USS Constellation
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Kitty Hawk Class
CV-64

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Photographed  by Rob Mackie at
San Francisco, California
April 10, 1999

The sheer size of a supercarrier cannot be appreciated until one stands "underneath". The enormous sponsons enable a ship with a 130' beam to carry a flight deck 252' wide. As I looked up, the enormous bulk of the ship loomed over me. Now I know why they call them supercarriers. And the USS Constellation and her sister ship Kitty Hawk, both conventionally powered, are the oldest supercarriers in active service. Launched in 1961, USS Constellation CV-64, with the exception of her extensive three year SLEP ("Service Life Extension Program") refit starting in 1990, has been active for almost 40 years. The SLEP refit extended her service life by 15 years, so she'll be retired early in the next century.

Homeported in San Diego, Constellation put into San Francisco early in April '99. I photographed her over two days. I chose the best photos for display and concentrated on the sorts of details of interest to ship modelers. Alas, I was not able to photograph her port side, except by looking down from the flight deck. Inexplicably, the Captain declined my request to borrow his launch so that I could photograph "Connie's" outboard side. C'est la vie. The best photos are the ones snapped from the flight deck. There are also many excellent shots of the island/command bridge.

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Stunning overhead view

(USN)

USS Constellation
CV-64
Vital Statistics
Class:
Kitty Hawk
Commissioned: 1961
Length: 1,062' Beam: 130' Draft: 36 feet

Flight Deck Width: 252 feet
Displacement: 80,800 tons full load
Armament: Two  Sea Sparrow launchers,

Three 20mm Phalanx CIWS
Power plant: Eight boilers, four geared steam turbines, four shafts,
280,000 horsepower.
Speed: 30+ knots
Aircraft: 85
Complement: Ship's Company: 3,150 - Air Wing: 2,480

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Early 60s photo
(USN)

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Another gorgeous shot

(USN)

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Refueling-note how small everything
looks next to an 1,100' supercarrier
(USN)

Click thumbnail image to view full size picture

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