Monday, September 10, 2012

The Ultra Carrier

The back story here is that a fellow wrote into the Naval Institute Proceedings Magazine back in 1978 and proposed what he called the Ultra Carrier as a replacement for the Nimitz class nuclear carriers that were being built at that time. I had always liked it and it had been on my scratch-build list for many years but I just hadn't gotten around to it - that's a long list. Anyway, a company called Shapeways recently offered it for sale and I decided to snatch one up. Shapeways offers a service of making things in various materials and then offers them for sale on their site. The Ultra Carrier would have been substantially larger than a Nimitz (400,000 tons as opposed to 72,700; 1,250 feet long as opposed to 1,040 with a flight deck 400 feet wide instead of Nimitz's 252 feet). It would also have been nuclear powered and was designed to stay on station for lengthy periods of time up to several years before having to return to the U.S. for maintenance and overhaul. However, the crews would be rotated every six months, which would have been great for the crews because carriers were frequently extended on station for various crisis and operational requirements. It would have had a nominal speed 23 knots but could manage extended bursts of up to 26 knots in a pinch. I took a picture of the Ultra Carrier alongside a Nimitz for further comparison. I think it was an interesting concept. Not sure it would have been practical but one never knows. I have one, painted with aircraft on deck but may get another one. Well, maybe two more....

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