U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers

U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers

Description: Aircraft carriers provide a wide range of possible response for the National Command Authority.

The Carrier Mission

  • To provide a credible, sustainable, independent forward presence and conventional deterrence in peacetime,
  • To operate as the cornerstone of joint/allied maritime expeditionary forces in times of crisis, and
  • To operate and support aircraft attacks on enemies, protect friendly forces and engage in sustained independent operations in war.

    Features: The aircraft carrier continues to be the centerpiece of the forces necessary for forward presence. Whenever there has been a crisis, the first question has been: "Where are the carriers?" Carriers support and operate aircraft that engage in attacks on airborne, afloat, and ashore targets that threaten free use of the sea; and engage in sustained operations in support of other forces.

    Aircraft carriers are deployed worldwide in support of U.S. interests and commitments. They can respond to global crises in ways ranging from peacetime presence to full-scale war. Together with their on-board air wings, the carriers have vital roles across the full spectrum of conflict.

    The Nimitz-class carriers, eight operational and two under construction, are the largest warships in the world. USS Nimitz (CVN 68) was the first to undergo its initial refueling during a 33-month Refueling Complex Overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., in 1998.

    Point of Contact:
    Public Affairs Office
    Naval Sea Systems Command
    Washington, DC 20362

    General Characteristics, Nimitz Class

    Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, Va.
    Power Plant: Two nuclear reactors, four shafts
    Length, overall: 1,092 feet (332.85 meters)
    Flight Deck Width: 252 feet (76.8 meters)
    Beam: 134 feet (40.84 meters)
    Displacement: Approx. 97,000 tons (98,556.67 metric tons) full load
    Speed: 30+ knots (34.5+ miles per hour)
    Aircraft: 85
    Cost: about $4.5 billion each
    Ships:
    USS Nimitz (CVN 68), San Diego, Calif.
    USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), Newport News, Va.
    USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Bremerton, Wash.
    USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Norfolk, Va.
    USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), Everett, Wash.
    USS George Washington (CVN 73), Norfolk, Va.
    USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), San Diego, Calif.
    USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), Norfolk, Va.
    Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) (under construction)
    George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) (under construction)
    Crew: Ship's Company: 3,200 - Air Wing: 2,480
    Armament: Two or three (depending on modification) NATO Sea Sparrow launchers, 20mm Phalanx CIWS mounts: (3 on Nimitz and Dwight D. Eisenhower and 4 on Vinson and later ships of the class.)
    Date Deployed: May 3, 1975 (USS Nimitz)

    General Characteristics, Enterprise

    Builders: Newport News Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, Va.
    Power Plant: Eight nuclear reactors, four shafts
    Length, overall: 1,101 feet 2 inches (335.64 meters)
    Flight Deck Width: 252 feet (75.6 meters)
    Beam: 133 feet (39.9 meters)
    Displacement: 89,600 tons (91,037.91 metric tons) full load
    Speed: 30+ knots (34.5 miles per hour)
    Aircraft: 85
    Ship:USS Enterprise (CVN 65), Norfolk, Va.
    Crew: Ship's Company: 3,350 - Air Wing 2,480
    Armament: Two Sea Sparrow missile launchers, three Phalanx 20 mm CIWS mounts
    Date Deployed: November 25, 1961 (USS Enterprise)

    General Characteristics, John F. Kennedy

    Builders: Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Va.
    Power Plant: Eight boilers, four shafts, 280,000 total shaft horsepower
    Length, overall: 1052 feet (315.6 meters)
    Flight Deck Width: 252 feet (76.8 meters)
    Beam: 130 feet (39.6 meters)
    Displacement: 82,000 tons (83,315.95 metric tons) full load
    Speed: 30+ knots (34.5 miles per hour)
    Aircraft: Approximately 85.
    Ship: USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67); Mayport, Fla.
    Crew: Ship's Company: 3,117 - Air Wing 2,480
    Armament: Sea Sparrow missiles with box launchers, Three 20mm Phalanx CIWS
    Date Deployed: September 7, 1968

    General Characteristics, Kitty Hawk Class

    Builders:
    CV 63 - New York Ship Building Corp., Camden, N.J.
    CV 64 - New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, N.Y.
    Power Plant: Eight boilers, four geared steam turbines, four shafts, 280,000 shaft horsepower.
    Length, overall: 1062.5 feet (323.8 meters)
    Flight Deck Width: 252 feet (76.8 meters)
    Beam: 130 feet (39 meters)
    Displacement: Approx. 80,800 tons (82,096.69 metric tons) full load
    Speed: 30+ knots (34.5+ miles per hour)
    Aircraft: 85
    Ships:
    USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), Yokosuka, Japan
    USS Constellation (CV 64), San Diego, Ca.
    Crew: Ship's Company: 3,150 - Air Wing: 2,480
    Armament: Sea Sparrow launchers, 3 20mm Phalanx CIWS mounts
    Date Deployed: April 29, 1961 (USS Kitty Hawk)