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Nimitz class – Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that can launch one aircraft every 20 seconds

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With an overall length of 1,092 ft (333 m) and full-load displacement of over 100,000 long tons (100,000 t), the Nimitz-class ships were the largest warships built and in service until USS Gerald R. Ford entered the fleet in 2017. 

The Nimitz class is a class of ten nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in service with the United States Navy. The lead ship of the class is named after World wᴀʀ II United States Pacific Fleet commander Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who was the last living U.S. Navy officer to hold the rank.

Why Russia and China Fear America’s Nimitz-Class Aircraft Carriers:

The Nimitz class carriers differ from the earlier nuclear-powered USS Enterprise in having two reactors rather than eight, with oʀᴅɴᴀɴcᴇ magazines between and forward of them. This increases the internal space available to allow some 2 570 tons of aviation wᴇᴀᴘoɴs and 10.6 million litres (2.8 million US gal) of aircraft fuel to be carried. These totals are sufficient for 16 days of continuous flight operations before stocks have to be replenished. The class is also fitted with the same torpedo protection arrangement as carried by the USS John F. Kennedy, and is laid out with the same general arrangement and electronic fit as the USS John F. Kennedy.

Four deck-edge aircraft elevators are available: two forward and one aft of the island on the starboard side and one aft on the port side. The hangar is 7.8 m high, and like those of other US carriers can accommodate, at most, only half of the aircraft embarked at any one time; the remainder is spotted on the flight deck in aircraft parks.

The flight deck measures 333×77 m, the angled section being 237.70 m long. It is fitted with four arrester wires and an arrester net for recovering aircraft. Four steam catapults are carried, two on the bow launch position and two on the angled flightdeck. With four catapults the carrier can launch one aircraft every 20 seconds.

The standard US Navy air wing at the beginning of the 21st Century included 20 F-14D Bombcats (Tomcats with a strike role), 36 F/A-18 Hornets, eight S-3A/B Vikings, four E-2C Hawkeyes, four EA-6B Prowlers, four SH-60F and two HH-60H Seahawks.

Air wings can be varied according to the nature of the operation: for example, in 1994, 50 army helicopters replaced the usual air wing on the Eisenhower during peacekeeping operations off Haiti. There are also facilities for a Grumman C-2A Greyhound carrier on-board delivery aircraft.

As the primary means of American power projection, the ships of the Nimitz class have seen a considerable amount of use around the hotspots of the world. The USS Nimitz (CVN-68), commissioned in May 1975, was the base for the abortive Iranian hostage rescue mission in 1980. In 1981 her fighters were in action against Libya. Transferring from the Atlantic to the Pacific in 1987, Nimitz deployed to the Persian Gulf and Asian waters on numerous occasions over the next decade. In 1998 the carrier returned to Norfolk for a two-year refueling refit, which was complete in 2001. After decommissioning of the USS Enterprise in 2017 the USS Nimitz became the oldest aircraft carrier in service with the US Navy.