and built in the 1980s, this nuclear-powered monster of the deep is still quieter and more maneuverable than its predecessors.