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USS Enterprise

Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

USS Enterprise aircraft carrier

The USS Enterprise is the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

Entered service 1961
Crew 3 215 men
Aircrew 2 480 men
Dimensions and displacement
Length 342.3 m
Beam 40.5 m
Draught 10.9 m
Flight deck width 76.8 m
Displacement, standard 75 700 tons
Displacement, full load 93 970 tons
Propulsion and speed
Speed 33 knots
Nuclear reactors 8 x ? MW
Steam turbines 4 x 209 MW
Fixed wing 20 x F-14 Tomcat
36 x F/A-18 Hornet
4 x EA-6B Prowler
4 x E-2C Hawkeye
6 x S-3B Viking
Helicopters 4 x SH-60F Ocean Hawk
2 x HH-60H Rescue Hawk
Missiles 3 x octuple Sea Sparrow launchers (no reloads)
Guns 3 x 20-mm Vulcan Phalanx CIWS (may be replaced by Sea RAM)


   The world's first nuclear-powered aircraft-carrier, the Enterprise was laid down in 1958 and commissioned in November 1961, as what was then the largest warship ever built. Since exceeded in size by the Nimitz class ships, the Enterprise was built to a modified Forrestal-class design, with its larger dimensions dictated by the powerplant of eight A2W pressurised water enricheduranium fuelled nuclear reactors. The high cost of its construction prevented five other vessels in the naval building programme from being built.

   From January 1979 to March 1982 Enterprise underwent an extensive refit which included the rebuilding of its island superstructure and the fitting of new radar systems and a mast to replace the characteristic ECM dome and billboard radar antenna that had been used since it was built. Enterprise is equipped with four steam catapults, four deck-edge aircraft elevators and carries 2 520 tons of aviation ordnance plus 10.3 million litres (2.72 million US gal) of aircraft fuel. Like that of other US carriers the Enterprise's ordnance has included 10-kT B61, 20-kT B57, 60-kT B43, 100-kT B61, 200-kT B43, 330-kT B61, 400-kT B43, 600-kT B43 and 900-kT B61 tactical nuclear gravity bombs, 100-kT Walleye air-to-surface missiles and 10-kT B57 depth bombs, while 1.4-MT B43 and 1.2-MT B28 strategic bombs could be carried as and when required. The air group is similar in size and configuration to that carried by the Nimitz class carriers, and the Enterprise is fitted with the same ASCAC, NTDS and Tactical Flan Command Center (TFCC) facilities. In addition to its OE-82 satellite system it also carries two British SCOT satellite communications antenna units for use with British fleet units and NATO. These two systems were fitted in 1976.

   Enterprise is currently deployed with the Pacific Fleet and was SLEPed between 1991 and 1994. It is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2013. This warship will be replaced by the new Ford class aircraft carrier, which is currently under construction and is expected to be commissioned in 2015.

   The USS Enterprise was decommissioned in 2013.


Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Decommissioned
USS Enterprise (CVN-65) 1958 1960 1961



USS Enterprise aircraft carrier

USS Enterprise aircraft carrier

USS Enterprise aircraft carrier

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