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USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier (2003)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 9/17/2012

The USS Ronald Reagan is the ninth Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in service with the United States Navy.

The USS Ronald Reagan is the ninth vessel in the ten-strong Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers beginning with the initial USS Nimitz (CVN-68). The vessels are a powerful family of warship, providing a myriad of combat options that also also as a regional deterrent by its capability to move into volatile areas at a moments notice. Her mighty air wing is her primary strength as much as her crew is her lifeblood and the thousands that keep her afloat represent the current power of the United States Navy since the pivotal days of World War 2 in the Pacific Theater of War.

The USS Ronald Reagan is complemented by 5,680 crewmembers with 2,480 of that number representing her air wing. Power is derived from twin A4W type Westinghouse brand nuclear reactors and 4 x steam turbines each spinning 4 x shaft propellers through 260,000 total shaft horsepower. A top speed of over 30 knots can be achieved in ideal conditions and range is essentially unlimited thanks to her use of nuclear power. The Reagan displaces at 97,000 tons.

Looking passed her inherent offensive capabilities, the Reagan (like most carriers) is offered some minor defensive implements in the case she is directly attacked by an enemy that has made it through her defensive network of support ships and her airwing. This includes 2 x Sea Sparrow Mk 29 surface-to-air missile systems (navalized versions of their air-to-air missile counterparts) and 2 x RIM-116 RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) launchers. Her airwing is made up of some 90 aircraft of various types including helicopters for Search & Rescue (SAR) and Anti-Submarine Warfare. Her fixed-wing complement is largely made up of F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighter.

The USS Ronald Reagan was ordered in 1994 and laid down in 1998, with construction undertaken by Northrop Grumman Newport News and Dry Dock Company in New Port, Virginia. She was launched in 2001 and officially commissioned in 2003. She is named after former US President Ronald Reagan, who never himself served in the United States Navy, but served as Commander in Chief during is time in office. The vessel cost American tax payers $4.5 billion dollars by the time of her ultimate completion.

The Ronald Reagan has already served in both the Atlantic and Pacific waters.

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Specifications for the
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76)
Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier

Country of Origin: United States
Initial Year of Service: 2003
Operators: United States

Crew: 5,680

Length: 1092 ft (332.84 m)
Beam: 252 ft (76.81 m)
Draught: 41 ft (12.50 m)
Displacement: 97,000 tons

Machinery: 2 x Westinghouse A4W nuclear reactors with 4 x steam turbines driving 4 x shafts at 260,000 shaft horsepower.

Surface Speed: 30 kts (35 mph)
Range: Essentially Unlimited

2 x Sea Sparrow Mk 29 surface-to-air missile launchers
2 x RIM-116 RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) surface-to-air short-ranged missile launcher

Air Arm: Up to 90 aircraft of various types including:

Boeing F/A-18 Hornet/Super Hornet fleet defense fighter / strike fighter.
Grumman EA-6B Prowler EWA / Strike aircraft
Northrop Grumman E-2C "Hawkeye 2000" AEW reconnaissance aircraft.
Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk anti-ship/anti-submarine helicopters.
Sikorsky HH-60 Seahawk transport helicopters
Grumman C-2A Greyhound transport aircraft

Ship Class: Nimitz-class
Number-in-Class: 10
Ships-in-Class: USS Nimitz (CVN-68); USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69); USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70); USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71); USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72); USS George Washington (CVN-73); USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74); USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75); USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76); USS George W. Bush (CVN-77)