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US Navy Aircraft Carriers

US Navy Aircraft Carriers

US Navy's one of the most deadliest weapons are aircraft carriers. They are considered vital for the United States' global defense prowess.
Historyplex Staff
US economy and security depends on safeguarding its overseas interests as well as encouraging peace in the world, and it is the aircraft carriers that help serve this purpose. According to a former US Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, "If you don't have that forward deployed presence, you have less of a voice, less of an influence." He was referring to aircraft carriers.
Their vital advantage is that, they can roam freely in international waters. Also they don't require permission from the host countries for landing and overflight rights, thus making them a mobile air base. Most of the surface on earth is covered by water, and most of the international waters are covered by the aircraft carries of the US. One can imagine what an important role they play in US security, from the words of former president Bill Clinton, during a visit to USS Theodore Roosevelt, "When word of crisis breaks out in Washington, it's no accident: the first question that comes to everyone's lips is, where is the nearest carrier?"
From USS Langley to USS George H.W. Bush, America has had many aircraft carriers. Some of the major types that the navy has had in past are:
  • Lexington class
  • Yorktown class
  • Essex class
  • Long hull Essex class
  • Independence class
  • Midway class
  • Forrestal class
  • Kitty Hawk class
  • Nimitz Class
Currently, it has only the Enterprise class and Nimitz class super aircraft carriers, operating. Totally, 10 active super carriers in all. Their characteristics are as follows.
Enterprise class
Propulsion Eight nuclear reactors, four shafts
Length 1,101 feet 2 inches (335.64 meters)
Displacement 89,600 tons at full load
Speed 30+ knots (34.5 miles per hour)
Crew Ship's company: 3,350 - Air Wing 2,480
Armament Two Sea Sparrow missile launchers, three Phalanx 20 mm CIWS mounts
Aircraft carrying capacity 85
Active ship USS Enterprise (CVN-65)
Nimitz class
Propulsion Two nuclear reactors, four shafts
Length 1,092 feet (332.85 meters)
Displacement approximately 97,000 tons at full load
Speed 30+ knots (34.5 miles per hour)
Crew Ship's company: 3,200 - Air Wing 2,480
Armament Two or three NATO Sea Sparrow launchers, Phalanx 20 mm CIWS mounts(3 on Nimitz and Dwight D. Eisenhower and 4 on Vinson and later ships of the class)
Aircraft carrying capacity 85
Active ships
  1. USS Nimitz (CVN-68)
  2. USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)
  3. USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70)
  4. USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71)
  5. USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72
  6. USS George Washington (CVN-73)
  7. USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74)
  8. USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75)
  9. USS Ronald Reagon (CVN-76)
  10. USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77)

USS Enterprise is the largest and oldest in the US Navy. It is sometimes referred to as Big E or Mobile Chernobyl. America is building three more super carriers ― USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), CVN-79 and CVN-80. USS Gerald R. Ford will be ready by 2015, as its manufacturing has already begun.
The United States alone has 10 active super carriers. No other country in the world has as many, not even close to it. Britain has the second largest number, with 2 operating carriers.