Friday, July 06, 2007
The Yanks are HERE!
Anyway, I digress. There seemed a disproportionate amount of rather young, strangely dressed, well trimmed men in groups of six or eight milling through the historic Rocks area obviously out for a good time. Yep, the US Kitty Hawk is one of four US visiting warships but the only aircraft carrier among them and it is in town. It's amazing. I never cease to surprise and slightly disappoint myself that I'm so impressed with weapons of mass destruction. I love an air show finale when the F-18 do a fuel dump and fly by. I love big things, especially when they're lit up and shiny (oooh shiny things . . .*gravitates towards them like a Christmas Beetle to a light bulb*).
This ship is mammoth, 7,000 personnel on board, it is supposed to inject $2 million a day into the Sydney economy. Woolooomooloo residents are mightily pissed off because their roads have been closed to accommodate the thousands of visitors who can go on board for just 10 buckaroos.
In an embarrassing bungle by the State Government apparently jeopardised the security of the visiting US warships by posting sensitive details on the internet. The arrival date, times and berthing details of the USS Kitty Hawk, USS Cowpens, USS Juneau and USS Tortuga were published by the Sydney Ports Corporation, despite requests from the US to keep the information secret. I think that's a joke, how do you keep 3 acres of aircraft carrier a secret? Ah well, serves them right for asking us to join the Coalition of the 'do we really have to - we only joined the military to get a trade' Willing.
Anyway, it's a great piece of machinery and I'm impressed. It's the ultimate big boy's/girl's toy.
So for the technical here are it's specs:
displacement: 80,800 tons
length: 1,047½ feet
beam: 129 feet 4 inches; extreme width: 252 feet
draft: 37 feet
speed: 35 knots
complement: 4,582 permanent crew
armament: Sea Sparrow launchers, 3 20mm Phalanx CIWS mounts
class: Kitty Hawk
facilities: 5 gymnasiums, 3 mess halls
built: Philadelphia shipyard 1961
What's to keep secret?
So Sydney, stash away your vegemite, warm up your pies, chill your beer (real beer not that American diluted slop), break out the stuffed Koalas, lock up your daughters, dispense your condoms and say 'ello sailor'. She's in port for the next four days.