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Chapter 19 Vessel Types and Characteristics
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Naval Orientation - Military manual for administrative purposes
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Ship Categories - 12966_323
SHIP SPEED The  speed  of  a  ship  is  stated  in  knots, a  knot  being  1  nautical  mile  per  hour.  When a  ship  travels  at  20  nautical  miles  an  hour, its  speed  is  said  to  be  20  knots  (but  never 20  knots  per  hour).  A  statute  (or  land)  mile is  5,280  feet.  A  nautical  mile  is  about  6,080 feet,  or  roughly  2,000  yards.  A  ship  traveling at  20  knots  is,  therefore,  traveling  at  the rate  of  about  23  miles  per  hour. SHIP CLASS Ships are said to be of a particular class. Do not  confuse  this  characteristic  with  type,  which is shown by a ship’s designation. The  Forrestal, for  example,  was  the  first  of  several  aircraft carriers  of  the  same  general  advanced  type  and configuration  to  be  completed.  The  next  three carriers completed after the Forrestal were of the same type and class. Later multipurpose aircraft carriers  (CVs)  or  multipurpose  aircraft  carriers (nuclear propulsion) (CVNs) of other types were different classes (such as the Kitty Hawk class and the  Nimitz  class). SHIP  CATEGORIES Ships of the U.S. Navy are divided into four categories:  combatant  ships,  auxiliary  ships, combatant  craft,  and  support  craft.  Tables  19-1 and  19-2  show  the  classifications  of  naval  ships and  craft. COMBATANT  SHIPS Combatant  ships,  depending  on  size  and  type, may  have  missions  other  than  simply  ‘‘slugg- ing   it   out”   with   an   enemy   ship.   Combatant ships  are  of  two  types:  warships  and  other combatants. WARSHIPS Most  warships  are  built  primarily  to  attack  an enemy with gunfire, missiles, or other weapons. There  are  exceptions,  however,  which  you  will  see as  we  go  along.  The  warship  category  includes  the following: 1.  Aircraft  carriers 2.  Surface  combatants a.  Battleships b.  Cruisers c.   Destroyers d.  Frigates 3.  Submarines Aircraft Carriers Aircraft  carriers  are  of  three  kinds: multipurpose  aircraft  carriers  (CVs),  multipurpose aircraft carriers (nuclear propulsion) (CVNs), and training  carriers  (AVTs). The job of the CV or CVN is to carry, launch, retrieve, and handle combat aircraft quickly and effectively. The aircraft carrier can approach the enemy at high speed, launch planes for the attack and  recover  them,  and  retire  before  its  position can  be  determined.  The  aircraft  carrier  is  an excellent long-range offensive weapon that is the center  of  the  modern  naval  task  force  or  task group. Figure 19-1 shows a Nimitz-class carrier. Carriers built before 1950 displace from 33,000 to 51,000 tons. Those built in the 1950s (Forrestal- class)   displace   60,000   tons.   The   Nimitz-class nuclear-powered  CVNs  displace  about  93,400  tons (combat load). You can see that as new carriers are  built,  they  become  heavier  and,  in  general, larger. The  wartime  complement  (including  the  CAG, or carrier air group) of each new carrier is about 6,000,  including  officers  and  enlisted  personnel- an increase of from 500 to 1,000 persons over the older  ships.  The  CVs  operate  from  70  to  100 planes,  depending  on  the  size  and  type  of  aircraft. Flight decks are roughly 1,000 feet long and from 200   to   250   feet   wide.   In   addition   to   planes, armament  consists  of  various  types  of  guided missiles. Carriers have angled flight decks and steam catapults  and  are  able  to  launch  and  recover planes simultaneously. They have a large hangar deck for plane stowage, four deck-edge elevators to rapidly move aircraft between the hangar and flight decks, extensive repair shops, storerooms, and  fast-fueling  equipment.  They  are  noted  for their  speed  (all  carriers  can  proceed  at  over  30 knots),  endurance,  plane-carrying  capacity,  and maintenance capability. They are also noted for their sea-keeping ability (ability to successfully and safely  execute  a  mission  at  sea  despite  adverse environmental   factors). 19-2

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