The World's Largest Aircraft Carrier
Nimitz Class, with a full load displacement of 97,000 tons, is the world's largest aircraft carrier. The first carrier in the class was deployed in May 1975, while the tenth and last ship, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), was commissioned in January 2009. Each carrier of the Nimitz Class is designed to operate for about 50 years, requiring just one mid-life overhaul. The 332.8m-long super carrier features a 4.5-acre flight deck capable of carrying more than 60 aircraft. Each ship towers 20 stories above the water and can accommodate 3,000 to 3,200 ship's company, 1,500 air wing and 500 other crew. Nimitz Class is powered by two nuclear reactors providing a maximum speed of more than 30kt. The Sea Sparrow missiles, Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS) and Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAMs) mounted aboard the vessel defend against potential threats. The ships in Nimitz Class will be replaced by the Gerald R. Ford Class (CVN 78) next generation aircraft carriers from 2015.