The Nimitz-class aircraft carriers are the largest warships in the world. USS Nimitz (CVN 68) was the first to undergo its initial refueling during a 33-month Refueling Complex Overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia, in 1998.

Nimitz, the lead ship of the class, was commissioned in 1975; Bush, the tenth and last of the class, will be built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems and will enter service in 2008. Bush will be the first transition ship to a new class of carriers (CVNX) to start construction in 2007 and will incorporate new technologies including a new multi-function radar system, volume search radar and open architecture information network, and a significantly reduced crew requirement.

General characteristics

  • Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding Company, Newport News, Virginia
  • Power Plant: Two A4W reactors, four shafts
  • Length: 333 meters (1092 feet) overall
  • Flight Deck Width: 76.8 meters (252 feet)
  • Beam: 41 meters (134 feet)
  • Displacement: 98,500 tons full load, somewhat less than big cruise ships
  • Speed: 30+ knots -- in June 1999, the USN publicly released these trial speeds:
    • Nimitz: 31.5 knots
    • Theodore Roosevelt: 31.3 knots
    • Harry S Truman: 30.9 knots
  • Aircraft: 85
    • Intended to operate fighter aircraft including the F/A-18, bombers and other military aircraft for many missions including self defense, land attack and maritime strike.
  • Cost: about US$4.5 billion each
  • Crew: Ship's Company: 3,200 - Air Wing: 2,480
  • Armament:
  • Date Deployed: May 3, 1975 (USS Nimitz)