Staff Writer (Updated: 10/28/2014):
Propulsion for the USS Carl Vinson is provided by her twin Westinghouse-brand A4W nuclear-powered reactors in addition to her 4 x steam turbines. These feed the four large propeller shafts at a reported 260,000 shaft horsepower allowing for speeds of up to 30 knots. She maintains a displacement of about 97,000 tons.
Like other Nimitz-class carriers in this group, the Vinson needs thousands of sailors to operate to full efficiency. This is further augmented by the 2,480-strong air group that supports her flying wing of about 90 aircraft and includes helicopters. Her offensive punch is supplemented by her defensive capabilities that include 2 x Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missile launchers and 2 x RIM rolling airframe missile launchers. Additionally, 3 x 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWS) provide short-range anti-missile/anti-aircraft capability - that is, should anything get past her aircraft and fleet defenses.
The Carl Vinson was first ordered in 1974, laid down in 1975 and launched in 1980. She was officially commissioned in 1982 and makes her home in Norfolk, Virginia. She has incurred a variety of comical nicknames throughout her years of service and these include "Starship Vinson", "Chuckie V", "the USS Chuck Wagon" and the "Carl Prison". As of this writing, the Carl Vinson is in active service.