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For Wikipedia article page, see Wikipedia:USS Enterprise (CVN-65).

USS Enterprise from the bow.

USS Enterprise (CVN-65) is a nuclear powered Aircraft Carrier of the United States Navy. The USS Enterprise is seen in Top Gun.


Designed under project SCB 160, Enterprise was intended as the first of a class of six carriers, but massive increases in construction costs led to the remaining vessels being cancelled.

Enterprise is the only aircraft carrier to house more than two nuclear reactors, having an eight-reactor propulsion design, with each A2W reactor taking the place of one of the conventional boilers in earlier constructions. She is the only carrier with four rudders, two more than other classes, and features a more cruiser-like hull.


Because of the huge cost of her construction, Enterprise was launched and commissioned without the planned RIM-2 Terrier missile launchers. Initially, the carrier had little defensive armament. Late in 1967, Enterprise was fitted with a prototype Basic Point Defense Missile System (BPDMS) installation, with two eight-round box launchers for Sea Sparrow missiles. A third BPDMS launcher was fitted during the ship's refit in 1970–1971.

Later upgrades added two NATO Sea Sparrow (NSSM) and three Mk 15 Phalanx CIWS gun mounts. One CIWS mount was later removed and two 21-cell RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile launchers were added.


Enterprise had a phased array radar system known as SCANFAR. SCANFAR was intended to be better at tracking multiple airborne targets than conventional rotating antenna radars. SCANFAR consisted of two radars, the AN/SPS-32 and the AN/SPS-33. The AN/SPS-32 was a long-range air search and target acquisition radar developed by Hughes for the U.S. Navy. The AN/SPS-32 operated together with the AN/SPS-33, which was the square array used for 3D tracking, into one system. It was installed on only two vessels, Enterprise and the cruiser USS Long Beach, placing a massive power drain on the ship's electric system.[citation needed]

The technology of the AN/SPS-32 was based on vacuum tubes and the system required constant repairs. The SPS-32 was a phased array radar which had a range of 400 nautical miles against large targets, and 200 nautical miles against small, fighter-size targets. These early phased arrays, replaced around 1980, were responsible for the distinctive square-looking island.

The AN/SPS-32 and AN/SPS-33 radars, while ahead of their time, suffered from issues relating to the electrical beam steering mechanism and were not pursued in further ship classes. While they are considered to be an early form of "phased array" radar, it would take the later technology of the Aegis phased array AN/SPY-1 with its electronically controlled beam steering to make phased array radars both reliable and practical for the USN.[citation needed] The dome above the SCANFAR contained the unique electronic warfare suite, the Andrew Alford AA-8200 dipole antennas (which never acquired a military designation). The system consisted of six rows of antennae encircling the dome. The antennas in the upper two rows were encased in piping radomes as they were small and fragile.


The USS Enterprise is the main aircraft carrier in the movie. It is first shown in the beginning of the film, where it deploys various F-14A Tomcats as well as landing them across the Indian Ocean. One mission had the carrier send in two F-14A Tomcat's, piloted by Pete Mitchell and Bill Cortell to intercept MiG-28 jets, with Goose and Merlin as their RIOs. The two were able to successfully drive them off, with Maverick flipping the MiG pilot after locking it. However, Cougar is shaken off from the encounter from one of the MiGs causing him to lose focus on flying and resulting him running out of fuel. Maverick is able to escort Cougar's crippled plane back to the carrier, nearly crashing it. As a result, Cougar resigns from the Navy so he can see his family and Maverick and Goose are sent to TOPGUN in his place.

During the climax, the USS Enterprise is used once more when Maverick, Iceman, Slider, and Hollywood are called back to deal with a crisis situation when the SS Layton has drifted into hostile waters. Hollywood and Iceman are the first to depart, with Maverick on standby.

Known air wing crew


  • Grumman F-14 Tomcat
  • Sikorsky SH-3H Sea King
  • E-2 Hawkeye
  • LTV A-7 Corsair II
  • Grumman A-6 Intruder