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Aging U.S. Carrier Enterprise Heads For Final Deployment

 
 
Reply Mon 12 Mar, 2012 09:29 am
Aging U.S. Carrier Enterprise Heads For Final Deployment
March 12, 2012
by Scott Neuman - NPR

USS Enterprise, the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, is beginning the last deployment in her storied 50-year career on the frontlines of American sea power.

Known as the "Big E", she was among the vessels dispatched to the waters off Cuba during the October 1962 missile crisis with orders from President Kennedy to enforce an air and sea blockade of the island nation.

Subsequently, Enterprise served in support of the war in Vietnam and played a key role in the evacuation of Saigon in 1975. She was also made famous by the 1986 film Top Gun starring Tom Cruise.

But, five decades of steaming to the world's hotspots has taken its toll on Enterprise, which suffers from such mundane malfunctions as stuck valves and decaying electrical equipment, Capt. William Hamilton, the ship's commander, told Stars and Stripes:

"Something that was working a month ago and you turn it on – you have no idea that something is going to be wrong," he said.

The Enterprise name, by the way, has been associated with several famous vessels through American history, including two during the Revolutionary War and a 12-gun schooner that fought in the Quasi-War with France and later in the First Barbary War.

Another carrier Enterprise, which was at the Battle of Midway in June 1942 and many of the major fights in the Pacific campaign, was the most decorated U.S. ship of World War II. At one point, she was the only functioning U.S. carrier in the Pacific after the Japanese navy had either damaged or destroyed all the others in the early fighting.

And, of course, the name Enterprise resonates with fans of the science fiction franchise Star Trek.

USS Enterprise, CVN-65, will be officially deactivated on Dec. 1.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 6 • Views: 1,929 • Replies: 29
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JTT
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Mar, 2012 07:49 pm
Just consider all the war crimes that this old boat took part in. Oh, if only she could talk.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Mar, 2012 11:58 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
She set a serious trans-Atlantic speed record during the Cuban missile crisis going over 50 knots the whole way. I don't know if it is still true but at one time she was the largest displacement ship ever built.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Mar, 2012 12:02 am
@engineer,
Really? I had no idea ships that size could move so fast.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Mar, 2012 12:04 am
@roger,
Pretty insane when you think about how much mass was moving that fast.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Mar, 2012 12:31 am
@engineer,
I think, she did more than 40 knots during her sea trials after construction.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Mar, 2012 01:06 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Possibly. Enterprise is slightly longer and slightly narrower in the beam than the Nimitz class carriers and theoretically it can go a bit faster than them. It's 1956 era powerplant included eight reactors in a design layout that mimicked the eight boilers in the then current conventional carriers. The Nimitz class has but two large, 550 MW reactors with about the same power as Enterprise (and the same four shaft & propeller propulsion system). In fact the propeller shafts are the limiting factor - at top speed the reactors are loafing along at about 60% power. Both the reactor plants and the propeller shafts are operated with fairly large safety margins, and in normal operations these ships can get up to about 36.5 Kts ( ~ 67 KM/hr). It is possible that on the first sea trial some special limits were used. The power required varies as the cube of velocity so a great deal more power would be required to get the last 3.5 Kts.

I know from direct experience that a Nimitz class carrier can go slightly faster than Enterprise. Moreover the captain of the FRG windjammer training vessel that made a port visit to san Francisco in 1987 was a wittness.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Mar, 2012 05:12 am
When I was in the Navy, which encompassed the time of the Cuban missile crisis, the destroyer on which I served had a good natured race with the Enterprise. It left us far behind, almost immediately.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Mar, 2012 10:39 am
@edgarblythe,
You might have done better in a longer race. The nuclear plants have a very quick and smooth power response on acceleration - much faster than conventional boilers or even deisel engines.
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Mar, 2012 10:56 am
@engineer,
Quote:
She set a serious trans-Atlantic speed record during the Cuban missile crisis going over 50 knots the whole way. I don't know if it is still true but at one time she was the largest displacement ship ever built.



How in the hell would even destroyers keep up with her over any distant!!!!
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Mar, 2012 12:15 pm
@engineer,
engineer wrote:

She set a serious trans-Atlantic speed record during the Cuban missile crisis going over 50 knots the whole way. I don't know if it is still true but at one time she was the largest displacement ship ever built.


Not true on either count. Enterprise can't do 50kts, and at about 115 thousand tons displacement it was about the same size as the then largest commercial transport (the "Universe Leader", I recall) which had a similar full load displacement. Today there are ships over twice that displacement (though some of them in my view aren't very safe.) Most commercial ships operate for about 20 years, maximum, then broken up for scrap. Enterprise is over 55 years old and has been ridden very hard over those years.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Mar, 2012 01:28 pm
General characteristics

Class and type: Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Displacement: 93,284 long tons (94,781 t) Full Load[2]
Length: 1,123 ft (342 m)[3][4]
Beam: 132.8 ft (40.5 m) (waterline)
257.2 ft (78.4 m) (extreme)
Draft: 39 ft (12 m)
Propulsion: 8 × Westinghouse A2W nuclear reactors
four sets Westinghouse geared steam turbines, 4 × shafts
280,000 shp (210 MW)
Speed: 33.6 kn (38.7 mph; 62.2 km/h) Range: Unlimited distance; 20-25 years
Complement: 5,828 (maximum)
Ship's company: 3,000 (2,700 Sailors, 150 Chiefs, 150 Officers)

Air wing: 1,800 (250 Pilots, and 1,550 Support personnel)
Sensors and
processing systems: AN/SPS-48 3D air search radar
AN/SPS-49 2D air search radar
Electronic warfare
and decoys: AN/SLQ-32
Mark 36 SRBOC
Armament: 2 × NATO Sea Sparrow launchers
2 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS mounts
2 RAM launchers

Armor: 8 in (20 cm) aluminum belt (equivalent to 4 in (10 cm) rolled homogeneous steel armor), armored flight deck, hangar, magazines and reactor[5][6]
Aircraft carried: Hold up to 90
70 (normally)[7]
Aviation facilities: Flight deck: 1,123 ft (342 m)
Motto: We Are Legend;
Ready on Arrival;
The First, the Finest;
Eight Reactors, None Faster
Nickname: "Big E",[8]
Notes: 915 engineers designed the ship. They made 16,100 drawings and 2,400 blueprints. The ship has about 625 mi (1,000 km) of electrical cables and 37 mi (60 km) of ventilation ducts.[citation needed] The ship has 4 steam powered catapults.[9]
Badge:
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Mar, 2012 02:20 pm
@edgarblythe,
.... and the Enterprise didn't cross the Atlantic in 1962. See: Naval History & Heritage Command
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Mar, 2012 05:22 pm
@edgarblythe,
Enterprise's displacement when commissioned was about 95,000 tons, but by 1988 is was increased to about 105,000 tons by vbarious modifications - alll about the same as the Nimitz class. Starting in 1986 the early Nimitz class ships (and all new ones after Lincoln) got an added 10,000 tons of structure and armor - I assume (but don't know for sure) Enterprise got that modification as well.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Mar, 2012 05:27 pm
@georgeob1,
I remember I was in like the 4th grade when the Cuban Missle crisis occured and we were all practicing to stay safe under our magical school desks which were A bomb repellant.
I remember when pres Kennedy said something about sending the "Enterprise" to deploy somewhere around the MEd or the Indian Ocean (not sure where) as a way of sending "100000 TONS OF DIPLOMACY TO MOSCOW"
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Mar, 2012 05:27 pm
@georgeob1,
I remember I was in like the 4th grade when the Cuban Missle crisis occured and we were all practicing to stay safe under our magical school desks which were A bomb repellant.
I remember when pres Kennedy said something about sending the "Enterprise" to deploy somewhere around the MEd or the Indian Ocean (not sure where) as a way of sending "100000 TONS OF DIPLOMACY TO MOSCOW"


I asked sister Attila (the nun), the next day, how could we send diplomacy as a measurable weight of stuff to a country? and thats where sister attila taught me the concept of "metaphor"
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Mar, 2012 05:40 pm
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:

I remember I was in like the 4th grade when the Cuban Missle crisis occured and we were all practicing to stay safe under our magical school desks which were A bomb repellant.
I remember when pres Kennedy said something about sending the "Enterprise" to deploy somewhere around the MEd or the Indian Ocean (not sure where) as a way of sending "100000 TONS OF DIPLOMACY TO MOSCOW"


You are just a kid. I was then a brand new pilot, on my second week in an A-4 squadron on the Shangri La (the shitty Shang as we called it). We were in the North Atlantic, and when they set DEFCON 3, we found ourselves doing loading drills with ,the nukes and getting checked out on our assigned routes.

In those days Enterprise was quite new and novel It's ability to operate independently of logistics ships for an extended period. Because the nuclear plant is much smaller and lighter than a conventional powerplanr, it could carry much more aviation fuel , ammo and general stores. Moreover it didn't need a string of tankers to keep it fuelled and could easily do extended trsansits at high speeds (30 Kts not 50).
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Mar, 2012 07:36 pm
@georgeob1,
I had sister Attila in the 6th grade also, thats prolly the age I was cause Ida been like 11 or 12 at the Cban Crisis.
I think thge speed reported was in mph not knots, cause I heard that it was possible to waterski behind a carrier but I dont see how they coulda done that without getting the skipper into a whole passle of grief(think of the paperwork that would be triggered just to answer the question-"YOU DID WHAT?")
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Mar, 2012 07:45 pm
@georgeob1,
A friend told me, and stop me if Ive said it before, but the modern navy is composed of submarines and targets.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Mar, 2012 07:51 pm
@farmerman,
Quote:
we were all practicing to stay safe under our magical school desks which were A bomb repellant.


Yeah, that sure worked for all the school children in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, didn't it, Farmer?
 

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