Osprey - New Vanguard 211 - US Cold War Aircraft Carriers

BRAD ELWARD ILLUSTRATED BY PAUL WRIGHT US COLD WAR AIRCRAFT CARRIERS Forrestal, Kitty Hawk and Enterprise - pdf za darmo

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US COLD WAR AIRCRAFT CARRIERS Forrestal, Kitty Hawk and Enterprise Classes

BRAD ELWARD

ILLUSTRATED BY PAUL WRIGHT © Osprey Publishing • www.ospreypublishing.com

NEW VANGUARD 211

US COLD WAR AIRCRAFT CARRIERS Forrestal, Kitty Hawk and Enterprise Classes

BRAD ELWARD

ILLUSTRATED BY PAUL WRIGHT

© Osprey Publishing • www.ospreypublishing.com

CONTENTS INTRODUCTION

4

ORIGINS OF THE CARRIER AND THE SUPERCARRIER

5

t World War II Carriers t Post-World War II Carrier Developments t United States (CVA-58)

THE FORRESTAL CLASS

11

FORRESTAL AS BUILT

14

t t t t t t t

Carrier Structures The Flight Deck and Hangar Bay Launch and Recovery Operations Stores Defensive Systems Electronic Systems and Radar Propulsion

THE FORRESTAL CARRIERS t t t t

USS USS USS USS

20

Forrestal (CVA-59) Saratoga (CVA-60) Ranger (CVA-61) Independence (CVA-62)

THE KITTY HAWK CLASS t t t t t t t

26

Major Differences from the Forrestal Class Defensive Armament Dimensions and Displacement Propulsion Electronics and Radars USS America, CVA-66 – Improved Kitty Hawk USS John F. Kennedy, CVA-67 – A Singular Class

THE KITTY HAWK AND JOHN F. KENNEDY CARRIERS t t t t

USS USS USS USS

THE ENTERPRISE CLASS t t t t t

34

Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) Constellation (CVA-64) America (CVA-66) John F. Kennedy (CVA-67)

40

Propulsion Stores Flight Deck and Island Defensive Armament USS Enterprise (CVAN-65)

BIBLIOGRAPHY

47

INDEX

48

© Osprey Publishing • www.ospreypublishing.com

US COLD WAR AIRCRAFT CARRIERS FORRESTAL, KITTY HAWK AND ENTERPRISE CLASSES INTRODUCTION The Forrestal-class aircraft carriers were the world’s first true supercarriers and served in the United States Navy for the majority of America’s Cold War with the Soviet Union. Emerging on the scene in the early 1950s, the Forrestal-class carriers (and the subsequent Kitty Hawk class) represented a notable departure from prior carrier designs and were the first carriers capable of launching large-scale strategic jet air strikes against land-based targets, while simultaneously retaining enough organic air power to protect the carrier from incoming enemy air strikes. The Forrestal-class supercarriers introduced four powerful steam catapults, four large elevators for moving aircraft quickly between the hangar bay and flight deck, an armored angled deck for improved air operations, and the mirror optics landing aid. The larger flight deck also allowed operation of more aircraft with a wider variety of missions. The Kitty Hawk class, a variation of the initial Forrestal design, featured a reconfigured flight deck that significantly enhanced air operations. Notably, the port elevator was moved aft of the angled deck runway and the starboard island was moved to the rear, with elevators one and two now forward of the island. Defensive guns were also removed and replaced by new surface-to-air missile systems. This new configuration would go on to form the basic flight deck arrangement of not only Enterprise, but also of the future Nimitzand Gerald Ford-class carriers. The Forrestal class and the improved Kitty Hawk class, together with the single-ship-class USS John F. Kennedy and USS Enterprise, the latter the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, constituted a large part of the United States Navy carrier forces throughout the Cold War, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, and the high-tension 1970s and 1980s. Collectively, these carriers made 33 deployments to Vietnam, forming the heart of the heavy carrier strike forces. Indeed, only USS John F. Kennedy did not serve in Vietnam. During these times the United States operated as many as 15 large-deck attack aircraft carriers, each forming the nucleus of a powerful carrier battle group. These carriers provided a strong American presence in foreign waters, responded to countless crises, and ensured that vital sea lanes were kept open to supply Western Europe and NATO in the event of open war with the Soviet Union. Moreover, several of these great carriers continued to serve after the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the end of the Cold War, 4

© Osprey Publishing • www.ospreypublishing.com

supporting air operations in Bosnia and Kosovo during the 1990s, Operations Southern Watch and Desert Fox in Iraq, and operations in Afghanistan and Iraq during the 2000s. This work discusses the development of these Cold War titans and provides an overview of the operational impact each carrier made on the Cold War effort. As a testament to the soundness of its design, the general Forrestal-class carriers weathered 54 years – the first, USS Forrestal (CV-59), was commissioned in October 1955 and the last, USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), an improved Forrestal design, was decommissioned in 2009. USS Enterprise (CVN-65), christened in 1960, was the last of these great Cold War carriers, serving proudly for 51 years until its deactivation in late 2012.

LEFT USS Forrestal (CVA-59) was the world’s first supercarrier. The design was based on the canceled United States (CVA-58), but featured a flight deck island and an angled deck (NavSource).

RIGHT The Kitty Hawk class was an improved Forrestal design and introduced a modified flight deck as well as the first surface-to-air missile batteries (US Navy).

ORIGINS OF THE CARRIER AND THE SUPERCARRIER Although interest in ship-based aviation surfaced in the late 1890s via Samuel  Langley’s proposed “Aerodrome” flying machine, naval aviation in  the United States did not take hold until the early 1910s. On November 14, 1910, Curtiss Aircraft’s chief test pilot Eugene Ely made the first takeoff from a ship, launching a Curtiss Pusher from a modified wooden deck affixed to the scout cruiser USS Birmingham (CL-2), which was anchored in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Two months later, on January 18, 1911, Ely landed his Curtiss aircraft on a 127x32ft wooden platform mounted to the deck of the armored cruiser USS Pennsylvania (CA-4) anchored in San Francisco Bay, marking the first use of a tailhook landing system. Despite the attention raised by Ely’s efforts, the Navy turned its focus to float- and seaplanes, which dominated the fleet until the late 1910s, when developments in British carrier aviation, namely the flush deck HMS Argus, forced the United States to take a closer look at the concept of an aircraft carrier. With the success of aircraft-versus-ship actions in World War I, and the obvious benefits of using aircraft for scouting and gunnery spotting, the US Navy began studying the expanded use of aviation in naval operations. As a result, in 1918 the Navy outlined requirements for an aircraft carrier

© Osprey Publishing • www.ospreypublishing.com

5

TOP The first United States Navy carrier was USS Langley (CV-1), a converted collier. This carrier served as an experimental carrier until the late 1930s, when it was converted into a seaplane carrier (NARA). BOTTOM The US Navy operated seven carriers prior to World War II. One of the most prolific of these carriers was USS Enterprise (CV-6), which survived the war and fought in most of the significant campaigns in the Pacific (NavSource).

6

and, in April 1919, Congress made funds available for the conversion of a slow collier, USS Jupiter (AC-3), into an experimental carrier. Jupiter was renamed Langley in honor of aviation pioneer Samuel Langley and re-designated as CV-1. Conversion work began in March  1920 and the carrier was re-commissioned on  March 20, 1922. On a larger front, in July 1920 the Navy announced a three-year carrier-building program that called for the construction of four dedicated aircraft carriers. This plan was reduced to three carriers a year later, but Congress refused to set aside funding. Langley was a flush deck carrier design displacing 12,700 long tons and featuring a 542ft (165.2m)-long flight deck measuring 65ft 5in (19.9m) abeam. The carrier featured a single catapult (later removed) and one elevator, and could operate roughly 36 aircraft. Underpowered for a carrier, the ship could only muster 15.5kt (17.8mph), meaning it could not effectively operate with the capital ships. Langley was an experimental aircraft carrier and operated as such until it was re-designated as a seaplane tender in 1936. Langley was instrumental in pilot training, experimental work, and tactical development in the mid-1920s. Langley was joined in service by USS Lexington (CV-2) and Saratoga (CV-3) in late 1927, both of which were converted from battlecruiser hulls due to the tonnage limitations imposed by the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty. The two Lexington-class carriers were the largest of their day, boasting a displacement of over 36,000 long tons and carrying up to 80 aircraft on their nearly 900ft flight decks. Both carriers were fast (over 33kt/38mph) and  well protected by armor. The 14,576-long-ton USS Ranger (CV-4) entered service in 1934, but at 769ft (234.4m) overall length was considerably smaller than its two predecessors. Despite being the first aircraft carrier built as a carrier from its conception, Ranger proved too small and slow for Pacific operations and was relegated to antisubmarine duty in the Atlantic during the war, where it flew strikes against North Africa and Norway. Ranger was followed by the larger 19,800-long-ton Yorktown class, which consisted of the class namesake, CV-5, USS Enterprise (CV-6), and USS Hornet (CV-8). Yorktown-class carriers possessed three elevators and could carry as many as 90 aircraft. These carriers were heavily armed with eight single-mount Mk 12 5in/38 caliber guns, four quad 1.1in/75 caliber guns, and 24 .50 caliber machine guns. A final prewar carrier, USS Wasp (CV-7), joined the fleet in 1940. Wasp displaced roughly 14,700 long tons and had a flight deck length (741ft/225.93m) even shorter than that of Ranger. As the 1930s progressed, the US Navy possessed seven aircraft carriers, each with a  dedicated air group of fighters, dive bombers, scouting airc...

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