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The Forrestal and Kitty Hawk Classes
  • ISBN/SKU: 9781591141808
  • Binding: Hardcover & eBook
  • Era:
  • Number of Pages: 288
  • Subject: Ship Reference
  • Date Available: November 2014
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This is an admirable piece of work, and Faltum has provided clear and useful explanations for the designations of US naval aircraft and the air wings to which they were assigned. The book is probably worth purchasing for these alone.”—Warship 2016

“The author of books on earlier aircraft carrier classes, Andrew Faltum continues with this technical and operational history of the eight carriers of the Forrestal and Kitty Hawk classes. These Cold War “supercarriers” were designed in the early 1950s to be large enough to launch and recover nuclear-armed strike aircraft like the A3D Skywarrior. They served in most U.S. overseas conflicts and crises from the 1958 Lebanese Crisis through Operation Iraqi Freedom as the Navy’s last oil-fired carriers. Their hull form and flight deck design are reflected in today’s nuclear-powered Nimitz class. The author also describes the aircraft, weapons and sensor systems used aboard these ships, and provides a narrative of their operations, with appendices that list the history of each hull and the air wings of each deployment.”Seapower

"The book outlines the role naval aviation and the Supercarriers played in almost every single conflict throughout the Cold War. Indeed, the reader will be hard pushed to find a conflict in which the carriers were absent. On a final note the appendix has a treasure trove of details which any technical enthusiast will find invaluable."Aerospace Magazine, Royal Aeronautical Society

“’The Supercarriers’ provides a detailed history of these important assets that defined the Navy for decades, and provided platforms for many of the Navy’s elite aircraft. There are also individual histories for each carrier and a history table annotating individual air wings and squadrons for every ship’s deployment. Overall, ‘The Supercarriers’ is an excellent reference for carrier and Naval Aviation enthusiasts.”Naval Aviation News

"This is a book that will stand the test of time. If you’re interested in the U. S. Navy, you must have this book in your library."—Journal of America's Military Past

"The Supercarriers is great for those looking for a comprehensive introduction to this subject. Wargamers may find the technical specifications and air group listing useful. ...The Supercarriers should interest those whose primary focus is history."—Naval Historical Foundation

"This is an excellent study of these ocean-going giants and their equipment."—Aeroplane Monthly (UK)

“The strength of this book is in the author’s ability to take technical subjects and describe them in an easy to understand way, thus enabling readers with little knowledge of naval and aviation matters to follow his descriptions and explanations. At the same time, the author’s attention to detail should satisfy even readers who served aboard one of these mighty vessels. Each chapters covers significant events in the histories of these ships, from their conception in the early days of the atomic era to their eventual retirement in the post-Cold War period.”—Military Heritage

"This is a very readable overview of the operational history of these ships. The author has supported this with a wide range of photographs, maps and appendices of technical information. Information on the ships; data about their aircraft ranging from lumbering piston-engine Skyraiders to Tomcat and Hornet supersonic jets; information on their weapons systems and on the deployment and composition of their Air Wings."—World Ship Society: Warships 178

As the first of the “supercarriers,” the USS Forrestal ushered in a new era of naval power when it was commissioned in 1955. Throughout the Cold War and into the uncertain and dangerous world that followed, the first question of senior American leadership in response to a crisis has often been, “Where are the carriers?”

The Supercarriers is a comprehensive historical overview with extensive photos, maps, drawings, and operational detail, including all air-wing deployments. The book covers the Forrestal-class supercarriers and the follow-on ships, which are essentially of the same design, including the Forrestal (CV 59), Saratoga (CV 60), Ranger (CV 61), Independence (CV 62), Kitty Hawk (CV 63), Constellation (CV 64), America (CV 66), and John F. Kennedy (CV 67). As in Faltum’s previous books, The Essex Aircraft Carriers and The Independence Light Aircraft Carriers, the main emphasis here is on the operational history of these ships, which spans over fifty years.

The book is heavily illustrated, with more than one hundred black-and-white illustrations and maps covering the western Pacific, Vietnam, Mediterranean, Middle East, Indian Ocean, and Caribbean. The front endpaper illustration shows the Saratoga as representative of the Forrestal class, with port and starboard profiles and an overhead view. The rear endpaper displays similar views of the Constellation as part of the Kitty Hawk class.

In addition to illustrations, the appendices offer illustrations, technical design data, and much more. A good historical overview written in a nontechnical style, this book will appeal to general audiences as well naval enthusiasts and hobbyists.

Andrew Faltum served as an air intelligence officer aboard USS Midway home ported in Yokosuka, Japan, before joining the Navy Reserve, retiring as a commander. He is the author of The Independence Light Aircraft Carriers and The Essex Aircraft Carriers.

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