Thursday, May 18, 2017

Aircraft Carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) - Update

After completing a round of trials with shipbuilders at Newport News Shipbuilding, the US Navy finally has its hands on the USS Gerald R. Ford, the futuristic new aircraft carrier that promises a new area of naval aviation. Now, the Navy plans to send the Ford out to sea by Memorial Day for the first round of at-sea acceptance trials.

The Ford's electromagnetic aircraft launch system, which has been plagued by development setbacks, has been criticized directly by President Donald Trump himself, who bashed the system in favor of the older, steam-powered system. "You going to goddamned steam," Trump told TIME.
The USS Gerald R. Ford 'supercarrier' is 99 percent complete the USN reports. The lead ship in the Navy's new class of "supercarriers," the $12.9 billion nuclear-powered warship can be measured in acres rather than square feet -- 4.5 acres, to be precise. It weighs 100,000 tons.

Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is 99 percent overall complete with 93 percent of the test program complete (93 percent Hull, Mechanical & Electrical, 92 percent propulsion testing, and 93 percent electronics testing). Sea trials are scheduled for March 2017, followed by "acceptance trials" and delivery in April, assuming the trials go well.
With weeks to go, the Navy's most-expensive aircraft carrier is on track to miss the service's November delivery deadline. That's the latest slip for the $12.9 billion USS Gerald R. Ford. The carrier was originally expected to be delivered in 2014 but has been beset by delays, cost overruns and technological problems with unproven, untested systems.

In June and again in July, two of Ford's electricity-generating main turbines experienced issues. As of August, the Ford was 98 percent complete. The shipbuilder had turned over 98 percent of the ship's compartments and 91 percent of the overall shipboard testing was finished. "We continue to look for opportunities to get Gerald R. Ford to sea as soon as possible,"
The USS Gerald R. Ford, the Pentagon’s largest and most advanced aircraft carrier, is two years late for delivery, $2.9 billion over budget, and is “not fit for combat.” It is the most expensive warship ever built, coming in at $12.9 billion.

Right this minute the ship can’t launch and recover aircraft, can’t mount a defense, and can’t transport bombs around the ship. In other words, the core functions of an aircraft carrier cannot be met. The Pentagon is hoping that it will all be fixed and delivered before November.

"As delivery of (Ford) approaches later this year, my concerns about the reliability of these systems remain and the risk to the ship's ability to succeed in combat grows as these reliability issues remain unresolved"
Some argue the US military budget has far less to do with defending the United States than it does to further enrich entrenched military contractors. Politicians are under intense pressure to push weapons systems that produce “jobs” for their districts. An example is the disastrously expensive F-35 fighter that is built in 45 states and several foreign countries.

Last October, the Pentagon's chief weapons tester expressed serious concerns about the reliability of key systems on the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford.