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USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) - United States (1982)

Detailing the development and operational history of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier.

 Entry last updated on 7/19/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70)  
Picture of USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier

The USS Carl Vinson has recently seen action in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism.

The USS Carl Vinson is one of ten Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers operated by the United States Navy with the latest in the series becoming the USS Ronald Reagan and the USS George W. Bush. The Nimitz-class is further broken down into subclasses that are the Nimitz subclass, Theodore Roosevelt subclass and the Ronald Reagan subclass. The Vinson is a part of the Nimitz subclass.

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.

Picture of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier
Picture of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier

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.

February 2017 - The United States Navy revealed that USS Carl Vinson has been conducting patrols in the disputed South China Sea, drawing the ire of China.

April 2017 - USS Carl Vinson has been dispatched to the Korean Peninsula region in response to repeated missile launch tests by North Korea.

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70)

Service Year: 1982
Type: Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier
National Origin: United States
Ship Class: Nimitz-class
Number-in-Class: 10

Complement, Dimensions and Displacements

Complement (Crew): 5,680
Length: 1092 feet (332.84 meters)
Beam (Width): 252 feet (76.81 meters)
Draught (Height): 41 feet (12.50 meters)

Surface Displacement: 97,000 tons

Installed Power and Base Performance

Engine(s): 2 x Westinghouse A4W nuclear reactors feeding 4 x steam turbines developing 260,000 horsepower to 4 x Shafts.

Surface Speed: 30 knots (35 mph)
Operational Range: Essentially Unlimited

Armament / Air Wing

2 x Sea Sparrow Mk 57 Mod 3 surface-to-air missile launchers
2 x RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile short-range surface-to-air missile launchers
3 x 20mm Phalanx CIWS

Aircraft: Up to 90 aircraft of various types.

Global Operators

United States

Ships-in-Class / Group (10)

USS Nimitz (CVN-69); 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 H.W. Bush (CVN-77)

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) Images