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Russia Almost Built an 85,000 Ton Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier

But the Ulyanovsk is a tantalizing “almost” of history. Moscow never finished the project, because it ran out of money. As the Cold War ended, Russia plunged into years of economic hardship that made building new ships impossible.

The Ulyanovsk died in the scrap yards in 1992. But now the Kremlin is spending billions of rubles modernizing its military—and wants a new supercarrier to rival the United States.

When to Shoot a Nuclear Bomb With Your Gun

The year is 1960 and a congressional delegation is touring military bases in Western Europe to evaluate custody and safety issues associated with U.S. nuclear weapons.

With the delegation is a scientist named Harold Agnew—and he’s not just another congressional staffer. Agnew helped build the world’s first nuclear reactor, served as the official scientific observer during the mission that dropped the Hiroshima bomb and at the time was the science adviser to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe—the military head of NATO.

Watch This Massive U.S. Aircraft Carrier Turn on a Dime

The USS Abraham Lincoln is objectively not the most nimble vehicle in the Pentagon’s arsenal. At 1,092 feet long, 252 feet wide and nearly 1,000 tons of naval engineering expertise, the nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft carrier wasn’t designed to chase Russian submarines or blow up Somali pirates, but to serve as a floating hub for American airpower across the planet. Its motto of “shall not perish,” culled from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, is no wishful thinking: the Lincoln wasn’t just built to fight, but endure.

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