The Kitty Hawk-class aircraft carrier is a former United States Navy aircraft carrier.
The Kitty Hawk (CV-63) was the first of the last class of conventionally fired aircraft carriers, based on an improved Forestall design, to serve with the U.S. Navy. The Kitty Hawk's keel was laid down in December of 1956 at the New York Shipbuilding Corp. in Camden, NJ. And was launched in December of 1960. The ship entered commissioned service in May 1961 as an attack carrier (CVA) at the Philadelphia Naval Yard. For the first twelve years the carrier served in a strict attack carrier capacity. In 1973, however, the Kitty Hawk entered overhaul for a refit and was reclassified as a multi-purpose (CV) carrier (the first Pacific-based carrier to be designated.) Most of the upgrades centered around giving the Kitty Hawk a dedicated ASW (anti-submarine warfare) capability. At the same time, modifications were made to the flight deck and catapults to accommodate the new F-14A Tomcat.
Kitty Hawk is equipped with 4 aircraft elevators, two located on the right hand edge of the flight deck forward of the island, and two located aft of the island on the left and right edges of the flight deck. The carrier features 4 steam-powered catapults and 4 arresting wires, capable of launching and recovering aircraft simultaneously. Kitty Hawk can embark 80+ aircraft, depending on mission requirements. A typical embarked airwing consists of 56 F/A-18C Hornet fighters, 6 S-3B Viking ASW aircraft, 4 EA-6B Prowler offensive electronic warfare aircraft, 4 E-2C Hawkeye early warning aircraft, 2 ES-3A Shadow electronic warfare (SIGINT) aircraft, 4 SH-60F Seahawk ASW helicopters, and 2 HH-60H Rescue Hawk combat search and rescue aircraft.
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