On this day in 1949 began the construction of the U.S. warship that was to become the largest aircraft carrier in history of the world so far (a so-called “supercarrier”). The ship was named “USS Unites States” and its construction began in the great shipyard in Newport News. This shipyard, once the largest private shipyard in the United States, is also important today (all U.S. nuclear aircraft carriers were built in it, and even today two new supercarriers are being built there).
The USS United States was supposed to be a ship of unsurpassed size, as much as 330 meters in length. It was anticipated that the ship would carry heavy bombers that could bomb targets in the USSR with nuclear weapons. No other vessel before or after was equipped with heavy bombers, for obvious reasons (it’s difficult for them to take off from ships). Interestingly, the USS United States, according to the project, would have had no island control structure, since the entire upper deck was envisioned as a flat surface for the runway. The 12 to 18 heavy bombers aboard could destroy up to 112 targets in the USSR with atomic bombs.
However, the construction of this giant carrier was canceled only five days after it began. The reason for that was the competition of interests between the U.S. Air Force (USAF), which did not want the Navy (U.S. Navy) to gain strategic nuclear bombers. Perhaps, apart from this, some private interests of bomber producers for the Air Force were also involved. Basically, as soon as the supercarrier construction was canceled, Secretary of the Navy John Sullivan resigned in protest. American admirals also protested, which created a real incident (a.k.a. the “Revolt of the Admirals”). Namely, Admiral Daniel Gallery even accused those who canceled the project that they want to “scuttle” the navy. Nevertheless, the Supercarrier project was canceled, but the U.S. Navy survived and is still a strong component of the U.S. Armed Forces.