Even though Jan 1st is almost a week away and many of us have wished each other on the previous post, JQ and I would like to personally wish you a Happy New Year 2012 and may this year bring good tidings to you! It's a brand new year and we look forward in sharing more about the geeky hobbies we all share :)
And no surprise, this post has something to do with fresh starts...
Recently, the US Navy was reported to have rescued Iranians from pirates in the Gulf. Also, the Iranian hostages are believed to have been captured months ago and were forced to aid the pirates in their operations. This could be some good news in U.S./Iranian relations, which has been really rocky for the past few years.
|The Iranian vessel that was captured prior to the rescue (Reuters).|
What interested me was the carrier that was the command ship for the rescue operation: the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74), named after a Mississippi Senator who was described by Ronald Reagan as an advocate for peace. Unlike JQ, I am not much of a navy geek, but I did some research (aka wikipedia)...and found some really cool facts! This carrier had screen time in blockbusters, from The Sum of All Fears (disabled by Russian bombers) and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (mistakenly referred to as the USS Theodore Roosevelt, CVN-71, a fact which might take a real navy fan to spot in that movie). I bet it must have cost a lot to "rent" an aircraft carrier for filming.
|Michael Bay capturing a catapult launch on the USS John C. Stennis (Seibertron.com)|
However, the cool doesn't stop there. The USS John C. Stennis is a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, so large (100,000 tons of displacement) that it is assigned the class "Supercarrier", and the U.S. is the only nation to have them in active duty right now (11 in total). JQ wrote on the Nimitz-class supercarrier in an earlier post on his GHQ miniature.
For a sense of scope on aircraft carriers, the only non-U.S. nuclear carrier is France's Charles de Gaulle, which size is equivalent to the USS Midway at the end of WWII. But more supercarriers will be coming from elsewhere in the future, with France and U.K. already in the process of constructing new supercarriers, along with India considering plans to build one of their own.
|The planned HMS Queen Elizabeth, already in construction and note the use of F-35 Lightnings (militaryphotos.net)|
What really strikes me is how much awe the U.S. carrier fleets inspire just with their presence and mega-size. To me at least, their presences gives me the "don't screw with us" jives from the US Navy, and this is not even considering the other vessels of the USN (like nuclear subs), and even other branches of the military! Just as a comparison, John Scotus of The Tree of Mamre blog juxtaposed the new Chinese carrier against the USN's 11 carrier groups to demonstrate the size and power of the USN. To some it may not seem to be a fair comparison of a freshly commissioned ship against an established powerhouse, but it does show the decades that stand between China's navy and the USN.
|A modification of the famous "I Want You for the US Army" poster of WWI and WWII fame by James Montgomery Flagg (cardboardposters.com)|
And here's where the fresh beginnings of this post come in: the Nimitz-class carriers are already being succeeded by the Gerald R. Ford-class carriers, which boast larger displacements and much newer technologies (such as reduced radar profiles and electromagnetic aircraft launch systems). It is planned that each Gerald R. Ford carrier will be built in 5 year spans, which might result in 10 carriers constructed by 2040. The industrial might of the U.S. is certainly one to be awed.
|An artist's impression of the Gerald R. Ford-class (navytimes.com)|
Would you like to be part of history? Apparently, the current USS Enterprise (CVN-65) will be decommissioned soon and there is already an online petition for the next Gerald R. Ford class carrier to be christened the USS Enterprise. So if you'd like to boast to your kids that the Enterprise was named with your input, simply go to this link and sign the petition!
And here's a parting thought: what would you prefer to be named after you? (A) An Aircraft Carrier (B) Nuclear Sub? I guess I may have made the choice too easy...