Since WWII, the U.S. Navy's carriers have been the national force of choice. In over 80% of the times when the World was faced with international violence, the United States has responded with one or more carrier task forces. Navy's carriers are always busy, completing various tasks and missions. The CVN 21, also known as CVNX is a next generation carrier, scheduled to start programming in 2007, and completing in 2014. This new carrier will replace the USS Enterprise. Aircraft carriers have evolved over time especially in the areas of war fighting capability, quality of life improvements for our sailors, and reduced acquisition and life cycle costs.
In this switch to the CVNX from the USS Enterprise, many war fighting capability improvements will occur. During WWII, the USS Enterprise was shown to have a vulnerability to torpedo attacks. Also, the USS Enterprise's max speed is 30 knots.
The CVNX will improve nearly a 3 fold increase in electrical generating capacity, and increased operational availability.
The CVNX will also minimize vulernabilities found in other US Navy carriers. This will make CVNX the centerpiece of US Navy's nuclear powered fleets. CVNX is planned to have a top speed of about 32.5 knots, which is faster than that of the USS Enterprise. "The ultimate result of these design efforts will be a carrier class that has not only substantially lower life cycle costs, but also a significantly improved warfighting capability to successfully accomplish a wide range of future missions in what is rapidly becoming an increasingly uncertain world." (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/cvx.htm).
Quality of life for the occupants of the carrier will greatly improve as well. During WWII, the USS Enterprise occupants endured poor food service, or sometimes no food service at all. Sailors also witnessed extreme weather conditions during multiple times of war. Occupants of the USS Enterprise were crowded in tight rooms.
CVNX will improve various faults of the USS Enterprise, such as improved work spaces, where sailors will have more room to work, and get jobs done more rapidly. Improved food service operations are also an important feature of CVNX. The CVNX will also be featuring increased air conditioning capacity, to keep the ship cooler using much less effort.
The USS Enterprise, holding 3,350 ship personnel, and running eight nuclear reactors and four shafts, costs about $4.5 billion each.
Cost reductions during wars will also help saving funds to be spent elsewhere. CVN 21 will decrease procurement costs by over $300 million. Over $5 billion reduction in life cycle costs is also expected. "The non-recurring investment in the design and development of the CVN 78-Class is $5.6B. This is comprised of $3.2B in RDT&E funds used to develop technologies needed to meet program requirements and $2.4B of SCN funds used to develop the detail design for the class." (http://home.hamptonroads.com/military/shipDetail.cfm?ShipName=USS+ENTERPRISE+CVN+65S).
In conclusion, the CVN 21 is an all around better US Navy carrier and weapon than the USS Enterprise. The CVN 21 will improve war fighting capabilities, improve sailor's quality of life, and reduce costs that may be spent elsewhere.