One of the largest and most modern US Navy nuclear aircraft carriers, USS Ronald Reagan is currently in the South Atlantic after leaving Norfolk in the East coast and heading for her homeport in San Diego, California.
The 97,000 tons displacement Nimitz class carrier commissioned July 2003 and which cost 4,5 billion US dollars has exercises scheduled with "blue water" regional navies as she contours the South American continent and Cape Horn, among which Brazil, Argentina and Chile.
This week is Argentina's Navy turn and the name of the exercise "Gringo-Gaucho", with Argentine aircraft basically approaching the floating city of 5,500 people and 80 aircrafts, and simulating landings.
In South America after the decommissioning in 1996 of the Argentine Navy "25 de Mayo", only Brazil has an aircraft carrier, "Sao Paulo", which until 2002 was jointly used by Brazilian and Argentine naval aircrafts for training exercises.
The "Gringo-Gaucho" exercise takes place to the south east of Bahía Blanca and the Argentines will be participating with Super Etendard fighters, submarine tracking airplanes plus a corvette, ARA Spiro, equipped with an Alouette helicopter.
Argentine authorities, high ranking officers and naval personnel have been invited aboard the USS Ronald Reagan to follow details of the exercise.
In the nineties several other US carriers, too large to cross the Panama Canal have sailed along the South Atlantic among which USS Enterprise, USS Constellation, USS Lincoln, USS Kitty Hawk.
USS Ronald Reagan is powered by two nuclear reactors that can operate for more than 20 years without refuelling and with top speed exceeding 30 knots.
She is 1092 feet long with a flight deck of 4,5 acres with three arresting cables which can stop a 28 ton aircraft going 150 miles per hour in less than 400 feet and four high speed aircraft elevators, each over 4,000 sq. ft. each. She has four bronze each 21 feet across propellers weighing 66,000 pounds and two rudders, each 29 and 22 feet, weighing 50 tons.
USS Ronald Reagan carries enough food and supplies to operate 90 days and serves 18,150 meals daily. She has a distilling plant providing 400,000 gallons of fresh water daily, nearly 30,000 light fixtures and 1,325 miles of cable and wiring, plus 1,400 telephones.