The nuclear powered aircraft carrier serves as the backbone for modern U.S. military operations around the globe.  A Nimitz class carrier is a multi-faceted warship, able to take on multiple active roles during deployment.  Such roles include, but are not limited to, deployment of aircraft to the front lines, mine laying, anti-submarine operations, and reconnaissance missions.  In addition these carriers can serve in humanitarian and peace keeping efforts anywhere in the world.  Due to their power source they have nearly unlimited range and require an engine overhaul only near their service midlife.  The Nimitz class carriers are impressive in size and versatility and because of these characteristics they have also made their mark on American culture.  The project about this class of aircraft carriers will describe the antecedents, invention, and cultural impact that they have had on American society. In addition, there will be a classic style documentary produced to be used as an educational tool for the class.

There is only one other instance of a nuclear powered aircraft carrier in Naval history, the USS Enterprise. However, she was the only ship of her class ever made. The Nimitz was the first full class of nuclear powered aircraft carriers produced. They differ from the older Enterprise due to engine improvements and a larger overall design.

As with the majority of the U.S. Navy’s fleet the Nimitz class carriers were manufactured by Newport News Shipbuilding Company. The class began shortly after the Vietnam War ended to serve as vessels tailored to the demands of the Cold War. Since then their role has been made more flexible to meet the changing demands of current military operations.

One of the unintended consequences of the development of the Nimitz class aircraft carriers was their popularity in the public eye. They make regular cameos in movies, TV shows, and books produced in the U.S. As they represent the only carriers in service, any depiction of a modern aircraft carrier is showing a Nimitz class carrier.

The documentary which will accompany this project will be a traditional style in order to reflect the seriousness of the subject material. It will include photos, narration, and interviews as well as some appropriate music. It will include basic information about the class as well as some specific examples of individual ship history.

The website will be broken down into some simple categories. There will be a page which will describe the physical characteristics of the class, including minor variations based on subclass differences. Another page will be devoted entirely to the documentary. A page will be added for the proposal. Other pages will be added as needed according to the common themes the group finds important.

The reason that this group chose this example of technology to do a research paper about was because military technology was a common interest between each of the partners. Without that interest the project would be much harder to complete. In addition, it was discussed among three or four other examples of technology, but it was the first which was approved.




Department of the Navy, Annual Report to Congress on Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for FY 2013 (April 2012),


This long-term report extensively lists the requirements of Naval vessels in the present and outlines potential strengths and shortfalls of the Nimitz class. It also sheds light on the financial history and outlook of these Naval programs.




This manual briefly summarizes maintenance and damage control protocols for operations aboard Naval vessels, shedding light on what measures have been taken in the safety of military personnel on Nimitz-class carriers since its inception.


Department of the Navy, OPNAV INSTRUCTION 3000.13C: PERSONNEL TEMPO OF OPERATIONS PROGRAM. Washington D.C. 2007.


This report lists objectives for quarterly PERSTEMPO reports submitted to the Chief of Naval Operations, and reflects the high regard for the standards of living experienced by military personnel aboard Nimitz-class carriers and other various Naval vessels.





Cohen, Eliot A. “Defending America in the Twenty-first Century.” Foreign Affairs 79, no. 6 (November 2000): 40. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed February 13, 2013). 3668227.pdf


This is an extensive analysis of the nature of funding and organization of American military programs over several decades. Among these are statistics for Nimitz-class carriers and their role in American military endeavors. The author’s critique is also included.


English, Carey W. “A rushed cruise.” U.S. News & World Report 123, no. 15 (October 20, 1997): 42. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed February 12, 2013).


This is a brief news report documenting the U.S.S. Nimitz being sent to the Persian Gulf as the U.S. military’s patrol over Iraqi airspace was escalated in the fall of 1997.


Hone, Thomas. American & British aircraft carrier development, 1919-1941. Annapolis, Md: Naval Institute Press, 1999.


Extensively explores the antecedents of the Nimitz class and the technologies that lead up to its development in the 1970s. May delve into problems faced by the Navy previous to that of the Nimitz’s inception.




Parrish, Douglas K.Olsen, Cara H.Thomas, Richard J. “Aircraft Carrier Personnel Mishap and Injury Rages during Deployment.” Military Medicine 170, no. 5 (May 2005): 387-394. Military & Government Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed February 13, 2013).


Documents the level of safety endured by personnel aboard carriers and vessels and illustrates potential dangers and the level of safety involved in Naval operations.

Polmar, Norman. The Naval Institute guide to the ships and aircraft of the U.S. fleet. Annapolis, Md: Naval Institute, 2005.


Contains extensive documentation as to the vehicles employed by the U.S. Navy at the time of writing. This includes Nimitz-class carriers and specifications of capabilities and capacities. May be compared to other sources to reflect upon improvements and upgrades made since the class’s development in the 1970s.

Schank, Smith, Alkire, Arena, Birkler, Chiesa, Keating, Schmidt. Modernizing the U.S. aircraft carrier fleet : accelerating CVN 21 production versus mid-life refueling. Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2005.


This report assesses the alternatives and effects of accelerating the development of the CVN 21 aircraft carrier and retiring the Nimitz class sooner. May offer great insight as to the shortfalls of the Nimitz class’s capabilities.


Wragg, David. Carrier combat. Annapolis, Md: Naval Institute Press, 1997.


Illustrates the personal experiences of those aboard Nimitz-class carriers during times of war.


Yardley, Roland J. Increasing Aircraft Carrier Forward Presence : Changing the Length of the Maintenance Cycle. n.p.: RAND Corporation, 2008. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost (accessed February 13, 2013).


This report assesses deployment cycles of Nimitz-class carriers and how it effects shipyard workloads and military effectiveness. The study of “Forward Presence” is integral to understanding why the Nimitz class is significant.

Comments are closed.