The USS Kitty Hawk is one of the most decorated aircraft carrier served the US Navy for 50 years. The iconic supercarrier was built for a whopping $ 264 million ($2.5 billion now) in 1961. It was named after Kitty Hawk, where the Wright Brothers made their first powered flight. The ship was in service for nearly 50 years before being decommissioned in 2009.

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The USS Kitty Hawk, the first of New York Ship Building Corporation’s Kitty Hawk class supercarriers, was laid down in 1956 and launched in 1960. Kitty Hawk, codenamed CV-63, was approximately 1,069 feet long from bow to stern and carried over 5000 naval personnel. RIM-7 Sparrow surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), two RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAMs), and two Phalanx CIWS gun-based close-in weapon systems are among the weapons. The carrier housed 85 aircrafts, including Boeing F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowlers and E-2C Hawkeyes, Sikorsky SH-60F and HH-60H Sea Hawk helicopters, and a Grumman C-2A Greyhound.

During its fifty years of active duty, the USS Kitty Hawk circumnavigated the globe, participating in US combat activities and countless exercises with allied navies. Kitty Hawk played a significant part in the Vietnam War and the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. US Navy sold the USS Kitty Hawk and USS John F. Kennedy to the International Shipbreaking Limited for demolition in 2021. The USS Kitty Hawk is currently being scrapped in Texas, a process that might take five to ten years and cost $750 million.