The large US Nimitz-class aircraft carriers and their Gerald R. Ford-class replacements are truly complex floating airbases.
In addition to the ability to take off and land aircraft on their flight decks, these aircraft carriers also take full responsibility for the direction of air operations related to their carrier air wing (CVW). This includes the direction of movements on the flight deck itself, the operation of the takeoff catapults and landing arrest hooks, approaches, flights around the aircraft carrier and combat operations of the aircraft. boarded aircraft. All from a ship 333 meters long and 76.8 meters wide, in the case of the USS Nimitz. Let's see what are the sites from which these operations are directed.
Flight Deck Control (FDC). It is located on the aircraft carrier island, at the height of the flight deck, and from there the movement of aircraft on the island is controlled. track, as well as the supply of fuel and weapons. To know the status of the planes at all times, a reproduction of the flight deck is used, which is popularly known as the "Ouija board". In it, each plane is represented by a miniature indicating their state of fuel and armament by thumbtacks and nuts. In this photo we see the FDC of the USS John C. Stennis.
Primary Flight Control (Pri Fly). It is located on the top floor of the island and from it air operations are controlled on the aircraft carrier itself and in its surroundings. In this image we see the Pri Fly of the USS Ronald Reagan.
Carrier Air Traffic Control Center (CATCC). It is located just below the flight deck of the aircraft carrier. Its members are the equivalent of civil air traffic controllers. Direct air operations beyond the vicinity of the aircraft carrier, as well as aircraft approaches for landing. Here we see the CATCC of the USS Carl Vinson.
Combat Information Center (CIC). This is the brain of the ship in terms of combat operations, and is where decisions regarding combat operations of the ships are made. aircraft, whether on hunting or attack missions. From here, possible threats detected from the ship's radar are also monitored and decisions are made to respond to them. There are CICs on many warships, not just on aircraft carriers. It should be noted that it is a room with sensitive information and it is generally not allowed to take photos in it (and if you do, you have to blur the focus monitors content). On many ships, the CIC is often equipped with axes in case equipment needs to be destroyed, should the ship be captured or sink. In this image we see the CIC of the USS Nimitz.
Bridge. It is from where the aircraft carrier is governed. It is located on the island below the Pri Fly. The bridge is where the ship's commander is located, although in the case of aircraft carriers, immediate decisions on air operations are made in the control centers that we have seen above. In this image we see the bridge of the USS Nimitz.
Flag Bridge. It is located on the island, under the bridge. In the US Navy, the carrier is the flagship of its Carrier Battle Group (CVBG), which includes the carrier itself and its escort and auxiliary ships. The Royal Admiral (Rear Admiral) who leads CVBG is located on the Flag Bridge. In this image we see Rear Admiral Michael Sciretta (on the right), commander of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG-2) with Rear Admiral Paul Spedero Jr., commander of Carrier Strike Group 8 (a US Navy CVBG type), on the Flag Bridge of the USS Harry S. Truman.
On these issues, this week the Spanish aerospace engineer Sergio Hidalgo has published another of his interesting and complete videos, in which he explains in great detail these and more issues about operations on an aircraft carrier (the video is in Spanish, you can activate the automatic subtitles in English in the bottom bar of the player):
Photos: U.S. Navy.
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