The USS Kitty Hawk is in Brisbane this weekend - on one of the stops on her final Pacific Tour before she returns to be de-commissioned next year.
Even though the ship wasn't having an Open Day, we drove down to take a look. Because the Kitty Hawk is a SuperCarrier, it's too big to make it up river in to the City so it has had to berth at a tanker berth at the BP Oil Refinery near the entrance to the river, and the only place we could view it was from the far bank, off the beaten track with limited road access. Unfortunately, half of Brisbane decided to drive down to take a look as well, which meant we had to crawl in traffic for nearly 2 hours just to get to see her from a distance.
This is as close as we got...
Still, pretty impressive. To put it in perspective, I used to serve on HMS Invincible which had a ships company of 1200 and usually carried 12 Sea Harriers and 6 Sea King helicopters. The Kitty Hawk has a ships company of 4,500 and can carry up to 90 aircraft. I believe the ones you can see on deck are mainly F/A 18 Hornets. The Kitty Hawk carries two types of F/A 18's - the F/A-18C Hornet and the F/A-18E Super Hornet (replacement for the F14 TomCat as seen in TopGun). Not that I'm a Ship Spotter or anything!
Of course, I've been a lot closer to US carriers in the past as the Royal Navy and US Navy work quite closely together, both on exercises and when operationally deployed. I just thought Rach and Lauren might want to see it so I let them drag me down there, honest.
When we got back we had a BBQ for our Sunday dinner - it's a hard life. I hear it's raining again in England. Never mind.