Happy Birthday Big E!


via Wired

1960: USS Enterprise, the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, is launched in Newport News, Virginia. CVN-65, nicknamed Big E, was the first carrier of its kind, powered solely by its eight nuclear reactors.

With nuclear power to propel it, the Enterprise does not need to carry its own fuel oil and has more room for aircraft and weapons. It routinely carries 70 to 90 planes. The ship measures in at 1,120 feet (about 100 feet longer than the USS Saratoga), with a 250-foot-wide flight deck and 93,970 tons displacement. It relies on a crew of 5,700.

All this came with a price: around $451.3 million (equivalent to $3.3 billion in today’s money), according to Jane’s American Fighting Ships of the 20th Century. The Enterprise came in well over budget and ended up being the only ship in its class. Five other planned ships were not constructed.

According to Wikipedia, the Enterprise is scheduled for decommissioning in 2013.

Yes, it is still on active duty.

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