CVN-65 Enterprise Class
USNC-Enterprisesmall.jpg
(Note: drawing contains some parts and lower hull details taken from Shipbucket.com)

Ship Characteristics

Dimensions Length 1,102.0
Beam 133 ft
Draft 36 ft
Displacement (Standard) 75,700 tons
Displacement (Full Load) 89,600 tons
Performance Speed (max) 35 knots
Armament Aircraft (1964) 12 F6D, 36 F9U, 24 F4H, 12 A3J, 4 W2F, 4 S2F
Aircraft (1986 36 F13F, 24 F4H, 12 A2U, 12 A3J 4 W2F, 4 S2F

Background

USS Enterprise (CVN-65) was the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the ninthU.S. Naval vessel to bear the name. She honors two predeccessors that fought in World War Two, the Yorktown class CV-6 that was sunk off New York in December 1942 and the Essex class carrier CV-10 that was decommissioned and sold to France in 1960. Like her predecessors she was nicknamed the "Big E." Enterprise was intended to be the first of a class of six, but the rapid advance of nuclear warship technology meant that a more advanced class, the CVN-67 Texas class was adopted and the Enterprise class was restricted to two hulls, the second being the USS Shiloh. A major debate during her construction was whether she should be missile armed; the originally intended complement being two twin Terrier missile launchers. It was eventually decided these impacted too much on her aircraft carrying capability and they were never fitted. Late in their careers both ships were fitted with Sea Falcon surface-to-air missiles.

Enterprise and Shiloh were equipped with an eight-reactor propulsion design was rather conservative, with each A2W reactor taking the place of one of the conventional boilers in earlier designs. She was also fitted with four rudders compared to two for later classes. The two carriers also featured a phased array radar system designed to provide improved tracking of multiple airborne targets relative to conventional rotating antenna radars. This was topped by a distinctive "beehive" that housed high-precision ESM and ECM equipment. The original radars were replaced by SPY-1 AEGIS systems in the late 1970s, the Enterprise class thus being the only CVNs to carry AEGIS

In common with the other CVNs, the Enterprise and Shiloh have long suffered from grossly exagerrated reports of their maximum speed. Over the years, these reports have attributed speeds of 40, 50 or even 60 knots to these ships. This causes much amusement in Navy circles.

In 1988 - 1990, both ships were converted to training ships, Enterprise serving as the Pacific training ship and Shiloh as the Atlantic Training Ship. The conversion saw their forward elevators removed and the forward half of the hangars converted into schoolrooms and demonstration laboratories. Since the ships were equipped with AEGIS they served as fleet electronics training ships as well as carrier training ships. In this role they were designated as CVTNs and served the fleet well for a further 15 years until they were withdrawn from service in 2007/08.

Under U.S. Law all aircraft carriers are to be named after states. However, a specific exception was made for the Shiloh and this name will be assigned to the next CVN to be launched.

Class Members

Number Name Ordered Laid Down Launched Commissioned Fate
CVN-65 Enterprise 1958 1958 1961 1963 Decommissioned and scrapped 2007
CVN-66 Shiloh 1959 1959 1962 1964 Decommissioned and scrapped 2008
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