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[[Ship:|]] — N/A promo premium Tier  N/A.

The largest class of attack aircraft carriers. The ship featured a strong air group, powerful AA armament and good torpedo protection. The successful design of aircraft elevators ensured fast takeoff and landing for the aircraft. The unarmored flight deck, also characteristic of her predecessors, made her and her sister ships vulnerable to air strikes.

Four of the class are preserved as military museum ships: USS Yorktown in Charleston, South Carolina; USS Lexington in Corpus Christi, Texas; USS Intrepid in New York, New York; and USS Hornet in Alameda, California.

Compatible Upgrades

 Slot 1  Air Groups Modification 1 Main Armaments Modification 1 Auxiliary Armaments Modification 1 Magazine Modification 1 Aiming Systems Modification 0
 Slot 2  Damage Control System Modification 1 Propulsion Modification 1 Steering Gears Modification 1 Aircraft Engines Modification 1
 Slot 3  Main Battery Modification 2 Secondary Battery Modification 1 AA Guns Modification 1 Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1 Aiming Systems Modification 1 Torpedo Bombers Modification 1 Attack Aircraft Modification 1
 Slot 4  Damage Control System Modification 2 Propulsion Modification 2 Steering Gears Modification 2 Attack Aircraft Modification 2 Torpedo Bombers Modification 2 Bombers Modification 2
 Slot 5  Flight Control Modification 1 Target Acquisition System Modification 1 Concealment System Modification 1 Steering Gears Modification 3
 Slot 6  AA Guns Modification 2 Main Battery Modification 3 Torpedo Tubes Modification 3 Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 Flight Control Modification 2 Air Groups Modification 2 Secondary Battery Modification 2 Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2

Player Opinion


As with the Lexington you can upgrade your Dive Bombers to equip either HE or AP bombs. The AP bombs provide lower max damage, but have the possibility to citadel and have a much smaller dispersion area.


  • Versatile 2-1-2 layout provides both strong anti-air and strike capabilities
  • Significantly better detection radius than Lexington.
  • Can equip Template:Air Groups Modification 3 in Upgrade Slot 6, making her already tough squadrons of bombers even more resilient to anti-aircraft fire and enemy fighters. The torpedo bombers become significantly less easily taken out than the same bombers on the Lexington.
  • Good cruising speed; can keep up with friendly ships.
  • Two fighter groups provide good anti-air capabilities, although the lower tier (8) means they are somewhat weaker than expected. A plus of this is that that effect may be negotiated with Dogfighting Expert skill.
  • Dive bombers are equipped with 1,000 lb. bombs and inflict tremendous damage if they hit.
  • Dive bombers may be equipped with AP bombs, which are extremely accurate for hitting large battleships and may cause lights-out damage.


  • Long- and mid-range anti-aircraft firepower is a downgrade from Lexington; Essex is more vulnerable to enemy aircraft than her immediate predecessor. Combined with mediocre fighters this means Essex captains will need to defend themselves a bit more skillfully than before Update 0.6.14.
  • Fewer hit points than Japanese counterpart Taiho, further underscoring her vulnerability if spotted.
  • Bad rudder shift time and turning circle radius.
  • Fighters and torpedo bombers are downtiered, making them more vulnerable than those of the IJN counterpart Taiho.
  • Relies on torpedo bombers only for taking out destroyers when AP bombers are chosen, since these bombs hardly do any damage to destroyers (and some light cruisers).
  • Terrible concealment.
  • Long squadron re-arm times, especially when a squadron of planes is destroyed entirely.
  • HE dive bombers have somewhat questionable accuracy due to randomness of bomb drops (even when dropped manually).
  • Only one squadron of downtiered torpedo bombers, resulting in somewhat lacking strike capabilites


Depending on what the captain wants to do, upgrading to the Douglas BTD-1 (AP) first may be a priority.

  1. Upgrade to Hull (B) to increase anti-aircraft protection.
  2. Upgrade to Douglas BTD-1 (dive bomber, HE or AP).
Both dive bomber upgrades provide (equal) additional HP and speed to the aircraft, with the only difference being in the bombs they carry. When it is chosen to research better dive bombers first, it is still recommended to upgrade the Hull (B) before continuing to research the other set of dive bombers.

Optimal Configuration


The recommended upgrades for ' are as follows:

Upgrade Slot 3 is the 1st main choice of upgrades with '. For players looking to improve their fighter's capabilities, Air Groups Modification 2 (+7.5% to aircraft HP.) is highly recommended. Otherwise, the Flight Control Modification 1 (-5% aircraft restoration time, +2 aircraft carrier deck places available.) helps players land and launch '’s multiple flight squadrons, as ' has five separate plane squadrons to manage.

Upgrade Slot 5 offers players Concealment System Modification 1 (-10% to detectability radius. / +5% to the maximum dispersion of enemy shells that fire on your ship.), which stacks with Concealment Expert and Camouflage to bring '’s surface detection down to a small range of 11km.

Upgrade Slot 6 is the 2nd main choice of upgrades with '. Due to the common presence of multiple battleships and cruisers with very high AA power, Template:Air Groups Modification 3 is highly recommended to make sure '’s planes will survive their trip to and from their target. If survivability isn't the player's foremost preference, Flight Control Modification 2 (+5% cruising speed.) is viable, decreasing the speed gap between '’s and Taiho’s planes, allowing the slower and larger American squadrons to have a better chance of escaping from their Japanese counterparts.

Commander Skills

As a Tier IX carrier, captains have access to the special carrier Defensive AA Fire (While active, the damage per second of large caliber anti-aircraft guns is increased.) consumable, which lasts for two minutes and increases the ship's AA DPS by a factor of 1.25. Coupled with Basic Firing Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Armament, captains can significantly increase the ship's AA DPS to shoot down enemy planes effectively. Or, as Essex has access to the Concealment System Modification, the player can opt to choose to utilize the Concealment Expert skill as an indirect form of further protection from enemy ships (with skill, camouflage, and upgrade, detection is 10.61km).

The Dogfighting Expert skill is not generally recommended throughout the American aircraft carrier line; however, Essex’s fighters top out at Tier VIII. This makes the skill valuable for an Essex commander, as it provides both additional ammo and damage versus most enemy aircraft she will encounter.


As a Tier IX carrier, Essex has access to the following consumables:

Premium Defensive AA Fire II (While active, the damage per second of large caliber anti-aircraft guns is increased.) is highly recommended to counter any enemy carrier's attempts to "snipe" the player (that is, by having all bombers bypass allied ships undetected and attempting to sink the player in one hit). Premium Damage Control Party II (When activated, instantly repairs fires, floods, and incapacitations, and prevents more for the duration.) is not recommended as it is only needed in dire moments, or when the player is the last one alive.


Type 1, 2, or 5 camouflage can be equipped for credits; Types 1 or 5 are recommended at a minimum to reduce detectability range.

Players who wish to spend doubloons can equip Essex with the permanent premium Type 19 camouflage that lowers her detection radius, reduces the accuracy of incoming shells, reduces her repair costs, and increases the amount of experience she earns.


As a carrier, Essex can only mount at most four signals at a time and has no risk of detonating. Players should mount Equal Speed Charlie London (+50% XP earned for the battle.), Zulu Hotel (+50% Commander XP earned for the battle.), November Echo Setteseven (+5% continuous damage by all AA guns, +5% damage per second within the explosion radius of shells fired from medium- and long-range AA defenses.), and Juliet Whiskey Unaone (+15% chance of causing flooding. / +5% to the risk of your ship's magazine detonating.). Players can also choose to equip the Dragon Flag (+333% Commander XP earned for the battle.) for faster commander (re)training.


Historical Info

Historical Gallery

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Aircraft Carriers
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