The USS Kitty Hawk, the last conventionally powered aircraft carrier in the US navy, is on its final voyage from the US west coast to Brownsville, Texas, where it will be scrapped at EMR’s shipbreaking facility.
Because the Kitty Hawk is too big to pass through the Panama Canal, it will sail from Seattle to Texas via the Strait of Magellan, a natural passage in southern Chile between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The journey around South America is expected to take 130 days.
Launched in 1960 and commissioned the following year, the Kitty Hawk was used during the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. The ship later served as the only forward-deployed carrier for 10 years. Notable moments from its many years of service, according to media reports, include testing whether U-2 spy planes could be launched from the deck of a carrier, a race riot on board and a collision with a Soviet submarine.
The Kitty Hawk is the last remaining oil-powered US aircraft carrier to be decommissioned. She is the last of the three Kitty Hawk-class carriers, the other two have already been scrapped. The current fleet is now made up entirely of nuclear-powered vessels.