The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is a huge gas station, which delivered 1 million gallons of fuel


The last thing that comes to your mind is that these beasts are gas stations. Yet every now and then, that’s exactly what they are.

You see, for certification purposes, carriers are equipped with something called FAS platforms. This would be the equipment needed for refueling operations at sea, that is, the transfer of fuel between ships.

The idea dates back to the beginning of the last century, when sailors needed means to transfer coal. Nowadays, FAS pretty much means pulling lines and pipes from one ship to another using a pneumatic launcher.

As noted, these items exist on aircraft carriers, but are primarily used for certification purposes. The Nimitz-class USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), however, has gone above and beyond, and since the start of the year has transferred 1 million gallons (4.45 million liters) of fuel to other Navy ships.

The milestone was reached in mid-September, when Vinson docked the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) and pumped 150,000 gallons of fuel into it.

Including the Champlain, the carrier has served as a service station for no less than nine different ships since the start of the year and has conducted 15 FAS operations, meaning that some of those nine ships have been refueled over a times.

The Carl Vinson is named after a Georgian congressman, the man behind the Two-Ocean Navy, the biggest naval procurement bill in American history. It was launched in 1980 with a displacement of 113,500 tons, a length of 1,092 feet (333 meters) and two nuclear reactors on board.

The beast can carry 90 planes and helicopters. It is currently part of its own Carrier Strike Group (VINCSG) which also includes the USS Lake Champlain and the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90). The group is operating as part of the 7th Fleet in the Indo-Pacific region.

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