Kitty Hawk-class aircraft carrier

The Kitty Hawk-class supercarriers of the United States Navy were an incremental improvement on the Forrestal-class vessels. Three were built, all in the 1960s, Kitty Hawk (CV-63) (1961–2009), Constellation (CV-64) (1961–2003), America (CV-66) (1965–1996), as well as the variant John F. Kennedy (CV-67) (1967–2007). All are now decommissioned.


Kitty Hawk-class aircraft carrier
Class Ship
Type Aircraft Carrier
Manufacturer Newport News Shipbuilding
Production Period 1960 - 1964
Origin United States of America
Country Name Origin Year
United States of America 1961
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
United States of America 1961 2009 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Newport News Shipbuilding 1960 1964 2 View
New York Shipbuilding Corporation 1955 1957 2 View

The first three units were constructed with a Terrier surface-to-air missile system. The supporting missile launchers and AN/SPG-55 radars consumed a large amount of space, while at the same time duplicating the capabilities of the air defence escorts, and were later removed. John F. Kennedy did not have Terrier and was built with the shorter ranged Sea Sparrow, Basic Point Defense Missile System (BPDMS). All were eventually equipped with NATO Sea Sparrow (NSSM) and Phalanx CIWS for self-defense. In 2001, Kitty Hawk received two Rolling Airframe Missile launchers replacing the forward Sea Sparrow and Phalanx CIWS equipment. The SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare Suite was added as part of the Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) on Kitty Hawk and Constellation.

America had several differences from the lead units of the class. Instead of two forward anchors, one on each side, America had no starboard anchor and an additional anchor astern, a change made to accommodate the AN/SQS-23 sonar. America was the only post-World War II U.S. carrier to be built with sonar, though it was removed in the early 1980s. She also had a narrow smokestack compared to prior units.

Ships in Class

Name Builder Ordered Laid Down Launched Commissioned Decommissioned Fate
Kitty Hawk subclass
America Newport News Shipbuilding,Newport News, Virginia 25 November 1960 9 January 1961 1 February 1964 23 January 1965 9 August 1996 Sunk as target, 14 May 2005
Constellation New York Naval Shipyard, New York City 1 July 1956 14 September 1957 8 October 1960 27 October 1961 7 August 2003 Broken up atBrownsville, 2015
John F. Kennedy Newport News Shipbuilding,Newport News, Virginia 30 April 1964 22 October 1964 27 May 1967 7 September 1968 1 August 2007 On donation hold
John F. Kennedy subclass
Kitty Hawk New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey 1 October 1955 27 December 1956 21 May 1960 29 April 1961 31 Jan 2009 Decommissioned;In reserve

Name: Kitty Hawk-class aircraft carrier
Builders: New York Shipbuilding
New York Navy Yard
Newport News Shipbuilding
Operators:  United States Navy
Preceded by: Forrestal class
Succeeded by: Enterprise class and Nimitz class
Subclasses: John F. Kennedy class (variant)
In commission: 21 April 1961 – 31 January 2009
Completed: 3 plus 1 variant
Active: 0
Retired: USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63)
USS Constellation (CV-64)
USS America (CV-66)
USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67)(variant)
General characteristics
Displacement: 60,933 tons light
81,780 tons full load
Length: 1,069 ft (326 m) overall
990 ft (300 m) waterline
Beam: 130 ft (40 m) waterline
282 ft (86 m) extreme
Draft: 38 ft (12 m)
Installed power: 280,000 shaft horsepower
Propulsion: Westinghouse geared steam turbines, eight steam boilers, four shafts; 280,000 shp
Speed: 32 knots (59 km/h)
Range: 12,000 miles (19,300 km)
Crew: 3150 - Air Wing Crew=2,480
Armament: 24 × Sea Sparrows and RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles
3-4 × Phalanx CIWSs
Aircraft carried: Up to 90 aircraft

End notes