Fifty-one years ago today the United States 35th President, John F Kennedy, was assassinated at Dealy Plaza, in Dallas, Texas. We all know the story and the various conspiracy theories that have been written about ad nauseam over the past half century so this post is not about that.
Rather it is about one of the legacies of the JFK name, the USS John F Kennedy, the only ship of her class (a variant of the Kitty Hawk class of aircraft carrier) and the last conventionally powered carrier built for the United States Navy.
Although it was retired in 2007 after nearly 40 years of service in the United States Navy, the Kennedy was a very impressive ship. For those who like the details it measures 1,052 feet long, has a beam of 130 feet, and draws 37 feet of water. The flight deck is 1,046 feet by 252 feet.
The JFK displaces 81,430 tons at full load and her compliment is 155 officers, 2,775 enlisted (ship’s company), and 2,160 enlisted and 320 officers (embarked air wing).
it’s top speed is 32 knots, and her cruising speed is 20 knots. The operational range at 30 knots is 4,000 miles while the maximum cruising range is 12,000 miles.
USS JFK is equipped with 4 aircraft elevators and features 4 steam-powered catapults and 4 arresting wires. The carrier was capable of launching and recovering aircraft simultaneously and could embark 80+ aircraft, depending on mission requirements.
Aircraft on board included 56 F/A-18 hornet strike fighters, 6 S-3B Viking ASW aircraft, 4 EA-6B Prowler offensive electronic warfare aircraft, 4 E-2C Hawkeye electronic early warning aircraft, 2 ES-3A Shadow electronic warfare (SIGINT) aircraft, 4 SH-60F Seahawk ASW helicopters, and 2 HH-60H Seahawk combat search and rescue aircraft.
Its armaments included two Mk 29 Sea Sparrow Guided Missile Launch Systems, two RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) systems, and two Mk 15 Phalanx 20mm CIWS (Close In Weapon System.)
During it’s service it was stationed some of the time in the Mediterranean area.
If you have never seen one of these babies up close and personal and wanted to get an idea of just how big and impressive they are have a look at the aeriel photograph below, taken as the JFK berthed at the island of Malta.
Compared to the houses, cars and people you can see in the shot I’m not sure the word ‘big’ is big enough to describe it.
I mean I wouldn’t want to mess with it. Would you?