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USS United States (CVA-58)


CVA-58 as envisioned
USS United States (CVA-58), the third ship of the United States Navy named for her nation, was to be the lead ship of her radical new design of aircraft carrier. On 29 July 1948 President of the United States Harry Truman approved construction of five "supercarriers," for which funds had been provided in the Naval Appropriations Act of 1949. The keel of the first of those five postwar carriers was laid down on 18 April 1949 at Newport News Shipbuilding.

The flush-deck United States was designed to launch and recover the 100,000-pound aircraft required to carry early-model nuclear weapons, which weighed as much as five tons. The ship would have no island and be equipped with four aircraft elevators and four catapults. The construction cost of the new ship alone was estimated at US$190 million. The additional thirty-nine ships required to complete the accompanying task force raised the total cost to US$1.265 billion.

United States was also designed to provide air support for amphibious forces and to conduct sea control operations, but her primary mission was long-range nuclear bombardment. That mission put her in harm's way long before construction began. The United States Air Force viewed United States as a challenge to their monopoly on strategic nuclear weapons delivery. Swayed by limited funds and bitter opposition from the United States Army and Air Force, Secretary of Defense Louis A. Johnson announced on 23 April 1949 -- five days after the ship's keel was laid down -- the cancellation of construction of United States. Secretary of the Navy John Sullivan immediately resigned, and the subsequent "Revolt of the Admirals[?]" cost Admiral Louis Denfield[?] his position as Chief of Naval Operations, but atomic bombs went to sea on the aircraft carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt[?] in 1950.


CVA-58 as cancelled
General Characteristics
  • Displacement: 83,350 tons full, 68,000 tons standard
  • Length: 1085 feet overall, 980 feet waterline
  • Beam 125 feet
  • Draft 37 feet
  • Flight Deck
    • Length 1088 feet
    • Width 198 feet
  • Propulsion
    • Boilers: eight 1200 psi Foster-Wheeler
    • Turbines: four Westinghouse steam turbines
    • Power: 280,000 horsepower
    • Screws: four, 20.5 feet diameter
  • Speed: 33 knots
  • Armament
    • Main: eight five-inch/54-caliber guns in single mounts
    • Secondary: 16 three-inch/70-caliber guns in eight twin mounts
    • Antiaircraft: 20 20mm Oerlikons
  • Aircraft: 90-100, mostly bombers
  • Complement
    • Crew: 2958 officers and men
    • Air Wing: 2000



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