Skip to main content

USS George Washington, an aircraft carrier in a 'super-class' of its own

By KJ Kwon, CNN
updated 8:57 AM EDT, Tue October 15, 2013
USS George Washington, a U.S. nuclear-powered carrier, can carry as many as 80 aircraft and accommodate more than 6,000 crew.
USS George Washington, a U.S. nuclear-powered carrier, can carry as many as 80 aircraft and accommodate more than 6,000 crew.
HIDE CAPTION
On board 'world's most powerful warship'
On board 'world's most powerful warship'
On board 'world's most powerful warship'
On board 'world's most powerful warship'
On board 'world's most powerful warship'
On board 'world's most powerful warship'
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rare visit to USS George Washington, one of world's most powerful warships
  • Aircraft carrier in waters off Korean peninsula for a routine "patrol mission"
  • It is home to up 6,000 crew and 18,000 meals are served a day

On board USS George Washington (CNN) -- Floating in the middle of the sea, the first thing we noticed was the vast expanse of tarmac, roughly the size of three soccer fields. And then we heard the loud blasting sound of fighter jets preparing to take off.

This was one of the world's most powerful warships, the Nimitz-class 'super carrier' USS George Washington, which the CNN crew and members of other media organizations were granted a rare opportunity to visit this weekend.

After climbing up the equivalent of an eight-story building, staircase after staircase, one narrow hallway after another, we finally arrived at the "bridge," an elevated tower containing the command control center on the aircraft carrier.

The U.S. nuclear-powered carrier was in the waters off the Korean peninsula for a routine patrol mission, which followed a trilateral "search and rescue" drill between the U.S., South Korea and Japan.

Modern Nato shows strength
Watch first drone launch from carrier

READ: Asian superpowers jostle to join the aircraft carrier club

The drill drew harsh rhetoric from North Korea earlier last week, warning the U.S. of a "horrible disaster" and claimed that its troops are on high alert to promptly cope with "blatant provocations."

Standing on the flight deck of the USS George Washington, I realized North Korea probably had good reason to be on edge.

The USS George Washington can carry about 80 aircraft, launch tactical fighter jets towards any location and is equipped with various types of missiles.

Known as a "floating military base", it can also accommodate more than 6,000 crew, serve 18,000 meals per day and even has live broadcast television on the vessel.

Back on the bridge, we saw fighter jets take off one after another at an impressive pace. This, I was told, was the work of a deck catapult, which slings the fighter jet forward, generating enormous speed.

We experienced just that. Ending the tour, we strapped ourselves into a propeller-powered, windowless plane.

After a roaring sound, the plane took off at an enormous speed, faster than any roller coaster ride I had been on.

Training to go supersonic with South Korea's Top Guns

CNN reporter learns to fly supersonic

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:25 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Action needs to be taken immediately before affected states potentially collapse, says campaigner Bob Geldof.
updated 12:29 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
updated 6:33 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
updated 7:18 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Australian PM Tony Abbott vows to "shirt-front" Russia's Putin over the MH17 disaster.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Serbia and Albania try to play but the major game is called off after a drone flying a political flag enters the stadium.
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
George Clooney's new wife, is now Amal Clooney, raising the issue of married names.
updated 1:57 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
The mysterious unmanned X-37B space plane returns to Earth after more than two years in space. But the U.S. Air force isn't saying much.
updated 12:55 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Public health experts are asking whether the CDC is getting the wrong message out.
updated 11:41 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
It's no longer necessary to launch your startup in Silicon Valley -- thanks to the internet, you can do it anywhere.
updated 5:00 AM EDT, Wed October 8, 2014
From a "democracy wall" to a towering "Umbrella man" statue, see the best art from the massive protests in Hong Kong.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT