The science of war without guns reached a new level February 21 when the USS "Kitty Hawk" went to sea for the first time.
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Background: The science of war without guns reached a new level February 21 when the USS "Kitty Hawk" went to sea for the first time. Leaving the Camden, New Jersey, shipyards, she had to lower one of her masts to get under a bridge.
The giant aircraft carrier of the Forrestal type is the first warship in U.S. Navy history to operate without conventional, mounted guns. "I won't miss them," said Capt. William F. Bringle, Commander of the 60,000-ton vessel, "but you can't fire a salute with a missile." So, two 40 millimetre weapons have been put aboard to fire salutes.
"Kitty Hawk" is the first carrier to shed anti-aircraft guns and rely on surface-to-air missiles for defense. Two launchers capable of firing four Torrier missiles at once have been built into the stern of the ship. The 15-foot long, pencil-like Torriers will be loaded on the launchers, aimed and fired automatically. A homing mechanism will guide them to attacking craft with unerring accuracy.
The carrier's 108 planes, both jet and propeller driven, will carry three other types of missiles for attacks against other planes and ground installation. The ship also will carry both nuclear and hydrogen weapons for the planes.