USS George Washington (CVN-73)
Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier
There have been four ships in United States Navy service to have been named after the founding father, George Washington.
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The USS George Washington (CVN-73) is a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in service with the United States Navy. She represents the sixth such vessel of her type in the Nimitz-class of "supercarriers" and is named after the first president of the United States, George Washington. A handful of deployments have had her show the strength and might of the US Navy in oceans and seas around the world, becoming an integral part of the offense and defense of the United States "show of force" in their stand for liberty in the Global War on Terror.
A full complement of 5,680 personnel operate the various systems and subsystems of the George Washington. This includes a powerful air arm of up to 2,480 managing the air wing of fighters, strike aircraft, specialist aircraft, transports and helicopters. Like her sister ships, power is derived from her twin Westinghouse brand A4W nuclear reactors that power her 4 x steam turbines to 4 x shafts producing 260,000 shaft horsepower. A top speed of 30 knots is listed.
To compliment her offensive armament, the George Washington is fitted with several defensive systems in the case an enemy aircraft should make it past her umbrella of fighters and fleet support ships. This includes 2 x Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missile launchers, 2 x RIM-166 RAM (Rolling Airframe Missiles) launchers and 3 x 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWS). Electronic warfare is handled by way of an SLQ-25A(V)4 Countermeasures system and torpedo countermeasures as needed. Radars include a bevy of systems like the AN/SPS-48E 3-D air search, AN/SPQ-9B target acquisition and twin AN/SPN-46 air traffic control radars.
The USS George Washington was first ordered in 1982 and laid down in 1986. She was launched in 1990 and officially commissioned in 1992. Interestingly enough, she makes her homeport at Yokosuka Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan and is affectionately known by the nickname of "GW". She is currently in active service with the United States Navy.
The USS George Washington is the only American carrier which makes its home port outside of the United States.
In November of 2010, the USS George Washington was called to waters near South Korea to undertake a joint military naval exercise with the South, this in response to an artillery shelling of a South Korean island by the North which left two South Korean marines and two civilians dead.