F-35C Integration into the Fleet

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By Rear Adm. Roy Kelley
Director, Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Fleet Integration Office

As the first director for the Navy’s F-35C Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Fleet Integration Office, I have enjoyed the opportunities and challenges of bringing fifth-generation strike-fighter capabilities to the fleet. As this highly advanced weapons system matures, I am convinced the F-35C will be a cornerstone platform that plays a crucial role in mission success for Carrier Air Wings (CVW), Carrier Strike Groups (CSG) and numbered fleets. The F-35C will be a game-changer for the Navy.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 20, 2016) An F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, flies above the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). VX-23 is conducting its third and final developmental test (DT-III) phase aboard George Washington in the Atlantic Ocean. The F-35C is expected to be fleet operational in 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Wyatt L. Anthony)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 20, 2016) An F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, flies above the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Wyatt L. Anthony)

The F-35C Lightning II will introduce next generation strike-fighter aircraft capabilities to the Navy CVW , enabling the CSG and numbered fleets to effectively engage and survive a wide range of rapidly evolving threats, both air and surface, in contested airspace.

The unique capabilities of the F-35C, coupled with the proven capabilities and capacity of current United States Navy fighter aircraft, significantly enhance a CSG’s battle space awareness, lethality and survivability. In supporting a principle Department of Defense investment objective of balancing modernization and readiness, the Navy remains committed to selecting the right procurement ramp for F-35C to balance strike-fighter inventory management with the cost and time required to field advanced capabilities. The Navy will maintain and sustain much of its current force in order to guarantee mission success against the threats of today, as well as the high-end threats of the future.

Near-peer adversaries are advancing technologically and economically, resulting in proliferation of highly capable Integrated Air Defense Systems, high performance aircraft and information operations to include:

  • Long-range air surveillance radars and airborne early warning aircraft
  • Long-range surface-to-air missiles
  • Highly maneuverable, low observable adversary aircraft
  • Jamming and anti-jamming operations against communication, radar and Global Positioning System satellites

Left unchecked, this threat proliferation will constrain the CSG’s ability to project power. As technologies continue to advance, the future air wing will continue to adapt as it always has, particularly to increase its capacity to contribute to the sea control mission, conducting both kinetic and non-kinetic operations. The F-35C will be the CSG’s first choice to penetrate and operate in these contested environments, providing a day-one strike capability. Integrated with other fleet assets, the F-35C’s tactical agility and strategic flexibility are critical to maintain a long-term decisive tactical advantage.

F-35C Lightning II carrier variants, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, prepare to take off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alora R. Blosch)
F-35C Lightning II carrier variants, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, prepare to take off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alora R. Blosch)

While the day one capability provided allows the F-35C to perform at the “tip of the spear,” its interoperability within the CVW and unique ability to support and augment already fielded legacy platforms is essential to sustaining the Navy’s combat lethality now and in the future. In the near term, legacy aircraft will continue to comprise the majority of the CVW. The CVW’s  inherent integrated capability design will enable the distribution of information collected by F-35Cs to enhance the effectiveness and survivability of all sea, air and land platforms throughout the battle space. The mix of both legacy and next generation aircraft operating from carrier flight decks provides the necessary complementary capability and capacity to pace the rapidly evolving threat…a formula which guarantees the CVW of the future remains lethal, survivable and able to accomplish the full spectrum of CSG and numbered fleet mission sets while providing an effective and affordable balance across the strike fighter inventory.

Four F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighters fly in formation over Naval Air Station Lemoore.
LEMOORE, Calif. (Jan. 25, 2017) Four F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighters fly in formation over Naval Air Station Lemoore. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary Eshleman/Released)

The Navy expects to deploy the first operational F-35C squadron in 2021. Underpinning this deployment is the service declaration of Initial Operating Capability, which is based on providing a validated and verified combat capable aircraft prior to first deployment. The means to validate that capability is the successful demonstration of operational test in the 3F software configuration. The 3F configured F-35C provides warfighting capability to accomplish primary Navy missions to include: Attack, Close Air Support and Suppression and Destruction of Enemy Air Defense as well as Offensive and Defensive Counter Air.

Follow on modernization capabilities planned for the F-35C program will ensure that a CSG is able to consistently meet and defeat expected advanced threats now and well into the future. Follow on modernization will be implemented in order to continue to advance F-35C capability and improve lethality and survivability across all mission sets and enable operations in areas of increasingly sophisticated threats, leveraging intelligence assessment of the future battlespace.

For the CVW of the future to out-pace the rapidly evolving threat, it is critically important to ensure that F-35C capabilities are integrated and interoperable with existing ships and aircraft within the CSG and the numbered fleets.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 20, 2016) Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Daniel Booth, from Manchester, New Hampshire, directs an F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). VX-23 is conducting its third and final developmental test (DT-III) phase aboard George Washington in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Clemente A. Lynch)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 20, 2016) Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Daniel Booth, from Manchester, New Hampshire, directs an F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Clemente A. Lynch)

Weapons integration, radar improvements, electronic warfare capabilities, interoperability, and real-time information sharing must continue to progress in order to guarantee mission success in the future high-end threat environment. The full integration of these capabilities within the CSG / CVW  team, combined with the F-35C’s ability to distribute this information across multiple platforms within the numbered fleets, is the cornerstone of how the future Navy will fight and win.

Recognizing Naval Aviation’s capability of today and the need for increased capability tomorrow, the Navy remains committed to pursuing the right procurement ramp for F-35C to balance inventory management, affordability and force modernization. A detailed asset allocation study determined that the most efficient and effective composition of strike fighters for the future CVW  is two squadrons of F-35C and two of F/A-18E/F. With 10 CVWs , the Navy’s objective is to attain 20 F-35C squadrons, two per CVW  by the early-2030s.  This strategy calls for the continued procurement of low rate initial production aircraft and the enhanced capabilities of Block 3F software, and eventually Block 4’s advanced capabilities. The Navy’s plan for full rate production optimizes the force for the introduction of next generation capabilities to the Navy in the near term, while allowing the fleet to build the community and work integration solutions.

A Navy CSG requires the speed, endurance, flexibility and ability to operate in hostile environments autonomously.

Four F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighters fly in formation over Naval Air Station Lemoore.
LEMOORE, Calif. (Jan. 25, 2017) Four F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighters fly in formation over Naval Air Station Lemoore. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary Eshleman/Released)

The F-35C’s stealth characteristics, long-range combat identification and ability to penetrate threat envelopes, while fusing multiple information sources into a coherent picture, will enhance the role that the CSG and numbered fleets must play in support of our national interests. Ultimately, with the F-35C integrated and interoperable with the CVW, the CSG of the future will continue to be lethal, survivable and able to accomplish the entire spectrum of mission sets to include day one response to high end threats. The Navy remains dedicated to a capability focused approach as we evolve the CVW  and the CSG. The F-35C’s capability will provide decision superiority to the nation’s warfighters to ensure that if deterrence fails, the United States can conduct decisive combat operations to defeat any adversary.

I look forward to the day in the not-too-distant future when Lightning II is a common participant in training and deployed operations for the Navy. The F-35C will undoubtedly play a critical role in the integrated maritime force that we will depend on to execute Navy’s mission for decades to come.

Check out the F-35C in action below!


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F-35C Integration into the Fleet

USS Harry S. Truman Returns to Norfolk following Early Completion of Maintenance and Sea Trials

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By Rear Adm. Bruce Lindsey
Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

This week, Naval Station Norfolk welcomed USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) back to the waterfront, early. Truman returned Tuesday, two days ahead of schedule from her Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) after a very successful five days of underway evolutions during Sea Trials.

NORFOLK (JULY 25, 2017) Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), handle mooring lines from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), as Harry S. Truman pulls into Naval Station Norfolk after completing sea trials (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jessica Paulauskas/Released)
NORFOLK (JULY 25, 2017) Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), handle mooring lines from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), as Harry S. Truman pulls into Naval Station Norfolk after completing sea trials (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jessica Paulauskas/Released)
NORFOLK (July 25, 2017) The superstructures of the aircraft carriers USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), right, and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) are close together during Harry S. Truman's transit into port. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anthony Flynn/Released)
NORFOLK (July 25, 2017) The superstructures of the aircraft carriers USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), right, and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) are close together during Harry S. Truman’s transit into port. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anthony Flynn/Released)

For Truman’s crew and her shipyard partners, the conclusion of this maintenance period signifies the completion of 10 months of teambuilding, hard work and coordination between workforces, ultimately making the ship better today than it was when it first arrived in the yards back in September 2016.

A new pier, hundreds of additional craftsmen and efforts in modernization of shipyard equipment at NNSY have vastly contributed to the efficiency of work performed by shipyard personnel. Investments made by NNSY in more technologically advanced machinery have improved the shipyard’s productivity factor by reducing numerous job completion times from days to mere hours. For example, new, fully automated pipe-bending and gasket-cutting machines have greatly cut-down repair timelines and helped to contribute to Truman’s early completion of her scheduled maintenance.

Completing PIA early, however, was just the first step in preparing Truman for future operations. Sea Trials tested the ability of the crew and ship to operate at sea and both performed beyond expectations. During the five-day underway period, the CVN-75 team conducted more than 300 hours of shipboard evolutions including: small boat recoveries, testing Aqueous Film-Forming Foam sprinkler systems, making high speed turns, running its steam catapults, and holding a simulated replenishment-at-sea alongside USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13).

ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 21, 2017) An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, assigned to the "Red Hawks" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 2 prepares to land on the flight deck aboard aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) as the ship transits out to sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Rebekah Watkins/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 21, 2017) An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, assigned to the “Red Hawks” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 2 prepares to land on the flight deck aboard aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) as the ship transits out to sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Rebekah Watkins/Released)

These accomplishments are of staggering importance, not just for the crew aboard Truman, but for the Navy as a whole. It is yet another success story in our implementation of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP). Having the maintenance availabilities of our carriers completed early ensures our forces get the maximum training repetitions and sets (Reps and Sets) necessary to enable our carrier strike groups to be fully combat ready to deploy on time.

Truman’s early completion of its maintenance availability and its successful performance during sea trials means that this capital warship is one step closer to doing what carriers do: conducting prompt and sustained combat operations from the sea. This isn’t just a win for Truman. It’s a win for our Navy and a win for our country. It means our carrier force, and our fleet as a whole, is more ready to deliver sea control and combat striking power anywhere, anytime our nation requires us to do so.

When you look at our waterfront today, you can’t help but see the present and future represented by our carrier fleet. For the present, look at USS Abraham Lincoln, that spent the last four years completing her midlife refueling and is now back in the fleet and training for deployment. USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has been the workhorse of the waterfront since returning, Dec. 31, 2016, from her combat deployment, keeping our carrier pilots current by launching and recovering thousands of aircraft throughout her seven-month sustainment phase. The future can be seen in the form of USS Gerald R. Ford, our newest and most technologically advanced carrier as well as USS George Washington, which is ready to begin her midlife refueling this August.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (June 23, 2017) An F/A-18F Super Hornet attached to the "Blacklions" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213 is fully loaded with 10 GBU-32 1,000 pound bombs aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Hank Gettys/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA (June 23, 2017) An F/A-18F Super Hornet attached to the “Blacklions” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213 is fully loaded with 10 GBU-32 1,000 pound bombs aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Hank Gettys/Released)

With USS George H. W. Bush wrapping up an extremely successful combat deployment that supported the liberation of Mosul, our carriers continue to demonstrate the maneuverability, adaptability and strength of the United States Navy. And with Truman’s early return to the waterfront, our Navy will continue to protect America’s prosperity and security far from our Nation’s shorelines and face the future with the same pride and determination that we have displayed since Congress approved the construction of our first six frigates.


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USS Harry S. Truman Returns to Norfolk following Early Completion of Maintenance and Sea Trials

Your Navy Operating Forward – Poland, Spain, China

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Right now your Navy is 100 percent on watch around the globe helping to preserve the American way of life. Whether it be operating and training off the coast of Spain or forward deployed to the Arabian Gulf, the flexibility and presence provided by our U.S. naval forces provides national leaders with great options for protecting and maintaining our national security and interests around the world. The imagery below highlights the Navy’s ability to provide those options by operating forward.


PACIFIC OCEAN: An EA-18G Growler assigned to the “Gauntlets” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136 receives fuel from an F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the “Kestrels” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 137 as part of an air power demonstration above the aircreaft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during a tiger cruise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Granito/Released)

ROTA, Spain: Equipment Operator Constructionman Calan DeRue, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1, drives a backhoe onto a C-130 Hercules aircraft at Naval Station Rota, Spain. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brannon Deugan/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the “Black Lions” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213, fully loaded with 10 GBU-32 1,000 pound bombs, prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matt Matlage/Released)

CORAL SEA: Sailors aboard the Henry J. Kaiser-class replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) receive cargo from the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) during a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Gavin Shields/Released)

SOUTH CHINA SEA: Members of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 perform a fast-rope exercise from an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the “Golden Falcons” of Helicopter Combat Squadron (HSC) 12 onto the flight deck of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Izumo-class helicopter destroyer JS Izumo (DDH 183). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan Burke/Released)

USTKA, Poland: A landing craft, air cushion lands on the beach in Ustka, Poland, during an amphibious assault landing demonstration as part of exercise BALTOPS 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist America A. Henry/Released)

ZHANJIANG, China: Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) man the rails as the ship prepares to depart Zhanjiang, China. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Byron C. Linder/Released)

SUBIC BAY, Philippines: The Spearhead-class joint high speed vessel USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3) transits Subic Bay behind the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Byron C. Linder/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the “Tridents” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9 carries supplies to the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) during a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mario Coto/Released)

Tell us which photo best shows YOUR Navy Operating Forward !


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Your Navy Operating Forward – Poland, Spain, China

Ships Named Enterprise: For More Than 240 Years, They’ve Boldly Served America’s Navy

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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Lockwood
Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

During the Dec. 1, 2012 inactivation ceremony of CVN-65, the eighth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name Enterprise, then-Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the legacy of “Big E” would continue, officially naming the third Gerald R. Ford-class carrier, CVN-80, USS Enterprise. As the Navy formally decommissioned its immediate predecessor Feb. 3, 2017, it’s appropriate to look back at each of the mighty ships that have born the name; whose greatness was earned by the integrity, accountability, initiative and toughness of the Sailors who have served in them.

As we say fair winds to CVN-65, and welcome in the new era of CVN-80, the ninth ship to carry the name Enterprise, let’s take a look back at the making of the legacy.

Enterprise I (1775-1777)

The first Enterprise was originally a British ship named George. Photo courtesy of USS Enterprise CVN 65's official website.
The first Enterprise was originally a British ship named George. Photo courtesy of USS Enterprise CVN 65’s official website.

The first Enterprise originally belonged to the British and was named George. She cruised on Lake Champlain and supplied English posts in Canada. On May 18, 1775, Col. Benedict Arnold captured the ship, renamed her Enterprise and outfitted her with guns and thereafter defended American supply routes in New England from British attacks. The ship was one of many that embarked more than 1,000 troops in August that year as part of an expedition against three Canadian cities: St. Johns, Montreal and Quebec. British reinforcements caused the Americans to retreat. Regrouping in October, Arnold’s soldiers disrupted the British invasion into New York. Enterprise was one of only five ships to survive the two-day battle. The following year, the British would be defeated at Saratoga, New York, which helped bring about a French alliance with the colonists, and with them, their powerful navy. Enterprise, however, wasn’t around for the Battle of Saratoga. The sloop had been run aground on July 7, 1777, during the evacuation of Ticonderoga and was burned to prevent its capture.

Enterprise II (1776-1777)

The second Enterprise was an 8-gun schooner. Photo courtesy of USS Enterprise CVN 65's official website.
The second Enterprise was an 8-gun schooner. Photo courtesy of USS Enterprise CVN 65’s official website.

The second Enterprise, a schooner, was a successful letter-of-marque before she was purchased Dec. 20, 1776, for the Continental Navy. Commanded by Capt. Joseph Campbell, Enterprise operated principally in Chesapeake Bay. She convoyed transports, carried out reconnaissance and guarded the shores against foraging raids by the British. Only meager records of her service have been found; they indicate she was apparently returned to the Maryland Council of Safety before the end of February 1777.

Enterprise III (1799-1823)

The third USS Enterprise was a 12-gun schooner.
The third USS Enterprise was a 12-gun schooner.

The third Enterprise was the schooner used to capture the pirate ships during the Barbary Wars. At her time of service, anti-piracy operations were a major part of the Navy’s mission. American shipping vessels were frequently attacked in the Caribbean, and the Navy was tasked with fighting them. It was her commanding officer, Lt. Stephen Decatur Jr., who pulled off the daring expedition to burn the frigate Philadelphia in the harbor of Tripoli in 1804. She would be refitted as a brig during the War of 1812. On Sept. 5, 1813, Enterprise chased down the British brig Boxer in a close-combat battle that took the lives of both ships’ commanding officers, Lt. William Burrows and Capt. Samuel Blyth. From 1815 to 1823, Enterprise suppressed smugglers, pirates and slavers until July 9, 1823, the ship became stranded and broke up on Little Curacao Island in the West Indies, without any loss of her crew.

Enterprise IV (1831-1844)

The fourth Enterprise was a 10-gun schooner. Photo courtesy of USS Enterprise CVN 65's official website.
The fourth Enterprise was a 10-gun schooner. Photo courtesy of USS Enterprise CVN 65’s official website.

The fourth Enterprise was a schooner built by the New York Navy Yard where it launched on Oct. 26, 1831. Its original complement was nine officers and 63 men and, for most of its life, it protected U.S. shipping around the world. After spending time guarding American interests near Brazil, the schooner spent time in the Far East (Africa, India and East Indies). She was back cruising South America until March 1839 when she left Valparaiso, Chile, to round the Horn, make a port call at Rio de Janeiro, and then head north to Philadelphia, where she was inactivated on July 12. Recommissioned a few months later, Enterprise sailed from New York back to South America on March 16, 1840. After four years, she returned to the Boston Navy Yard, decommissioned June 24, 1844, and sold four months later.

Enterprise V (1877-1909)

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CAPTION: The fifth USS Enterprise anchored off New York City during the early 1890s. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

The fifth Enterprise was a bark-rigged screw sloop-of-war. She was built at the Portsmouth Naval Yard in Maine by John W. Griffith, launched June 13, 1874, and commissioned March 16, 1877. Decommissioned and recommissioned several times, she primarily surveyed oceans, littoral areas and river founts around the world, including the Amazon and Madeira Rivers. When not on hydrographic survey cruises, she spent time sailing the waters of Europe, the Mediterranean and east coast of Africa. From 1891 to 1892, Enterprise was the platform on which cadets at the Naval Academy trained and practiced. Then, she was lent to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for duty as a maritime school ship for 17 years. Returned to the Navy on May 4, 1909, Enterprise was sold five months later.

Enterprise VI (1916-1919)

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The sixth Enterprise was a 66-foot motor patrol craft purchased by the Navy on Dec. 6, 1916. Photo courtesy of USS Enterprise CVN 65’s official website.

The sixth Enterprise (No. 790), a 66-foot motorboat, was purchased by the Navy on Dec. 6, 1916. Placed with the 2nd Naval District on Sept. 25, 1917, the noncommissioned motorboat performed harbor tug duties at Newport, Rhode Island, before going to New Bedford, Massachusetts, Dec. 11, 1917. The motorboat was transferred to the Bureau of Fisheries Aug. 2, 1919.

Enterprise VII (1938-1947)

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USS Enterprise (C 6), was the most decorated ship in U.S. Navy history when she was decommissioned in 1946.

Once again a proper warship, this time a Yorktown-class carrier, Enterprise (CV 6) earned her nickname – Big E. In World War II, she earned 20 battle stars, the most for any U.S. warship in World War II, for the crucial roles she played in numerous battles, including Midway, Guadalcanal, Leyte Gulf and the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo. During the Battle of Guadalcanal, Enterprise took three direct hits, killing 74 and wounding 95 crew members. It was the Enterprise that took on the Hornet’s aircraft after that carrier was abandoned during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Island Oct. 26, 1942. By the end of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on Nov. 15, Enterprise had shared in sinking 16 ships and damaging eight more. After an overhaul for much of 1943, Enterprise was back in the fight when, on Nov. 26, 1943, the Big E introduced carrier-based night fighter operations in the Pacific. The Big E suffered the last of her damage on May 14, 1945, after a kamikaze plane struck the ship near her forward elevator, killing 14 and wounding 34 men. The most decorated ship in U.S. naval history entered the New York Naval Shipyard on Jan. 18, 1946, for inactivation and was decommissioned Feb. 17, 1947. She was sold July 1, 1958.

Enterprise VIII (1961-2017)

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Artist’s rendition of the eighth USS Enterprise

In 1954, Congress authorized the construction of the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the eighth U.S. ship to bear the name Enterprise. The giant ship was to be powered by eight nuclear reactors, two for each of its four propeller shafts. This was a daring undertaking, for never before had two nuclear reactors ever been harnessed together. As such, when the engineers first started planning the ship’s propulsion system, they were uncertain how it would work, or even if it would work according to their theories. Three years and nine months after construction began, Enterprise (CVN 65) was ready to present to the world as “The First, The Finest” super carrier, and the construction was proven capable. Her long career, consisting of 25 deployments and 51 years of service to the United States, has been well documented and this space can’t begin to list her accomplishments, but those can be found here at the Naval History and Heritage Command’s website and in libraries across the country. The ship was inactivated Dec. 1, 2012; and decommissioned Feb. 3, 2017, following nuclear defueling, dismantlement and recycling.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Feb. 3, 2017) Capt. Todd A. Beltz, commanding officer, USS Enterprise (CVN 65), and Command Master Chief Dwayne Huff pose with the commissioning pennant during the Enterprise decommissioning ceremony. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Preston/Released)
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Feb. 3, 2017) Capt. Todd A. Beltz, commanding officer, USS Enterprise (CVN 65), and Command Master Chief Dwayne Huff pose with the commissioning pennant during the Enterprise decommissioning ceremony. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Preston/Released)

In the 241 years that have followed the signing of the Declaration of Independence, America’s Navy has had a ship in the fleet called Enterprise for all but 103. It’ll be about ten more years before we have another, and that one is expected to serve her nation for more than another half a century.


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Ships Named Enterprise: For More Than 240 Years, They’ve Boldly Served America’s Navy