65

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NAME

USS. ENTERPRISE (CVAN.65)

CLASS

AIRCRAFT CARRIER

ENT/SERVICE

NOVEMBER 25th 1961

BUILT

NEWPORT NEWS SHIPBUILDING / VIRGINIA / AMERICA

WEIGHT

75,730 TONS

LENGTH

1,123 FEET

WIDTH

132 FEET - FLIGHT DECK 255 FEET

SPEED

30 KNOTS

PROPELLERS

4 - 21 FEET IN DIAMETER 5 BLADES

ENGINES

8 - NUCLEAR REACTORS POWERING 4 GEARED STEAM TURBINES - 280,000 HP

AIRCRAFT

85 - TOMCATS / HORNETS / PROWLERS / HAWKEYES / VIKINGS / SHADOWS & 8 HELICOPTERS


Enterprise was the first aircraft carrier to be powered by nuclear reactors. The US Navy only ordered one ship in this class so they could test the suitability of nuclear power in carriers. Enterprise was the largest warship built at that time, and 40 years later, is still the longest. After years of tests on this prototype, the US Navy designed a new class of nuclear powered carrier with the first of the new ships Nimitz entering service in 1975.

USS Enterprise

One of Enterprise’s first missions was to assist in the tracking and recovery of the Friendship 7 Mercury space capsule in 1962. That flight, piloted by John Glen, had just completed the first manned orbit of the earth. Enterprise was then deployed to assist in the blockade of Cuba 1962/63 to prevent Russian ships supplying Cuba with nuclear weapons. By 1964, she had been joined by two specially built escorts, the first nuclear powered cruiser Long Beach - 17,525 tons and the first nuclear powered frigate Bainbridge - 9,000 tons. These three ships became the first nuclear powered taskforce when they set out on an around the world voyage later that year.

Enterprise damaged Vietnam

Enterprise was transferred to the Pacific Seventh Fleet in November 1965 to take part in the Vietnam War, this being the first time a nuclear powered warship had engaged in battle. Over the next seven years, she made six combat deployments to the war in South East Asia. On January 15th 1969, Enterprise became the third US warship to be accidentally damaged during the Vietnam War. Heat from an aircraft starter unit hit a pod containing four Zuni rockets setting off a series of explosions. There were 18 explosions in all with eight blowing holes through the flight deck, these leading to fires in her lower decks. Twenty-eight of Enterprise’s crew died in the incident with 344 being injured, 15 aircraft were lost. After the 1973 peace treaty between North and South Vietnam fell apart and the North invaded the South in 1975, Enterprise was used to support the mass evacuation of Saigon.

USS Bainbridge (CGN-25)

During the Iran/Iraq war of 1980 - 1988, Kuwaiti oil tankers became targets of the two warring countries. After Kuwaiti tankers began operating under the American flag, Enterprise was deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1988 to protect these ships. This led to Enterprise being caught up in an intensely fought battle with the Iranian Navy. Her first major overhaul was carried out between 1990 and 1995. Since returning to service, Enterprise has been involved in the wars in Kuwait, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. She is expected to remain in service as one of the United States mightiest warships until 2013.

USS Long Beach (CGN-9)

USS Long Beach (CGN-9) was taken out of service in 1995 to be recycled for nuclear submarine parts.

USS Bainbridge (CGN-25) was taken out of service in 1996 to be recycled for nuclear parts.

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