Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Deadly USS Enterprise (CVN-65), E = m c2 x 40

Army and Weapons | Deadly USS Enterprise (CVN-65), E = m c2 x 40  | USS Enterprise (CVN-65), formerly CVA(N)-65, is the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the eighth US naval vessel to bear the name. Like her predecessor of World War II fame, she is nicknamed the "Big E". At 1,123 ft (342 m), she is the longest naval vessel in the world. Her 93,284 long tons (94,781 t) displacement ranks her as the 11th-heaviest supercarrier, after the 10 carriers of the Nimitz class.

The only ship of her class, Enterprise is the second-oldest vessel in commission in the United States Navy, after the wooden-hulled, three-masted frigate USS Constitution. She was originally scheduled for decommissioning in 2014 or 2015, depending on the life of her reactors and completion of her replacement, USS Gerald R. Ford. But the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 slated the ship's retirement for 2013, when she will have served for 51 consecutive years, the most of any U.S. aircraft carrier.

As of September 2010, Enterprise's home port is at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia. She has one more deployment before her decommissioning.
Because of the huge cost of her construction, Enterprise was launched and commissioned without the planned Terrier missile launchers. These were never installed and the ship's self-defense suite instead consisted of three shorter-range RIM-7 Sea Sparrow, Basic Point Defense Missile System (BPDMS) launchers. Later upgrades added two NATO Sea Sparrow (NSSM) and three Mk 15 Phalanx CIWS gun mounts. One CIWS mount was later removed and two 21-cell RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile launchers were added.
Enterprise is also the only aircraft carrier to house more than two nuclear reactors."This was due to the ready availability of a field-proven production design developed for nuclear submarines.[citation needed] Her eight-reactor propulsion design also fit well with the supercarrier hull designs of the time, with each A2W reactor taking the place of one of the conventional boilers in earlier constructions. She is the only carrier with four rudders, two more than other classes, and features a more cruiser-like hull.

Enterprise also had a phased array radar system designed to be better at tracking multiple airborne targets than conventional rotating antenna radars. These early phased arrays, which were replaced around 1980, were responsible for the distinctive square-looking island.
In 1958, Enterprise's keel was laid at Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. On 24 September 1960, the ship was launched, sponsored by Mrs. W. B. Franke, wife of the former Secretary of the Navy. On 25 November 1961, Enterprise was commissioned, with Captain Vincent P. De Poix, formerly of Fighting Squadron 6 on her predecessor, in command. On 12 January 1962, the ship made her maiden voyage conducting a three-month shakedown cruise and a lengthy series of tests and training exercises designed to determine the full capabilities of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

After the cease-fire in Vietnam in 1973, Enterprise proceeded to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington, where the carrier was altered and refitted to support the Navy's newest fighter aircraft — the F-14 Tomcat. Two of four jet blast deflectors were enlarged to accommodate the Tomcat. The No. 4 propulsion shaft was replaced; it had been bent when its screw became fouled in a discarded arresting gear cable.
In the 1970s, Enterprise was refitted to handle F-14 Tomcats, which operated from the ship from 1974 to 2001.

On 18 March 1974, the first operational Tomcats of VF-1 Wolfpack and VF-2 Bounty Hunters made their maiden takeoffs and landings from the carrier. In September 1974, Enterprise became the first carrier to deploy with the new fighter plane when she made her seventh western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployment.

In February 1975, Typhoon Gervaise struck the island nation of Mauritius, and Enterprise was ordered to provide disaster relief. Arriving at Port Louis, carrier personnel spent more than 10,000 man-hours rendering such assistance as restoring water, power and telephone systems, clearing roads and debris, and providing helicopter, medical, food and drinkable water support to the stricken area.
In February 1977, Idi Amin, the President of Uganda, made derogatory remarks against the United States in public and Americans in Uganda were taken hostage. This was several months after the Israeli raid at Entebbe airport. Enterprise and her escort ships, having just left Mombasa after a port call, were directed to remain in the area and operated off the east African coast for about one week. At that point the ships were scheduled to transit home after a seven-month deployment. The ship's Marine detachment and air wing prepared for a possible mission to rescue and evacuate the Americans, but Amin eventually released all the hostages. The ships then steamed across the Indian Ocean at high speed to make a previously scheduled final port call at NAS Cubi Point in the Philippines before returning to NAS Alameda.

In 1978, Enterprise underwent her ninth Western Pacific deployment, including port calls in Hong Kong, Perth, Australia, and Singapore. In January 1979, the carrier sailed into Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for a 36-month comprehensive overhaul. During this overhaul, the ship's superstructure was modified, removing the SCANFAR radars and the unique inverted cone-shaped top section which was three stories high. During the lengthy overhaul, Enterprise was referred to as "Building 65" by Navy and shipyard personnel.

Enterprise will be the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to be decommissioned by the United States Navy. In August 2009, an Internet-based petition began circulating to convert Enterprise into a museum ship after she is decommissioned. The costs of doing so regarding her nuclear reactors has yet to be calculated by the United States Department of Defense. A petition has also been set up for the next carrier to be named as the ninth USS Enterprise.

Northrop Grumman's facility at Newport News, Virginia will deactivate and de-fuel the ship after her decommissioning. Using the fates of previous U.S. Navy aircraft carriers as a guide, once the ship's nuclear fuel and reactor machinery has been removed and disposed of, petitioners and naval enthusiasts want the ship to become a museum, however that may not be possible. Once the Navy dismantles and recycles the ship's reactors, there will be very little left to turn into a museum; virtually everything two decks below the hangar bay would have to be cut apart. Enterprise may also enter the Ship-Submarine Recycling Program. Afterward the ship's island could be removed and used as a memorial.