ANSWERS: 19
  • The current Nimitz Class Carriers can go 30+ knots (34.5+ miles per hour).
  • Jervinator has that right. Those suckers have 4 nuclear reactors, and can outrun ANY destroyer ever built. But they try not to cave in the hull by doing so (they're extremely heavy). I know one ex-sailor who was on a ship escorting an early nuke carrier, who was present when they decided to test out how fast it could go to far parts of the world without damage. It passed his ship like they were tied. I believe him-read the specs some time.
  • The "conventional" carriers (CV, as opposed to CVN) are capable of pacing almost any non-nuclear ship, though their acceleration is glacial. The top speed listed in most sources is a little understated, but also sensitive information. As for the nuclear carriers, let's just say that they're ridiculously fast and capable of kicking up an ungawdly roostertail. Comparing them to, say, a destroyer, is like comparing a Corvette to a Yugo; MUCH larger, and capable of leaving you at the light wondering how the heck it moved so fast or picked up speed that quickly.
  • Utilizing the HARTH technology (Hydro Lance Corporation), aircraft carriers may now be designed and constructed with cruising speeds approaching 150 mph. More importantly, the new technology allows those speeds to be maintained in high-force sea-states of (Force 7-9) without pitch, roll or heave (no sea-sickness) assuring far greater safey for landing aircraft. In fact, the differencial landing speed between the aircraft and deck can be closely matched, or perhaps specified for only 30 mph. The web site for Hydro Lance is hydrolance.net
  • Today's new technology is tomorrow's ship. 35 mph is slow by today design capabilities, and current aircraft carriers can only maintain those speeds in relatively calm waters. Further, the heave and roll is dangerous to landing aircraft. HARTH technology (hydrolance.net) is now available which when designed and built as an aircraft carrier, would allow vessel speeds of over 150 mph in high-force sea-states. Further, there would be no roll, pitch, heave or sea-sickness and provides far greater safety for the crew and the landing of aircraft. Aircraft could land with matched speed or specify a 30 mph differencial making the approach to the stable deck controlled, gentle and safer. The low drag of the HARTH hulls substancially reduces fuel and power consumption.
  • I've seen the nimitz class in the persian gulf, think it was the Theodore Roosevelt, very impressive with all the airplanes starting at night. It looked fast, and our radar indicated a 30 knots +++ speed and yes emphasise the plus. http://home.hetnet.nl/~skipflip
  • > The current Nimitz Class Carriers can go 30+ knots I have a buddy in the Navy who says they can go WAY faster than that--over 60!!!
  • HungryGuy is right. I've got several friends that were on a few of the Nimitz carriers before they were bought by the Navy and they've all said that during their sea trials, the carriers were doing in excess of 75 knots....and were then thrown into full reverse to try and break the driveshaft. It just flexed...causing the whole ship to jump.
  • The practical speed limit in knots for a displacement-type hull is approximately equal to the square-root of the hull length at the waterline (LWL) times 1.34 The Enterprise is the longest warship ever built. You'll find some variation among different sources, but most of them list her length overall (LOA) as 1,123 feet, whereas ALL of the Nimitz class are usually listed as 1,092 feet. The Enterprise and the Nimitz class have the same length at the waterline (LWL), 1,040 feet. If the hulls may be considered displacement hulls, this puts the limit of both the Enterprise and Nimitz class warships at the square root of 1,040 (32.249) times 1.34= 43.2 knots. The "threshold speed" is generally considered to occur at a speed of about 1.2 times the square root of the ship's LWL, which would mean that the Enterprise and Nimitz class ships are not likely to exceed a speed of 38.7 knots. Naval architects have long considered the problem of achieving significantly higher ship speeds, without increasing length or decreasing beam, as the equivalent of "breaking the sound barrier" in aeronautical technology. In the nineteenth century, Froude first accurately measured and defined the phenomenon by which increased length is required for higher ship speeds because of the prohibitive drag rise which occurs at a threshold speed corresponding to a length Froude Number of 0.3. The length Froude Number is defined by the relationship 0.298 times the speed length ratio .sqroot..sub.L.sup.V, where V is the speed of the ship in knots and L is the waterline length of the ship in feet. Thus a Froude number of 0.298 equates to a speed length ratio of 1.0. Today, the maximum practical speed of displacement ships is about 32 to 35 knots. This can be achieved in a relatively small ship by making it long, narrow and light but also costly. To some extent it has been possible to avoid increased length above Froude numbers of 0.4, but this has been achieved in small craft design using semi-planing hulls for ships up to 120 feet long and 200 tons and improved propulsion units. In a larger ship, such as a fast ocean liner, the greater length allows a greater size and volume to be carried at the same speed which is, however, lower relative to its Froude number (i.e., 38 knots for an aircraft carrier of 1,000+ feet waterline length is only a Froude number of 0.34). On the negative side, the larger size of these ships requires significantly larger quantities of propulsion power. There are major problems in delivering this power efficiently through conventional propellers due to cavitation problems.
  • I was a an engineer at kings bay in ga on a ssbn. i also worked on a cvn. i cant say much but, the public specs are way, way under stated.
  • 34knotts
  • As someone ignorant of such things, but appreciative of the size of an aircraft carrier, I would be tempted to say "As fast as it wants" (but I would never be so lowbrow as to do so ;-) )
  • Many US Naval Ship top speeds are kept highly classified.
  • Due to hydrodynamics, (for the most part) the longer a ship is, the faster it can go, provding it has the powerplant to drive it. The theoretical maximum speed of any hull shape is called its HULL SPEED, and it can be closely approximated (within 5%) by the equation: HV=1.34x(LWL)^0.5 (where LWL is the length at the waterline measured in feet, and HV is the HullSpeed measured in Knots) In English: the max hull speed is approximately 1.34 times the squareroot of the length at the waterline. A ship with ideal lines and a maximum powerplant (such as US CVNs) can eek out as much as an additional 5% or so. Being some of the longest ships in the world, aircraft carriers have the highest hull velocity of any ship afloat, with the exception of supertankers -- which don't have anywhere near enough HP to get them even 1/4 of the way to their Hull Velocity. In point of fact, USN Supercarriers can outrun their entire escort and most torpedoes. In typical military fashion, the top speed of these ships is TOP SECRET. However, the length at the waterline (not to mention the beam (width), keel depth, displacement, and horsepower) is public information, from which anyone can calculate the top speed with reasonable accuracy. The LWL of Nimitz Class CVNs is 1040 feet. You do the math. I wouldn't want to get flagged for revealing top secrets of the US military.
  • Duplicate answer, please flag for removal - Sorry. I was on the (oil fired boiler) U.S.S. Coral Sea (CV-41) in 1976, when we did seas trials after dry dock/refurbishment at Long Beach Naval Shipyard. At sea, the Captain announced to the crew, in congratulating the Engineering Department (so I do not believe it to be classified - nor were we told so) that we had made "in excess of 42 knots", which is over 48 miles per hour. We were not fully loaded, the aircraft wings and their crew were not aboard, all we carried was a hundred or so personal vehicles and family members of some of the crew, as we went to Alameda, CA - our home port. I have to believe that a modern carrier can better that, with nuclear power - one might well imagine that the newer ships are heavier, and with aircraft and a full crew aboard, heavier. over 80 aircraft weighing an average of 60,00 pound each, might alter that figure. Two other interesting notes - on another carrier, the U.S.S. Midway (CV-43) stationed in Japan, we uploaded a full compliment of missiles and ordinance. We were told by the fleet commander that the value of those items exceeded the combined value of both the ship itself and the aircraft aboard. That's a bunch of firepower - it took several days to bring it aboard. Also, we were docked next to the U.S.S. Enterprise, a nuclear carrier. Crew from a sister ship (part of the Enterprise's support group) told me, and others, that when the Enterprise did their sea trials, that the "rooster tail" (actually a swell in the sea from the output of the screws at the rear of the ship, at high speed, reached a height greater that the hangar deck level, where the aircraft are stored - that's about 30 or 40 feet off the water. Of course, that was anecdotal- but, how fast would we imagine a modern carrier might be propelled, under ideal conditions? These are the only references I have to go by - the real speeds are highly classified. I'd bet that they can better 50 knots - a nautical engineer might actually be able to calculate that based on displacement, hull structure and net horsepower to the screws, sea conditions, etc.
  • I was on the (oil fired boiler) U.S.S. Coral Sea (CV-41) in 1976, when we did seas trials after dry dock/refurbishment at Long Beach Naval Shipyard. At sea, the Captain announced to the crew, in congratulating the Engineering Department (so I do not believe it to be classified - nor were we told so) that we had made "in excess of 42 knots", which is over 48 miles per hour. We were not fully loaded, the aircraft wings and their crew were not aboard, all we carried was a hundred or so personal vehicles and family members of some of the crew, as we went to Alameda, CA - our home port. I have to believe that a modern carrier can better that, with nuclear power - one might well imagine that the newer ships are heavier, and with aircraft and a full crew aboard, heavier. over 80 aircraft weighing an average of 60,00 pound each, might alter that figure. Two other interesting notes - on another carrier, the U.S.S. Midway (CV-43) stationed in Japan, we uploaded a full compliment of missiles and ordinance. We were told by the fleet commander that the value of those items exceeded the combined value of both the ship itself and the aircraft aboard. That's a bunch of firepower - it took several days to bring it aboard. Also, we were docked next to the U.S.S. Enterprise, a nuclear carrier. Crew from a sister ship (part of the Enterprise's support group) told me, and others, that when the Enterprise did their sea trials, that the "rooster tail" (actually a swell in the sea from the output of the screws at the rear of the ship, at high speed, reached a height greater that the hangar deck level, where the aircraft are stored - that's about 30 or 40 feet off the water. Of course, that was anecdotal- but, how fast would we imagine a modern carrier might be propelled, under ideal conditions? These are the only references I have to go by - the real speeds are highly classified. I'd bet that they can better 50 knots - a nautical engineer might actually be able to calculate that based on displacement, hull structure and net horsepower to the screws, sea conditions, etc.
  • I was told this from someone who spent a tour on the Carl Vincent. I asked how fast the Carrier would go. His answer just thrilled me... "Well, when you go full speed and also strap several F-18's to the stern of the ship, hook up fuel lines and go full afterburner, the Carrier is mighty fast." COOL IDEA!!!! No wonder our taxes and fuel costs are so high....
  • A conventional super carrier, Kitty Hawk class that some indicated 50 plus knots... I say emphasis is on the plus. Picture the Empire State building on it's side passing traffic on the interstate.
  • That's classified. I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you.

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