Military Review

Aircraft carrier Enterprise. The first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in history

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USS Enterprise (CVN-65) in the Atlantic, 2004


The aircraft carrier Enterprise, launched on September 24, 1960, became not only the first aircraft carrier with a nuclear power plant, but also the first and only ship built according to this project. The aircraft carrier holds several records at once. For example, at the time of creation, it was the largest warship. Also, the aircraft carrier Enterprise became the first nuclear powered warship to take part in real combat. Among the records of this nuclear aircraft carrier, there is a record for the number of combat sorties of aircraft per day, as well as a record for the duration of service in the US Navy: the ship was decommissioned fleet only in 2012 year.

Enterprise, or "Big E"


The US Navy's nuclear attack aircraft carrier Enterprise became the first ship of its kind in the world. At the same time, it was already the eighth ship in the American fleet to receive such a name. The new aircraft carrier was a direct successor to its famous namesake, the WWII aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. Like its predecessor, the ship was nicknamed "Big E" for its large size and outstanding combat capabilities. With all its appearance, size and history The nuclear aircraft carrier Enterprise embodied the forefront of the US Navy during the Cold War.

Until now, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) holds the record for the longest among all warships ever built - 342 meters. I amazed the ship with its displacement. At the time of construction, it was the largest warship ever built. The total displacement of the aircraft carrier was 93 tons. Later, this record will be broken only by the new American nuclear-powered aircraft carriers of the Nimitz class, the total displacement of which exceeded 400 thousand tons. For comparison, the Japanese battleship Yamato, the largest warship of the Second World War, had a total displacement of 100 tons with a maximum hull length of 72 meters.


The launch of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Enterprise

The size of the aircraft carrier's aircraft carrier Enterprise also looked impressive. The ship could carry up to 90 aircraft and helicopters, although most often the size of the wing was just over 60 aircraft. In terms of size and capabilities, it was a real floating city, in which there were more than 3,5 thousand different compartments. The ship could comfortably accommodate up to 5800 people, while the standard crew size was 3000 people, another 1800 people made up the air wing. The aircraft carrier had two gyms, two hairdressers, its own launderette, its own chapel, library and printing house (the aircraft carrier had a daily newspaper), as well as a coffee shop and a television studio.

The aircraft carrier Enterprise was supposed to become the first ship of the six aircraft carriers built according to this project, but the American budget could not cope with such a burden, and the Enterprise remained the only ship in the series. The cost of the ship during construction increased to $ 451,3 million, in terms of 2019 prices, taking into account the accumulated inflation, the cost of one ship would have amounted to $ 4,11 billion. The cost of building the ship was comparable to the construction of two Kitty Hawk-class aircraft carriers, the first of which were entered into the fleet at the same time as the aircraft carrier Enterprise in 1961. With a comparable wing size of 88 aircraft, the Kitty Hawk-class ships were significantly cheaper, which also predetermined the fate of the entire series of the first nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in the US Navy.

Features of the nuclear power plant of an aircraft carrier


The Enterprise was the only nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in history to carry more than two nuclear reactors. The power plant of the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier consisted of 8 Westinghouse A2W offshore nuclear reactors. In order to provide the warship with additional security and increase survivability, the power plant was initially divided into 4 echelons (practically 4 separate power plants). Each echelon consisted of two reactors, eight steam generators, a turbine, a turbo-gear unit, and a separate propeller shaft set in motion. The fact that there were four propeller shafts was also a notable feature of the aircraft carrier. The shafts were driven by four five-blade propellers. In order to increase the maneuverability of the warship and reduce the radius of circulation, each of the four screws was equipped with its own rudder.


Part of the air wing of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) in 1967

The total capacity of the USS Enterprise (CVN-8) nuclear power plant, consisting of 65 reactors, was 280 hp. This power was enough to provide a gigantic ship with a maximum speed of 000 knots (33,6 km / h). The maximum cruising range of the ship without work on replacing the reactor core was estimated at about 62,2 nautical miles. In fact, the navigation capabilities of the ship in this aspect were unlimited.

To test the capabilities of the ship's nuclear power plant, it was decided to send it on a voyage around the world. Since the entire first half of the 1960s passed under the banner of human space exploration, it was decided to give the circumnavigation the symbolic name "Sea Orbit". It should be noted that the aircraft carrier "Enterprise" itself was related to the US space program. In 1962, one of the radar control stations was located on board the ship, which provided safety and tracking the flight of the first American astronaut John Glenn.

Especially for the round-the-world voyage "Sea Orbit" as part of the US Navy was created a unit "Task Force No. 1". The group included the first three ships in the US Navy with nuclear power plants on board. In addition to the aircraft carrier Enterprise, these were the USS Long Beach (CGN-9) nuclear-powered missile cruiser and the USS Bainbridge (CGN-25) nuclear-powered frigate. The purpose of the campaign was to demonstrate to the whole world the previously unattainable possibilities for autonomous navigation, which were only capable of ships with modern nuclear power plants. The operation, which was of an important propaganda nature, lasted 65 days from July 31 to October 3, 1964. During this time, three American warships made a round-the-world voyage, passing 30 nautical miles without any special adventures or breakdowns.


"Operational group No. 1"

Record for longest service in the U.S. Navy


The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) holds the record for being in military service with the US Navy. The ship has served in the American Navy for over half a century. The aircraft carrier was laid down at Newport News Shipbuilding on February 4, 1958. The first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in history was launched exactly 60 years ago - on September 24, 1960. The new ship was finally introduced to the US Navy in November 1961. Its service, with breaks for repairs and modernization, lasted more than 51 years and ended only on December 1, 2012, when the aircraft carrier was officially excluded from the fleet lists. At the same time, more than 1 years have passed from the moment of being included in the fleet until the ship was decommissioned on 2017 February 55.

Since the active service life of the ship has exceeded half a century, the aircraft carrier took part in almost all significant local conflicts and operations in which the American fleet participated. The aircraft carrier made its debut during the Cuban missile crisis. In 1962, a ship in the US Atlantic Fleet participated in the naval blockade of Cuba. This was followed by the Vietnam War, in which the nuclear aircraft carrier, included in the US 7th Fleet, took part since December 1965. It was during the Vietnam War that the record for the number of combat missions made per day, the number of which reached 165, falls.

It was also during the Vietnam War that a nuclear aircraft carrier was on the verge of death for the only time. The ship, out of the reach of the enemy's means of destruction, was almost killed by negligence. Due to overheating from the jet stream of the working engine located next to the stack of 127-mm NUR "Zuni" aircraft, a spontaneous launch of one of the missiles occurred. An unguided projectile hit a nearby attack aircraft, which led to a fuel spill and a subsequent fire with detonation aviation bombs and indiscriminate launching of unguided rockets. The fire that began on the morning of January 14, 1969 was extinguished only after three hours. At the same time, as a result of explosions and fires, 28 people died, another 314 team members received injuries of varying severity and burns, and 15 aircraft were completely destroyed. The total damage from fire and explosions on board was estimated at $ 126 million. The ship repair lasted 51 days.


The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) in its penultimate campaign in July 2011, in the foreground

Subsequently, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Enterprise continued to participate in the Vietnam War, and in April 1975 took part in the evacuation of American citizens from Saigon, as well as citizens of South Vietnam. In 1998, the aircraft carrier took part in the Desert Fox military operation against Iraq, leading a US-based strike force. Later, the ship was used during the hostilities against the Taliban in Afghanistan at the end of 2001, and in 2003-2004 - in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The last 8-month voyage was completed by the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) on November 4, 2012. All in all, during the service, the aircraft carrier went to sea 25 times.

The Americans abandoned the idea of ​​turning the unique ship into a floating museum. This solution was considered too expensive, complex and unsafe. It was decided to send the ship for scrap, all the weapons from the aircraft carrier were dismantled, the reactors were deactivated. The only surviving element of the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in history may be its “island” superstructure, which can be preserved and installed on the shore as a memorial.
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  1. Uncle lee
    Uncle lee 24 September 2020 05: 33 New
    18
    Americans know how to build ships, we must pay tribute to them ...
    1. Alien From
      Alien From 24 September 2020 11: 37 New
      +2
      I completely agree with Uncle Lee!
    2. Vova Vasilev
      Vova Vasilev 29 September 2020 06: 00 New
      0
      SKILL_LI - it is necessary not only to know the texture, but to be able to analyze it at least initially: it is enough for comparison to look at the epic with "Gerald Ford", as well as at the problems with the latest aircraft carriers, maintaining combat capability and epic fail with "Bonomme Richard", even if the latter is UDC.
  2. tlauicol
    tlauicol 24 September 2020 05: 40 New
    +3
    epoch-making ship good
    1. Same lech
      Same lech 24 September 2020 05: 59 New
      -24 qualifying.
      It depends on who ... and a big target for our missiles ... I don't share the enthusiasm for our potential enemy.
  3. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 24 September 2020 05: 58 New
    +6
    Good article. Interesting and educational.
    1. Fitter65
      Fitter65 24 September 2020 06: 24 New
      +1
      Quote: Leader of the Redskins
      Good article. Interesting and educational.

      True, here is the very first photo given in a zeral display.
  4. NDR-791
    NDR-791 24 September 2020 06: 05 New
    -17 qualifying.
    The larger the cabinet, the louder it falls
    1. Same lech
      Same lech 24 September 2020 06: 07 New
      -13 qualifying.
      The larger the cabinet, the louder it falls

      Then some will tell you that you still need to get into this cabinet ... supposedly there are problems with target designation.
      1. NDR-791
        NDR-791 24 September 2020 06: 08 New
        -14 qualifying.
        It's hard to miss across the entire AUG.
        1. Same lech
          Same lech 24 September 2020 06: 11 New
          -11 qualifying.
          The ocean is large ... the scale is such that you can miss ... the main thing here is to detect the AUG in time and then point the drones at it ... however, there are also over-the-horizon radars to some extent they can identify the AUG.
          1. NDR-791
            NDR-791 24 September 2020 06: 12 New
            -11 qualifying.
            Such goals are monitored constantly and by all means, including undercover.
            1. Same lech
              Same lech 24 September 2020 06: 18 New
              -10 qualifying.
              Such goals are monitored constantly and by all means, including undercover.

              This is good news ... I hope someday an echeloned defense of hyper-surface-to-ship missiles will be created along our coastline, operating in a fully automated mode.
              And then not a single enemy AUG will dare to approach our borders closer than the radius of our missiles.
            2. certero
              certero 24 September 2020 10: 29 New
              14
              Quote: NDR-791
              Such goals are monitored constantly and by all means, including undercover.

              In 1983, Soviet intelligence lost as many as two aircraft carriers, which could then simulate a bomb assault on our Kuril Islands. So the tales are different. Now imagine the possibilities of the Soviet Union and modern Russia
              1. Alexey RA
                Alexey RA 24 September 2020 12: 32 New
                +6
                Quote: certero
                In 1983, Soviet intelligence lost as many as two aircraft carriers, which could then simulate a bomb attack on our Kuril islands.

                On the Northern Fleet at about the same time they lost "America": carrier-based aircraft fly, are discovered, classified - and the AV itself is nowhere to be found. Only later did it become clear that the Americans had driven AB into the Norwegian skerries.
  5. Doccor18
    Doccor18 24 September 2020 07: 09 New
    +4
    There were no obstacles for the USSR to also have such combat giants in the fleet. In technical and financial terms, it was a difficult, but quite solvable task. And only the voluntarism and myopia of the top officials of the state put an end to the atomic aircraft carrier program. And when, finally, the enthusiasts "managed to push through" this issue, it was too late, the country disappeared from the world map ..
    Back in the late 60s, the scientific and industrial potential of the USSR could well have allowed the construction of a Soviet "Enterprise" ...
    1. garri-lin
      garri-lin 24 September 2020 18: 13 New
      +1
      He was never needed. Not then. Not now. The doctrine was different. Here is a kiloton of 60 vessels in an air defense configuration would be helpful. A pair for each ocean fleet. But alas. You said correctly. The short-sightedness of some persons was in the way.
  6. Shimshon
    Shimshon 24 September 2020 08: 01 New
    +9
    I have my father's war photographs. There are a couple of photos where the father, being a sailor of the "Krasny Kavkaz", is photographed against the background of this aircraft carrier. By the way, my father received a 2-week vacation, for being the first to establish visual contact with the aircraft carrier.
    1. Asad
      Asad 24 September 2020 12: 40 New
      -1
      Please tell me why was eye contact so important?
      1. Shimshon
        Shimshon 24 September 2020 13: 39 New
        +2
        Visual reconnaissance: the number of aircraft on the upper deck, their types, their weapons, HP on the deck, ranks. Integrity and operability of ship systems, etc.
        1. Alexey RA
          Alexey RA 24 September 2020 15: 51 New
          +1
          Quote: Shimshon
          Visual reconnaissance: the number of aircraft on the upper deck, their types, their weapons, HP on the deck, ranks. Integrity and operability of ship systems, etc.

          Plus, only visually it was possible to finally confirm that it really was AB. And not another large target - a tanker or KKS - going in the wrong place in the order and imitating AB, while AB itself is in a different place.
  7. The Siberian barber
    The Siberian barber 24 September 2020 08: 39 New
    +7
    The aircraft carrier was laid down at Newport News Shipbuilding on February 4, 1958. The first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in history was launched exactly 60 years ago - on September 24, 1960. The new ship was finally entered into the US Navy in November 1961.

    Amazing not only the size of the ship, but also the construction time of this mastodon
    Truly an epoch-making ship!
  8. Trapp1st
    Trapp1st 24 September 2020 10: 47 New
    +4
    The aircraft carrier Enterprise was actively used for purely peaceful purposes to popularize science, study in the 60s in America.
  9. 501Legion
    501Legion 24 September 2020 15: 38 New
    +5
    no matter how I relate to the Americos, but we must pay tribute to build they know how to ships. Looks impressive, a real giant.
  10. Sasha_rulevoy
    Sasha_rulevoy 21 October 2020 21: 10 New
    0
    It also has some of the world's first PFAR antennas. Subsequently removed, apparently without computers, the PAR did not work normally. And the three circles of dipole rods on the conical tower are likely to resemble the Soviet "Resistor" radar for aiming a group of anti-submarine helicopters. Also later removed.