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A flagship is a vessel used by the
commanding officer The commanding officer (CO) or sometimes, if the incumbent is a general officer A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typ ...

commanding officer
of a group of
naval A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically authorized a ...

naval
ships, characteristically a
flag officer A flag officer is a Officer (armed forces), commissioned officer in a nation's armed forces senior enough to be entitled to fly a flag to mark the position from which the officer exercises command. The term is used differently in different countr ...
entitled by custom to fly a distinguishing flag. Used more loosely, it is the lead ship in a fleet of vessels, typically the first, largest, fastest, most heavily armed, or best known. Over the years, the term "flagship" has become a
metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of ...
used in industries such as broadcasting, automobiles, education, technology, airlines, and retail to refer to their highest profile or most expensive products and locations.


Naval use

In common naval use, the term ''flagship'' is fundamentally a temporary designation; the flagship is wherever the
admiral Admiral is one of the highest ranks in some navy, navies, and in many navies is the highest rank. In the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth nations and the United States, a "full" admiral is equivalent to a "full" general officer, general in ...

admiral
's flag is being flown. However, admirals have always needed additional facilities, including a meeting room large enough to hold all the captains of the fleet and a place for the admiral's staff to make plans and draw up orders. Historically, only larger ships could accommodate such requirements. The term was also used by commercial fleets, when the distinction between a nation's navy and merchant fleet was not clear. An example was ''
Sea Venture ''Sea Venture'' was a seventeenth-century English sailing ship, part of the Third SupplyThe Jamestown supply missions were a series of fleets (or sometimes individual ships) from 1607 to around 1611 that were dispatched from England by the Londo ...
'', flagship of the fleet of the
Virginia Company The Virginia Company was an English trading companyTrading companies are business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling Product (business), products (such as goods and services). S ...
, which was captained by
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
Vice-Admiral
Christopher Newport Christopher Newport (1561–1617) was an English seaman and privateer. He is best known as the captain of the ''Susan Constant'', the largest of three ships which carried settlers for the Virginia Company in 1607 on the way to found the settleme ...
yet bore the Merchant Navy admiral of the company's fleet, Sir
George Somers Sir George Somers (before 24 April 1554 – 9 November 1610) was an English privateer and naval hero, knighted for his achievements and the Admiral of the Virginia Company of London The London Company, officially known as the Virgi ...

George Somers
, during the ill-fated
Third SupplyThe Jamestown supply missions were a series of fleets (or sometimes individual ships) from 1607 to around 1611 that were dispatched from England by the London Company The London Company (also called the Virginia Company of London) was an English j ...
of 1609. In the age of
sailing ship A sailing ship is a sea-going vessel that uses sail A sail is a tensile structure—made from fabric or other membrane materials—that uses wind power to propel sailing craft, including sailing ships, sailboat sloop ged sloop Image:Sa ...

sailing ship
s, the flagship was typically a
first rate In the rating system of the British Royal Navy used to categorise sailing warships, a first rate was the designation for the largest ships of the line, equivalent to the ' super-dreadnought' of more recent times. Originating in the Jacobean ...
; the aft of one of the three decks would become the admiral's quarters and staff offices. This can be seen on , the flagship of Admiral
Nelson Nelson may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Nelson (1918 film), ''Nelson'' (1918 film), a historical film directed by Maurice Elvey * Nelson (1926 film), ''Nelson'' (1926 film), a historical film directed by Walter Summers * Nelson (opera), ''Ne ...

Nelson
at the
Battle of Trafalgar The Battle of Trafalgar (21 October 1805) was a naval engagement between the British Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from the ear ...

Battle of Trafalgar
in 1805, still serving the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
as the ceremonial flagship of the
First Sea Lord The First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff (1SL/CNS) is the professional head of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by Kingdom of England, Eng ...
from
Portsmouth, England Portsmouth () is a port city primarily built on Portsea Island in the county of Hampshire, South East England. It is also known colloquially as Pompey, a nickname shared with HMNB Portsmouth and the Portsmouth F.C., Portsmouth Football Club. It ...
. Non-first rates could serve as flagships, however: , a
frigate A frigate () is a type of warship A warship or combatant ship is a that is built and primarily intended for . Usually they belong to the of a state. As well as being armed, warships are designed to withstand damage and are usually faste ...

frigate
(a fourth rate), served as flagship for parts of the United States Navy during the early 19th century. In the 20th century, ships became large enough that the larger types,
cruiser A cruiser is a type of . Modern cruisers are generally the largest ships in a fleet after s and s, and can usually perform several roles. The term "cruiser", in use for several hundred years, has changed its meaning over time. During the , ...

cruiser
s and up, could accommodate a commander and staff. Some larger ships may have a separate flag bridge for use by the admiral and his staff while the captain commands from the main navigation bridge. Because its primary function is to coordinate a fleet, a flagship is not necessarily more heavily armed or armored than other ships. During
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, admirals often preferred a faster ship over the largest one. Modern flagships are designed primarily for
command and control Command and control is a "set of organizational and technical attributes and processes ...
hat A collection of 18th and 19th century men's beaver felt hats A hat is a head covering which is worn for various reasons, including protection against weather conditions, ceremonial reasons such as university graduation, religious reasons, safet ...

hat
employs human, physical, and information resources to solve problems and accomplish missions" to achieve the goals of an organization or enterpris ...
rather than for fighting, and are also known as
command ship Command ships serve as the flagships of the commander of a fleet. They provide communications, office space, and accommodations for a fleet commander and his staff, and serve to coordinate fleet activities. An auxiliary command ship features th ...
s.


Flagship as metaphor

As with many other naval terms, ''flagship'' has crossed over into general usage, where it means the most important or leading member of a group, as in the
flagship station In broadcasting, a flagship (also known as a flagship station) is the broadcast station which Local insertion, originates a television network, or a particular radio or television program that plays a key role in the branding of and consumer loyal ...
of a broadcast network. The word can be used as a noun or an adjective describing the most prominent or highly touted product, brand, location, or service offered by a company. Derivations include the "flagship brand" or "flagship product" of a
manufacturing Manufacturing is the creation or production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products (g ...
company, "flagship store" of a
retail chain A chain store or retail chain is a retail outlet in which several locations share a brand, Management, central management, and standardized business practices. They have come to dominate the retail and dining markets, and many service categorie ...
, or "flagship service" of a hospitality or transportation concern. The term "flagship" may have specific applications: * Auto companies may have a flagship in the form of their leading or highest-priced car. * Electronics companies may have a series of products considered to be their flagship, usually consisting of one or two products that are updated periodically. For example, the
Samsung Galaxy S series The Samsung Galaxy S series is a line of high-end Android mobile device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations a ...
consists of several flagship smartphones that are released on a yearly basis. * In
rail transport Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transports people or cargo. Vehicles include wagons, bicycles, motor veh ...

rail transport
, a "flagship service" is either the fastest or most luxurious. Often it is also a
named train In the history of rail transport Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicles running on rails, which are located on tracks. In contrast to road transport, where the v ...
or service.


Colleges and universities in the United States

Most states in the United States provide public university education through one or more
university system A university system is a set of multiple affiliated universities and colleges that are usually geographically distributed. Typically, all member universities in a university system share a common component among all of their various names. Usually, ...
s, with each system having multiple campuses located throughout the state. The phrase flagship institution or flagship university may be applied to an individual school or campus within each state system. The
College Board The College Board is an American nonprofit organization that was formed in December 1899 as the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) to expand access to higher education. While the College Board is not an association of colleges, it runs a m ...
, for example, defines flagship universities as the best-known institutions in the state, noting that they were generally the first to be established and are frequently the largest and most selective, as well as the most research-intensive public universities. These schools are often
land-grant A land grant is a gift of real estate Real estate is property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this (also) ...
,
sea-grant The National Sea Grant College Program is a program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA ) is an American scientific agency within the United States Department of Comme ...
, or
space-grant The space-grant colleges are educational institutions in the United States that comprise a network of fifty-two consortia formed for the purpose of Space research, outer space-related research. Each consortium is based in one of the U.S. state, fift ...
research universities. According to
Robert M. Berdahl Robert Max Berdahl (born March 15, 1937) is a retired American college and university administrator. Biography Born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Berdahl received a Bachelor of Arts from Augustana College (South Dakota), Augustana College in 1959 ...
, then-chancellor of the
University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...

University of California, Berkeley
, the phrase "flagship" came into existence in the 1950s when the
Morrill Act The Morrill Land-Grant Acts are United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consis ...
schools were joined by newer institutions built in a wave of post-war expansion of state university systems. Berdahl notes further that because flagships are generally the oldest schools within a system, they are often the largest and best financed and are perceived as elite relative to non-flagship state schools. He comments that "Those of us in 'systems' of higher education are frequently actively discouraged from using the term 'flagship' to refer to our campuses because it is seen as hurtful to the self-esteem of colleagues at other institutions in our systems. The use of the term is seen by some as elitist and boastful. It is viewed by many, in the context of the politics of higher education, as 'politically incorrect.' ... Only in the safe company of alumni is one permitted to use the term." Nevertheless, the term "flagship university" is still used in official contexts by the U.S. Department of Education, various state university system boards of governors, and state legislatures. Additionally, state universities often self-designate themselves as flagships. Higher education agencies, research journals, and other organizations also use the term, though their lists of flagship universities can differ greatly. One list of 50 flagship universities (one per state) is employed by the Higher Education Coordinating Board, the College Board, the Princeton Review and many other state and federal educational and governmental authorities for a variety of purposes including tuition and rate comparisons, research studies and public policy analyses. Despite its ubiquity, this list of 50 flagships is not the only state-by-state examination of flagships. In a 2010 article, Standard & Poor's created its own list of flagship universities, noting that each state had typically one or two institutions with flagship characteristics. The Education Sector, an education policy organization, used a different list of 51 flagship universities in an August 2011 study of college debt. Several states had multiple universities categorized as flagships due to "less of a clear distinction between a single flagship and other public universities" in those states. Additionally, several states were not included in the study due to insufficient comparative data. There are many instances in which more than one school in a state has claimed to be, or has been described as, a "flagship". In February 2012, Idaho's State Board of Education made a controversial decision to strike the word "flagship" from the mission statement. The Board's President Richard Westerberg explained that this revision was made as part of the board's many changes made to multiple Idaho universities' mission statements in an effort to ensure all statements were consistent and collegial in nature rather than comparative or competitive.


Retailing

Flagship stores are core stores for
brand name A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising for recognition and, importantly, to cr ...

brand name
retailers, larger than their standard outlets and stocking greater inventory, often found in prominent shopping districts such as
Fifth Avenue Fifth Avenue is a major thoroughfare A thoroughfare is a primary passage or way as a transit route through regularly trafficked areas whether by road A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two Location (geography), places ...

Fifth Avenue
in New York,
Oxford Street Oxford Street is a major road in the City of Westminster The City of Westminster is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and London boroughs, borough in Inner London which forms a core part of Central London. It is the site of the Un ...

Oxford Street
in London,
İstiklal Avenue İstiklal Avenue ( tr, İstiklal Caddesi; en, "Independence Avenue"), historically known as the Grand Avenue of PeraPera may refer to: Places * Pera (Beyoğlu), a district in Istanbul formerly called Pera, now called Beyoğlu ** Galata, a neig ...
in İstanbul or Tokyo's
Ginza Ginza ( ; ja, 銀座 ) is a district of Chūō, Tokyo, Chūō, Tokyo, located south of Yaesu and Kyōbashi, Tokyo, Kyōbashi, west of Tsukiji, east of Yūrakuchō and Uchisaiwaichō, and north of Shinbashi. It is a popular upscale shopping area ...

Ginza
.


Broadcasting

A flagship station is the principal station of a
radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30 hertz (Hz) and 300 gigahertz (GHz). They are generated by an electronic device ...

radio
or
television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Gre ...
broadcast network A terrestrial network (or broadcast network in the United States) is a group of radio station , Sweden , Norway Radio broadcasting is transmission of audio signal, audio (sound), sometimes with related metadata, by radio waves intended to reach ...
. It can be the station that produces the largest amount of material for the network, or the station in the parent company's home city, or both. The term dates back to the mid twentieth century years of broadcasting when headquarters stations produced programs for their networks. For example, the flagship stations of the
ABC ABC are the first three letters of the Latin script known as the alphabet. ABC or abc may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Broadcasting * American Broadcasting Company, a commercial U.S. TV broadcaster ** Disney–ABC Television ...
,
NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), co ...
and
CBS CBS is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S ...

CBS
television and radio networks are their
owned and operated In the broadcasting Broadcasting is the distribution of sound, audio or video content to a dispersed audience via any electronic medium (communication), mass communications medium, but typically one using the electromagnetic spectrum (radio wa ...
outlets in
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
. Likewise,
public television Public broadcasting involves radio Radio is the technology of signaling and communicating Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entities or ...
's
WNET WNET, virtual channel In most telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire, radio, Optical system, optical, or other Electromagnetism, electromagnetic systems. It has ...
served as primary member station for
National Educational Television National Educational Television (NET) was an American non-commercial educational, educational terrestrial television, broadcast television network owned by the Ford Foundation and later co-owned by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It o ...
(NET), a forerunner to the US
Public Broadcasting Service The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is an American public broadcaster Public broadcasting involves , and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is . In many countries of the world, comes from governments, especially vi ...
(PBS). In sports broadcasting, the "flagship" is a team's primary station in their home market, which produces game broadcasts and feeds them to
affiliate Affiliation or affiliate may refer to: * Affiliate (commerce), a legal form of entity relationship used in Business Law * Affiliation (family law), a legal form of family relationship * Affiliate marketing * Affiliate network or affiliation platfor ...
s. For example, WGN was the flagship station of the
Chicago Cubs The Chicago Cubs are an American professional baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on ...
baseball team, which has an extensive Cubs radio network spanning several states.


Automobiles

The term flagship is also used to describe an automaker's top (i.e. largest/most expensive/most prestigious) vehicle. Modern examples include the
Mercedes-Benz S-Class The Mercedes-Benz S-Class, formerly known as ''Sonderklasse'' (German for "special class", abbreviated as "S-Klasse"), is a series of full-size car, full-size luxury vehicle, luxury sedans, limousines and Armored car (VIP), armored sedans produced ...
,
Toyota Century The is a luxury vehicle produced mainly for the Japanese market, serving as Toyota The is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational Automotive industry, automotive manufacturer headquartered in Toyota, Aichi, Japan. It was founde ...
, , and
Land Rover Land Rover is a British brand of predominantly four-wheel drive Four-wheel drive, also called 4x4 ("four by four") or 4WD, refers to a two-axled vehicle drivetrain The drivetrain, also frequently spelled as drive train, or sometimes ...

Land Rover
's
Range Rover The Land Rover Range Rover (generally known simply as the Range Rover) is a 4x4 Four-wheel drive, also called 4x4 ("four by four") or 4WD, refers to a two-axled vehicle drivetrain The drivetrain, also frequently spelled as drive train, ...

Range Rover
.


Airlines

American Airlines obtained copyright to the term “Flagship” on May 3, 1937 per the Catalog of Copyright Entries. As of December 20, 2019 as stated in a legal document, this includes "the marks “Flagship,” “Flagship Lounge” and “Flagship Suite” (the “Flagship Marks”)—to describe premium air travel services for first and business class passengers since the 1930s and 1940s." Delta Airlines also uses/used the word "Flagship" to describe its top lines, as pointed out by AA and being argued legally in December 2019 and into 2020.


Conservation

Within conservation biology, the term
flagship species In conservation biology, a flagship species is a species chosen to raise support for biodiversity conservation in a given place or social context. Definitions have varied, but they have tended to focus on the strategic goals and the socio-economic ...
refers to a species or taxon that is a symbol or rallying point to catalyze conservation actions.


See also

*
List of flagships In its strictest sense, a flagship A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships, characteristically a flag officer A flag officer is a commissioned officer in a nation's armed forces senior enough to be en ...


References


External links

* {{Authority control Metaphors referring to ships Ship types