While airplanes can turn quite fast (30 deg/sec) ships are much more limited. There is also a problem as to an absolute minimum turning time (i.e. dodging a torpedo) versus a practical turning time (conducting flight ops with jets on board, etc). Few people will notice 1 degree per second which is easy to do at 30 kts, so 180 degrees would take about 3 minutes and operations could continue. This is a very realistic answer as the carrier must counter sea currents which may need 1 degree/sec of rudder. If nothing is loose on deck, MUCH more agressive turns can be taken as the deck will tilt 30 degrees into the turn. Anything not tied down will roll off into the ocean, i.e. equipment, airplanes, people, etc, and no planes could land or take off with such a turn in progress. These turns are done on first sea trials to prove that the rudder can handle the stress of a tight turn at max speed. Here I would estimate a full U turn (180 degrees) in well under 60 seconds, probably 30 seconds, but you'd want to hold onto something. Realize that in 24 hours an aircraft carrier can be 700+ miles away - that is a totally unrealistic figure just to turn around. Future ships with bow thrusters will be even more manuverable.
US Navy sea trials on George W Bush
· 1 decade ago