NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - It's been more than three years since the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was decommissioned, and even longer that the ship has been out of service, but the former USS Enterprise is still finding new ways to serve the Navy.
The Enterprise was built at Newport News Shipbuilding and christened in September 1960 as the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
The ship provided a record 51 consecutive years of service to the Navy and completed its final deployment in 2012, just before being inactivated.
The ship was officially decommissioned on February 3, 2017.
Now a data system from the Enterprise will find new life on the Navy's newest aircraft, the future USS John F. Kennedy.
The AN/USQ-167 Common Data Link System (CDLS) was salvaged from the Enterprise and refurbished and updated by Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport Detachment San Diego’s Fleet Test and Evaluation Center.
The system allows aircraft carriers to received, process, and evaluate data from land and shipboard bases USW aircraft.
“Live testing, consisting of both on-deck and in-flight operations, were successfully conducted, proving the next generation common data link system increased capabilities were operationally sound. This proven upgrade is now slated to be retrofitted on all US aircraft carriers," explained Fleet Test and Evaluation Center Engineering Technician Dave McKae in a Navy release.
The Navy says it saved about $1.8 million by not having to purchase a brand new unit.
The system is expected to be installed on the Kennedy next year.
It's not the first piece of the Enterprise to find new life on other aircraft carriers.
One of the anchors from The Big E was installed on the USS George Washington last year as it undergoes mid-life refueling and overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding.
The port side anchor from Enterprise was installed on the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2014 as the Lincoln underwent its own refueling period in Newport News.
The name Enterprise will also live on. CVN-80, a Ford-class carrier currently under construction in Newport News, will carry on the name.