These four ships were started at Newport News and the New York Dockyard in 1952-55 and accepted for service in 1955-59. These were the first major aircraft carriers since the Midwinter 1945-47, and incorporated many of the lessons learned from the Korean War. They were partly resuming the studies conducted with the huge USS United States (1949), stillborn project, but incorporating an island of command. They were much smaller in size, the Senate having specified a tonnage of less than 60,000 tons.
Nevertheless it had to integrate four catapults capable of launching the new generation of Navy jets, much more powerful explosive models, and had to store twice as much fuel reserves for their fleet than the Midway class. They were initially equipped with 76 mm AA double hulls, which were partly removed because their platforms were troublesome foam generators in bad weather. Finally they were all eliminated with the addition of two Sea Sparrow launchers in the years 1972-77.
USS Forrestal in trouble in the Viet-Nam suffering a fierce fire, one of the worst catastrophies in cold war US nava history
These buildings had a busy life especially in Viet-nâm, the Forrestal remains infamous for a tragedy that occurred in June 1967 when during operations, the ports-aircraft out of ammunition was delivered old bombs model “Comp-B “Unsecured and with overwhelming heat a short circuit caused the departure of a rocket Zuni embedded on the baskets of Phantom II attack, which hit a full A4 Skyhawk about to be catapulted. The latter had two bombs “Comp-B” under his wings, and his fire (his pilot managed to escape), caused the explosion of one of these bombs. The devastating fire spread to other bombers of this model, and the series of nine devastating explosions that followed spread through the hangars of the lower deck.
Author’s illustration of the USS Forrestal
The poorly trained crew for this type of disaster “forgotten” since the last war had all the trouble in the world to overcome, so the means available were insufficient. Finally at the price of thousands of liters of seawater the building escaped destruction, but the fire killed a total of 132 dead and 62 burned. There remains a trauma in the US Navy, so much so that all aircraft carriers were then equipped with far more firefighting means and training of sailors in this area was extremely advanced.
Note: This article is only a starter. A much more detailed one, with the carreer of each ship will follow.
Displacement: 61 163t, 78509t PC.
Dimensions: 316.7 x 76.2 x 10.3 m
Propulsion: 4 HP turbines, 8 Babcock boilers, 4 propellers, 280,000 hp. and 33 knots max.
Crew: 2764 + 1912 (Off and Seamen, Air Staff)
On-board electronics: SPS-8, radar 12. SPS58 (Sea Sparrow)
Weaponry: 8×1 of 76 mm AA, air group of 80-90 aircraft.