USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) – The Fifth Nimitz-class Aircraft Carrier in the US Navy

USS Abraham Lincoln is the fifth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier in the United States Navy.


USS Abraham Lincoln is the fifth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier in the United States Navy. She is the second Navy ship to have been named after the former President Abraham Lincoln. Her home port is Norfolk, Virginia, and she is a member of the United States Atlantic Fleet.

The Nimitz class is a class of ten nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in service with the United States Navy. With an overall length of 333m and full-load displacement of over 100,000 long tons, the Nimitz-class ships were the largest warships built and in-service until USS Gerald R. Ford entered the fleet in 2017.


USS Abraham Lincoln had the same size and weight as her class sisters. USS Abraham Lincoln has a beam of 76.8m and a draught of 12.5m. The flight deck occupies about 4.5 acres and is 78.34m wide.

The vessel features an island on the starboard side and an angled flight deck on the port side. The flight deck is serviced by four hangar elevators, three of which are located on the starboard and one to port. With four catapults the carrier can launch one aircraft every 20 seconds. These machines can accelerate a 37-ton jet from zero to 180 miles per hour in less than three seconds while traveling nearly the length of a football field. The weight of each aircraft determines the amount of thrust provided by the catapult. USS Abraham Lincoln can carry 90 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. The vessel can accommodate upto 5,680 people, including the ship’s crew of 3,200 and an aircrew of 2,480.

The Nimitz class carriers differ from the earlier nuclear-powered USS Enterprise in having two reactors rather than eight, with ordnance magazines between and forward of them. This increases the internal space available to allow some 2570 tons of aviation weapons and 10.6 million litres of aircraft fuel to be carried. These totals are sufficient for 16 days of continuous flight operations before stocks have to be replenished. The class is also fitted with the same torpedo protection arrangement as carried by the USS John F. Kennedy, and is laid out with the same general arrangement and electronic fit as the USS John F. Kennedy.

Air wings

The USS Abraham Lincoln’s air wing included nine squadrons consisting of two Super Hornet fighter bombers, two Hornet fighter bombers, one E-2 Hawkeye early warning fix wing, one EA-6B Prowlers, one greyhound logistical support aircraft and two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters.


Instead of the gas turbines or diesel-electric systems used for propulsion on many modern warships, the carrier use two A4W pressurized water reactors which drive four propeller shafts and can produce a maximum speed of over 30 knots and maximum power of around 260,000 shaft horsepower. As a result of the use of nuclear power, the ship are capable of operating for over 20 years without refueling and are predicted to have a service life of over 50 years.

Sensor and Electronic systems

The ship is equipped with AN/SPS-48E 3-D and AN/SPS-49 2-D air search radar, it is used to direct targets for air defense systems such as the Sea Sparrow and RIM-116 SAM missiles. AN/SPQ-9B target acquisition radar, this is a multi-purpose surface search & fire control radar used with the Mk-86 gun fire-control system. It is a two dimensional surface-search radar, meaning it provides only range and bearing but not elevation. It is intended primarily to detect & track targets at sea level, on the surface of the water for either gun fire engagement or navigation. It can however, also detect and track low altitude air targets.

AN/SPN-46 and AN/SPN-43C air traffic control radars, AN/SPN-41 landing aid radar, four Mk 91 NSSM guidance systems and four Mk 95 radars.


In addition to their aircraft, the vessels carry short-range defensive weaponry for anti-aircraft warfare and missile defense.

Weapons aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln include two Mk 57 Mod3 Sea Sparrow surface to air missile launchers, two RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile launchers and three Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems.

The other countermeasures the ship use are four Sippican SRBOC six-barrel MK36 decoy launchers, which deploy infrared Flare and chaff to disrupt the sensors of incoming missiles; an SSTDS torpedo defense system; and an AN/SLQ-25 Nixie torpedo countermeasures system. The carrier also use AN/SLQ-32 Radar jamming and deception systems to detect and disrupt hostile radar signals, in addition to the electronic warfare capabilities of some of the aircraft on board.


Aircraft from the Abraham Lincoln flew 597 combat sorties in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, 975 sorties in support of Operation Southern Watch in Iraq, and 1558 sorties in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On 5 May 2019 USS Abraham Lincoln was deployed to the Middle East as the flagship for Carrier Strike Group 12 and Carrier Air Wing Seven assigned to her.

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