Air carriers are not available to all "sea" powers. The construction of not even the newest of the floating airfields requires spending hundreds of millions of dollars. And such as an aircraft carrier "Ronald Reagan" - several billion. Only economically developed countries can allow such expenditures: Japan, Spain, Italy, India, Great Britain, France, China, Russia. But they also have ships of this class - a few.
US aircraft carriers
The list of powers with heavy aircraft carriers in the arsenal of the navy is dominated by the United States of America. The total number of such ships they have - more than twenty combat units. Of this number, half of the aircraft carriers - with a displacement of up to 100 tons and a nuclear propulsion system. One of them is the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan. Its onboard serial number is CVN-76.
The designation of such a huge floating airfield is the conquest of the dominant position both at sea and in airspace. The aircraft carrier can stop near the coast of any state in neutral waters and carry out the reception and landing of military aircraft of a certain class without agreement with the authorities of the countries of the region. This can greatly expand the capabilities of the grouping of naval and land forces because of the substantial support for defensive and offensive operations from the air.
The aircraft carrier "Ronald Reagan" belongs to the class "Nimitz". The name comes from the first ship in the series with the serial number CVN-68, named after the admiral of the Pacific Fleet of the United States during the Second World War (Chester William Nimitz). The abbreviation (CVN) is deciphered as a multipurpose aircraft carrying ship with a nuclear power (propulsion) installation. In total, 10 combat units were produced in such floating airfields. CVN-76 - the ninth in a row, it was launched in 2001.
Carriers of this type have replaced similar ships of the Enterprise series. They planned to release at least five units, but as a result, only CVN-65, commissioned in 1961, was launched onto the water. He finished his combat duty in 2012. It was the first aircraft carrier with a nuclear installation on board. The fuel in its reactor was enough for 12 years of operation without a reboot. The construction of the largest warship (343 m) was too expensive for those times, and the project had to be closed.
The nuclear carrier "Ronald Reagan" - "Peace by force"
The next series of ships was decided to be called the names of the most famous figures in the United States. The first was Nimitz, followed by two more ships: Dwight Eisenhower, Karl Vinson. Then there were improvements and a new subtype of the series: Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, John Stennis, Harry Truman. CVN-76 - the aircraft carrier "Ronald Reagan" (photo above), was named after the fortieth president of the United States. His motto was "Peace is by force." Each of the ships at the time of launch was in its class the most perfect floating aerodrome. Newer in its class is only the aircraft carrier "George Bush" (CVN-77), put into operation in 2009. This ship was the final in a series of "Nimitz" type.
Continuation of the design idea was already launched, but not tested yet aircraft carrier of a new generation "Gerald R. Ford" (CVN-78). This is an improved sample with a new type of nuclear installation and various additions. The price of it, according to various sources, is 13 billion dollars. According to the US military doctrine , at the moment there must be at least 11 heavy aircraft carriers in the fleet. The construction of the next ship of this series is continuing.
Aircraft carrier "Ronald Reagan": characteristics
All the ships of the series were built according to a standard design and differ only in details: radar systems, air wing hangars, internal decks. The CVN-70, for example, has additional systems and equipment for training the consistency of ship operations in formations and formations. The basic characteristics of aircraft carriers of the Nimitz type: 333 m in length, 77 m in width of the flight deck, displacement - 97 thousand tons, sediment - 11 meters.
From its predecessors CVN-76 features an improved superstructure with a large view of the runway. The development of radar facilities and new types of electronic protection and detection obliged designers to mount this part of the ship with a reserve of possibilities for fixing new systems that have not even been invented yet, but may appear until the end of the design service of the ship (50 years).
Also on this aircraft carrier there are not four brake cables, but three. The designers removed one, but at the expense of the saved space, the remaining ones were substantially improved to improve the catchment system and the damping of the effort when landing heavier aircraft. The number of steam catapults (four) has not changed.
The stern of the ship below the waterline is projected forward and has a drop-like appearance. Due to this, a ship with a wide deck (at CVN-76 its upper dimension is almost twice as large as at the water level) provides stability at sea ripples, sharp turns. In addition, this shape of the keel allows you to develop a high speed and provides better stability of the bow of the ship at the time of takeoff of the aircraft from its edge.
The aircraft carrier "Ronald Reagan" is, by design, a floating military airfield. Despite the fact that the CVN-76 is a combat ship, there are so many weapons in its arsenal. Its main power is concentrated on based aircraft and helicopters. In addition, the aircraft carrier of this type, as a rule, is the nucleus of the aircraft carrier of the shock group (AOG). One such trip does not leave the ship. He is somewhat vulnerable. Nearby there is usually a reliable escort team: a missile cruiser, several destroyers, a multipurpose submarine with an atomic installation, high-speed transports of escort and services, tankers.
Nevertheless, anti-aircraft artillery (four six-barreled guns) with a caliber of 20 mm and three short-range missile systems are available to repel the threat from a possible breakthrough of enemy aircraft. To protect against enemy torpedoes, which are in the wake, there is a mine-torpedo armament (two three-tube torpedo tubes) with a caliber of 324 mm.
The main weapon of CVN-76 is its aircraft. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan may have up to 90 aircraft and helicopters on board, depending on the purposes and tasks at the same time. Given its own radar systems, as well as the capabilities of scouts, one AUU can control the territory to 600 km.
At the same time, any launch of anti-ship missiles that could damage the grouping will be fixed at a considerable distance. The target will be captured and destroyed by means of destruction from the air or escort ships. The danger to the aircraft carrier in the coordinated operation of all the components of AOG is minimal. There is an opinion that no power with its military potential at the moment can not withstand a full-fledged grouping with an aircraft carrier of the "Nimitz" type at the head.
The standard equipment of the wing of 78 aircraft consists of 56 fighters, 36 of them with the possibility of bombing (F / A-18). There are 6 helicopters (2 rescue and 4 anti-submarine). Electronic warfare is provided by 8 aircraft (4 EW and long-range radar detection). Defense against enemy submarines is provided by 8 anti-submarine aircraft.
On the suspension, the air wing can carry missiles: anti-ship, tactical, supersonic anti-radar, air-to-air. And bombs: planning, guided aviation, cassette, with laser guidance. Aircraft can have guidance modules and additional electronic warfare systems on board.
Autonomy and staff
The US Navy carrier, Ronald Reagan, can take on board provisions for the crew and staff for 3 months of continuous work at sea. The useful area of all its decks is 1.8 hectares. The ship has more than 4,000 rooms, there are eleven warehouses, three churches, two shops, a hairdresser, a gym, and mail. The kitchen works almost round the clock and closes for one hour - for cleaning. The usual money on the ship is not in motion. Everyone at landing receives a special card for payments for additional goods and services.
One refueling fuel in two reactors will last for 20 years of battery life. Their capacity is 260 thousand liters. from. (Or 191 MW). Four turbines can provide a speed of up to 56 km / h (30 knots). Operated by a floating airfield staff of 3,200 people, the air group - 2,800 people. On board the ship you can load up to 11 million liters of aviation fuel. At the same time, up to 450 people can work on the flight deck. In order not to get confused when doing the work, they are dressed in a special form of different colors: the reds are responsible for the arming of the aircraft, the green ones serve the brake systems, the yellow ones regulate the movement, the white ones monitor the overall safety of the work.
Purpose and application
In addition to military exercises and exercises, the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan participated in rescue operations. So, in 2010, in an emergency on the American cruise liner Carnival Splendor with 4,500 people on board, CVN-76 provided them with food and basic necessities.
In 2011, he participated in the elimination of the effects of earthquakes in Japan. Helicopters from the aircraft carrier delivered medicines, equipment and products to the disaster area.
In 2006, CVN-76 participated in the settlement of the conflict in the Persian Gulf. One of the fighters of his wing during the night landing crashed into the deck, caught fire and was lost. The pilot managed to catapult at the incident and survived.
According to the latest information from open sources, the US Navy aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan is in good technical condition. At the end of 2015, he arrived at one of the military bases of the Japanese Navy. There he must replace on duty the nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington, which, as planned, should return to its base of registration.