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The Military Technology

USS Enterprise Takes Its Final Voyage 455

Posted by Soulskill
from the looking-for-nuclear-wessels dept.
westlake writes "The AP is reporting that the world's first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, U.S.S. Enterprise, is to be retired after fifty years of active service — the longest of any warship in U.S. naval history. Its final deployment will take it to the Middle East and last for seven months. The big ship has become notoriously difficult to keep in repair. As an old ship and the only one in its class, breakdowns have become frequent and replacement parts often have to be custom made. Despite its place in naval history and popular culture, Enterprise will meet its end at the scrap yard rather than being preserved at a museum. This is expected to happen in 2015, after the nuclear fuel has been removed."
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USS Enterprise Takes Its Final Voyage

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  • That's odd (Score:5, Interesting)

    by koan (80826) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @02:41PM (#39318933)

    Final voyage to the Middle East for an old hard to maintain ship, one wonders if something will befall the ship while there since it is apparently "expendable".

    • Re:That's odd (Score:4, Insightful)

      by daveschroeder (516195) * on Sunday March 11, 2012 @02:43PM (#39318949)

      ...ahh, you're one of those who buys into the "Enterprise false flag" conspiracy theories? That Enterprise will be sunk, and that Iran will be blamed as an "excuse" to attack it?

      Figured some loons would post on this article, but didn't expect it to be the FIRST post. Bravo.

      • by koan (80826) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @02:49PM (#39318975)

        Wait... there's already a ""Enterprise false flag"" conspiracy theory?

        • by Hognoxious (631665) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @03:01PM (#39319065) Homepage Journal

          It's a false Enterprise false flag conspiracy theory.

          • by hairyfeet (841228)
            So if it happens its just an Enterprise false flag then? remember we've already had feds admit to running a false flag with fast & furious, and considering you have a trifecta of the MIC, the neocons, and AIPAC all pushing for a war with Iran a "remember the Maine" moment must seem pretty inviting right about now. After all they don't have to sink it, just have a nice cheap speedboat attack. Considering the size of the big E an attack like what happened to the Cole probably wouldn't even slow its top sp
        • by Compaqt (1758360)

          Well, there's a "post stuff about ""Enterprise false flag" conspiracy theory" on Slashdot conspiracy".

        • Re:That's odd (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Y-Crate (540566) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @03:08PM (#39319107)

          Wait... there's already a ""Enterprise false flag"" conspiracy theory?

          You're talking about the same type of people who really believe the planes that hit the World Trade Center didn't hit the World Trade Center, or if they hit the World Trade Center they didn't have people on them, or if they had people on them they were controlled by robotic pods. And that this was just to somehow cover the REAL method of destruction which was extensive demolition charges in the buildings that no one ever noticed, because flying a plane into a building somehow wouldn't be enough to destroy it so there needed to be a REAL method of destruction that the planes somehow didn't provide. You're talking about the same people who really believe the people trapped above the impact floors weren't trapped, that the photos of them were falsified and took place on a set because the window sizes don't look right - which had nothing to do with the fact any first year photography or film student could tell you that zooming from 1/4 of a mile away will distort perspective.

          It's a pathological desire to undermine anything that is believed by anyone. It's not healthy distrust, it's a creepy, nonsensical obsession with being the one, unique snowflake who sees things how they "really are".

          Every little bit of information presented to them is disputed due to "inconsistencies" but their basic theories are routinely rewritten over the course of an argument. Their own truth isn't even stable, because they're not stable. Being in opposition to commonly-held beliefs is the only thing that sustains them, and they define themselves and reality solely based on that stance. Nothing else.

          • Re:That's odd (Score:5, Insightful)

            by grumling (94709) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @03:30PM (#39319255) Homepage

            I love their reactions to me presenting them with the following facts about WTC:

            1) It was built on a shoestring budget
            2) In the 1970s.
            3) Using mob-connected contractors
            4) By the (at the time bankrupt) City of New York.
            5) Using an untested "open floorplan" design, with over 90% of the building hollow.
            6) And some of the first recycled steel.

            It's a wonder the damn things stood up at all.

            But no, it's much easier to believe they were built to outlast the pyramids and a bunch of CIA types planted detcord throughout.

            • Asbestos Kills (Score:4, Interesting)

              by drainbramage (588291) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @06:46PM (#39320557)

              The plans called for the steel beams to be wrapped in asbestos.
              By the time construction was in prgogree the use of asbestos was banned.
              Blow on insulation was used.
              Much of the blow on insulation got blowed off, the rest did not have the properties required to portect the structure from a prologed exposure to fire.

              • by styrotech (136124)

                Not to mention that unprotected steel is probably one of the worst performing mainstream construction materials in a fire. Its thermal expansion will badly warp and buckle members before the heat has had much of a chance to make them go soft yet. Even timber usually does much better.

                Of course at 100 storeys, there aren't really any other materials that will work structurally. You just have to use whatever protection you can and hope that you don't get a large prolonged fire fuelled by an awful lot of kerose

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by couchslug (175151)

            "It's a pathological desire to undermine anything that is believed by anyone. It's not healthy distrust, it's a creepy, nonsensical obsession with being the one, unique snowflake who sees things how they "really are"."

            This also explains religion, where one is exalted by special insight.
            Of course both are absurd, with WTC conspiracy theories being far more plausible than Sky Fairies.

          • I think at the core of conspiracy theorism is the need for self-importance, to be a member of an elite group that knows the truth. I mean, who would David Icke be if not for the Illuminati?

          • It's a pathological desire to undermine anything that is believed by anyone. It's not healthy distrust, it's a creepy, nonsensical obsession with being the one, unique snowflake who sees things how they "really are".

            Saw a good program on (PBS?) a few years ago about conspiracy theorists, particularly the wingnuttish ones. One thing that is common amongst them is they tend to have a lot of disorder in their own lives - Marital /familial disorder, financial disorder, emotional disorder - Or a combination

      • by vlm (69642)

        Got it totally wrong... Didn't you ever see episode 19? Off the coast of either Manhattan or Somalia (both hotbeds of Ferengi activity), the Ferengi will take control of the Enterprise until the high tech redneck saves them all...

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acquisition_(Star_Trek:_Enterprise) [wikipedia.org]

      • by lennier (44736) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @04:27PM (#39319611) Homepage

        ...ahh, you're one of those who buys into the "Enterprise false flag" conspiracy theories?

        Bah, everyone knows it's the Reliant which is the real false flag.

        What's actually going to happen is that Admiral Greenert is going to "borrow" the Enterprise so he can take it to Genesis Island to retrieve the body of Admiral Rickover and reunite it with his katra, which is temporarily stored within the mind of ex-President George W Bush.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Given that aircraft carriers are there to carry aircraft which(along with crew) are Very. Much. Not. Cheap. I'd be inclined to check the allocation of those two things for the cruise. If normal, there's a bloody fortune in men and hardware loaded in the thing, even if it is an obsolete tub. If it mysteriously ends up being composed of all the EOL aircraft and enlisted na'er-do-wells, you might want to bring a life jacket...

      That said, though, given the rather low standard of evidence required for question
    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      Unless Janeway is the captain, in which case the ship will be lost in the bermuda triangle and re-appear somewhere in the antarctic.

    • by PPH (736903) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @03:42PM (#39319329)
      If the entire crew is wearing red shirts, I'd worry.
      • Re:That's odd (Score:5, Interesting)

        by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp.Gmail@com> on Sunday March 11, 2012 @04:29PM (#39319625) Homepage Journal

        If the entire crew is wearing red shirts, I'd worry.

        I was in the ordinance section ("G" section) on Big E. Aviation ops staff... ordinance, flight deck ops, fuel, safety, etc... all wear color coded shirts. The fuel guys wear purple shirts. Safety guys white, flight deck guys blue, plane captains brown, etc. Ordinance wore red shirts. So yeah, I was a redshirt on the Enterprise, and lived to tell about it :P

        • by Deadstick (535032)

          I was in the ordinance section

          I'm a little dubious about anyone who can't spell what he works on...

  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Sunday March 11, 2012 @02:41PM (#39318937)

    ...but the USS Constitution [wikipedia.org] is the "world's oldest commissioned warship afloat" [navy.mil], having been launched 21 October 1797.

    As for the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) [navy.mil], some video memories:

    USS Enterprise at Sea [youtube.com]
    USS Enterprise Flight Operations [youtube.com]

    "Fate protects fools, little children, and ships named Enterprise."

    Fair winds and following seas.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 11, 2012 @02:48PM (#39318969)

      They did say the longest in "active service", not by commissioned date.

      • The constitution was in active service for longer than the Enterprise, but it's no longer in active service. It's been a museum for 100 years.

        Very nice ship, if you like tall ships. They don't make them like that any more. A shame that Enterprise won't be turned into a museum as well, but the last thing I really want is another reminder of a movie made by Tom Crazy.... ;)

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by westlake (615356)

          The constitution was in active service for longer than the Enterprise, but it's no longer in active service. It's been a museum for 100 years.

          How much of the an original wooden vessel survives after ten years, thirty years, 100 years is a very interesting question. In the end, you are always looking at a restoration or re-construction.

          Wood rots. Hemp rots. Canvas rots.

          Rumors had circulated for half a century that the Constellation was not what its promoters claimed it to be, and [Dana] Wegner's report confirmed them. Investigators from the Navy discovered that the supposed Revolutionary War-era frigate in Baltimore Harbor was actually a Civil War era sloop that had been built in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1854. All it shared with the frigate built in Baltimore in the eighteenth century was its name. It resembled a Revolutionary War-era frigate because during early renovations, some of the ship's admirers had "restored" the Constellation to appear to be almost 60 years older than it was; for example, they added a second gun deck and made other alterations. For most of its tenure in Baltimore, the Constellation was living a lie.
          [This] distortion of history came at the expense of the Constellation's own very interesting history. It was, for example, the last and largest all sail-powered sloop commissioned by the U.S. Navy, and while it did not engage in a famous sea battle, as did its predecessor, it did work to interdict the slave trade during the mid-1800s.

          Archival Authenticity in a Digital Age [clir.org]

          • by peragrin (659227)

            Actually the constitution still has a bunch of surviving bulkhead pieces from the original. Yes Huge chucks have been replaced, but wood left in water and well cared for will last for decades and decades between replacements.

            it is the well cared for part that is always causing problems.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 11, 2012 @02:53PM (#39319015)

      Isn't the Constitution a myth that got replaced by corporate money?

      Wow. Captcha is 'bribery'

    • by gman003 (1693318)

      However, the USS Constitution hasn't really been a "war"ship since before the Civil War. It's mainly been a training or museum ship. The last time it was used as an active-duty combat vessel (as far as I can tell) was 1855, which would give it a 58-year combat life.

      Which still beats the Enterprise's 51-year service, I guess. Point conceded.

  • by Salgak1 (20136) <salgak@NOSpAm.speakeasy.net> on Sunday March 11, 2012 @02:44PM (#39318951) Homepage
    But how will Kirk and the crew save the Whales and get back to the 23rd Century without that "nuclear wessel"? (evil grin)
  • by Rotworm (649729) * on Sunday March 11, 2012 @02:44PM (#39318955) Homepage Journal

    The big ship has become notoriously difficult to keep in repair.

    For instance, the holodeck safety protocols continually go offline.

    • by owlnation (858981) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @02:52PM (#39319003)
      When did the holodeck ever work as planned? I assume its software was designed by the great, great, great, great, great grandson of the guy who thought IE6 was a good idea.

      Seriously, no-one thought of sandboxing the holodeck? Even after the first 10 times the ship got pwned by it?
      • Re:Safety First! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by lennier (44736) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @04:36PM (#39319661) Homepage

        Seriously, no-one thought of sandboxing the holodeck? Even after the first 10 times the ship got pwned by it?

        In the 1980s, it seemed totally unbelievable that every passing alien ship could drive-by root their holodeck.

        The sad thing is, the older I get and the more I experience real Internet security, the more depressingly probable that scenario seems.

        • In the 1980s, it seemed totally unbelievable that every passing alien ship could drive-by root their holodeck.

          The sad thing is, the older I get and the more I experience real Internet security, the more depressingly probable that scenario seems.

          Very true. People worry today about polymorphic viruses, but wait till they have to deal with holographic viruses.

          Is the program ever complete?

  • by phrackwulf (589741) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @02:47PM (#39318967) Homepage

    That's a lot of hard work and a huge number of sailors who have sheltered and lived in a small floating city. There's a new world coming though. Submersible carriers protecting the Atlantic Confederated States will be something to see once the Chinese realize they need somewhere to put all those new citizens looking for an exciting new life and a daily wage.

  • Gulf to Gulf (Score:4, Interesting)

    by some old guy (674482) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @02:56PM (#39319039)

    The "Big E"'s first combat deployment was in the Gulf of Tonkin, on Yankee Station. As a veteran of TF77 (The Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club) I find it appropriate that her last cruise will another Gulf...the Persian. Too bad there's nothing to compare to Subic Bay in the Mideast for R n' R.

    Bravo Zulu, CVN-65

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @03:09PM (#39319119) Homepage

    Sadly, it has to be scrapped. Removing the reactors requires cutting out decks from the flight deck down to all eight nuclear reactor compartments. The hull gets towed to Bremerton, WA for disposal. The reactors, less fuel, go to a trench in Hanford, Washington. [brookings.edu]

    • by NEDHead (1651195)

      I always thought that I knew that the Enterprise had hatches below each reactor so they could be dumped in the event of a bad problem ("eject warp core", just to save other posters the time). Perhaps I am wrong - wouldn't be the first time...

  • by oracleguy01 (1381327) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @03:11PM (#39319129)

    There currently are petitions to name the next unnamed planned Ford-class carrier (CVN-80) Enterprise. I personally hope CVN-80 will be named Enterprise.

    See: http://ussenterp.epetitions.net/signatures.php?petition_id=1870 [epetitions.net] and http://www.petitiononline.com/CVN80ENT/petition.html [petitiononline.com]

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Sunday March 11, 2012 @03:12PM (#39319135) Homepage Journal
    Aren't most parts for US Navy vessels custom made regardless? I don't recall seeing a section at WalMart for warship parts.
    • Re:Custom made parts (Score:5, Informative)

      by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp.Gmail@com> on Sunday March 11, 2012 @04:50PM (#39319737) Homepage Journal

      Aren't most parts for US Navy vessels custom made regardless? I don't recall seeing a section at WalMart for warship parts.

      Most modern US warships of a class are constructed with modern modular techniques, with tooling at the ready to reproduce standard, common parts. The Nimitz class... like all of our other modern warship classes... was basically built in modular parts in an indoor factory, and then put together piece by piece at the yards. You can look up pics of modern carrier construction where they're using cranes to lift factory made sections into the ship, where they're welded and secured into the vessel. The Enterprise... a unique design... was built the old fashioned way, completely (and uniquely) built in the drydock itself from the keel up. So when a major part on a Nimitz needs replacing, they simply tell Newport News Shipbuilding, where machinists simply make one quickly and economically from an existing productions template. The Enterprise's parts have to very much be custom made.

  • by NEDHead (1651195) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @03:15PM (#39319163)

    Can't they just add a third nacelle and give it to some Admiral to use?

  • by dcherryholmes (1322535) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @03:35PM (#39319287)

    I remember finishing Nuke School in the early nineties, and one of my buddies went surface and got assigned to the Enterprise. It was kind of a good deal for him since he went straight to the shipyard instead of going out to see on a non-hoopty vessel. But we stayed in touch for a while after our assignments and I remember him telling me "dude, I will *never* go out to sea on this thing, I'll jump ship first." Obviously a bit of hyperbole involved, but the ship was showing its age even back then.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The condition of old ships can wax and wane based on the quality of the leadership and money invested. I was on Kitty Hawk during her last few years, and I had heard stories about how bad of condition she was in, however after repeated SRAs (Ship Repair Availability) in Japan, and a lot of investment repairing old systems, she was in much better shape in the end than her sister ships (Connie, America, JFK) and was the last decommissioned despite being the oldest. To be fair, Connie had a great rep and I ne

    • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp.Gmail@com> on Sunday March 11, 2012 @04:53PM (#39319751) Homepage Journal

      I remember finishing Nuke School in the early nineties, and one of my buddies went surface and got assigned to the Enterprise. It was kind of a good deal for him since he went straight to the shipyard instead of going out to see on a non-hoopty vessel. But we stayed in touch for a while after our assignments and I remember him telling me "dude, I will *never* go out to sea on this thing, I'll jump ship first." Obviously a bit of hyperbole involved, but the ship was showing its age even back then.

      Back in the late 80's, we had constant reactor safety drills on Big E. She's got eight old and unique reactors which even then required a lot more TLC than the two more modern reactors on the Nimitz class. I almost got to hearing those drills on the 1MC in my sleep they happened so often. "Emergency in number 3 MMR", etc. They were always drills, of course, but man... they happened a lot.

  • by Goldsmith (561202) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @05:45PM (#39320123)

    As much as a ship like the Enterprise is important to the Navy (and it's hard to find one which is more important to the modern Navy), what is truly amazing about modern carriers are the way the people on them work together.

    If you ever have a chance to cruise on a carrier, go for it. Watching launch and recovery of planes is amazing, particularly at night. People die if someone makes a small mistake, stands in the wrong place, leaves a tool or spare nut lying around, or sets the pressure on an arresting cable just a little off. So they don't do anything wrong. Several hundred people working together flawlessly is really something to see.

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