Retiring the ‘Big E’ Early?

Strategy Page:

The U.S. Navy wants to decommission its oldest aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) three years early, in 2012. Originally, the Enterprise was going to stay in service until the USS Ford entered service in 2015. But changes in aircraft weaponry, namely smart bombs and targeting pods, have reduced the need for eleven carriers. The navy believes ten will get the job done.

Murdoc continues to be skeptical that lowering the number of carriers is the correct move. The proposed gap between the Enterprise and the Ford was mentioned last summer when I wrote:

Murdoc is worried that 11 is not enough. 10 is asking for trouble.

The Strategy Page story also mentions that the Navy is looking at retiring the Nimitz 5+ years early. It’s currently scheduled to serve until 2024.

Traveling at a high rate of speed, USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) moves to position itself in the Adriatic sea in support of NATO Operation Allied Force. Events in the Yugoslavian province of Kosovo have placed ENTERPRISE in a high state of alert pending possible U.S. and other NATO led air strikes over Kosovo. This mission is in direct support of NATO Operation Allied Force. Photographer\'s Name: PH3 Timothy S. Smith Date Shot: 2/21/1999

Traveling at a high rate of speed, USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) moves to position itself in the Adriatic sea in support of NATO Operation Allied Force. Events in the Yugoslavian province of Kosovo have placed ENTERPRISE in a high state of alert pending possible U.S. and other NATO led air strikes over Kosovo. This mission is in direct support of NATO Operation Allied Force. Photographer's Name: PH3 Timothy S. Smith Date Shot: 2/21/1999

Comments

  1. The Big E costs around 500 million a year to operate. Much better to scrap it so we can buy one LCS (without any mission modules). Assuming the price of the LCS actually goes down to 500 million.

    Sometimes I really wonder who is in charge of the Navy why that person has that job….

  2. Hey, if they’re not going to use the thing, can I borrow it for a week or two? There’s no sense letting it rot in storage when I’m perfectly willing to tool around the Gulf of Mexico with it. We could drum up some capital selling it as a resort. Plus, all would be welcome (sans hippies and jihadis). There’s no need to vacation on some island in the Caribbean… this thing IS an island!

    I’ve already thought of the catchphrase. “Semper FUN!”

  3. I suggest a fitting end to a great carrier:

    Strip everything of value off the Enterprise

    THEN

    Load the ship with 1,000 Nuclear bombs (heck most are out of date and are going to be decomissioned anyway)

    THEN,

    With a skeleton crew sail it off the coast of Somalia. Aim the carrier directly a the center of the coast line, helo the crew off after they’ve positioned it’s bow toward the coast, ran the engines up to “flank speed” and the timers on the nukes.

    AND,

    Do it on July 4th!

  4. I think its a wise move. I know you Murdoc loves everything military, but sometimes its wise to reduce costs, specially during times like these.

  5. Vitor: sometimes its wise to reduce costs, specially during times like these.

    Agreed. I just don’t think lowering AGAIN the number of carriers in the fleet is wise. At all.

  6. 10 supercarriers still is infinite times the amount of supercarriers that other nations have. 1 carry for every sea, plus 3 extra ones for where trouble is.

  7. 10 supercarriers still is infinite times the amount of supercarriers that other nations have.

    Correct. If other nations had any super carriers, then we’d need carriers to oppose their carrier groups. Say, 20+ of our own or so. Since no one else has super carriers, we’ve got the luxury of using ours mostly for mobile airfields. So we only need about 12 or so.

    1 carry for every sea, plus 3 extra ones for where trouble is.

    So if Iraq flares up big time while Afghanistan continues to heat up and the Norks decide to make all sorts of noise and China decides to take advantage of the fact that our little navy is spread all over the freaking planet, where do you send the “3 extra ones”?

    Oh, and a huge part of the justification for fewer carriers is the increased effectiveness due to JDAMs. What about when the Chinese take out half the GPS constellation?

    Just whip up a few extra carriers quick?

  8. At least we can rest assured that there’s no chance in hell that enemy subs could get close to our carriers because we’ve ramped up ASW so much over the past decade.

  9. Enterprise is a proud name , from w.w.-2 when there was only one carrier in the whole pacific it became known as…ENTERPRISE V.S. JAPAN …I only hope cvn-65 Enterprise gets to become a museum rather than sold for scrap , which is what happened to cv-6 Enterprise of w.w.-2…I also hope there will be another carrier Enterprise…..LIVE LONG AND PROSPER!

  10. I am also aware that the U.S.S. AMERICA CV-66 WAS SUNK as a target ship for navy weapons fire…are there any pics available?

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