Friday, June 16, 2017

New $13 Billion Aircraft Carrier USS Gerald R. Ford can't launch planes

The newest and costliest U.S. aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford has been dogged by trouble with minor fundamentals: launching jets from its deck and catching them when they land. The system used to capture jets landing on the USS Gerald R. Ford ballooned in cost, tripling to $961 million from $301 million.

While the Navy says the landing system has been fixed, the carrier still hasn’t been cleared to launch F/A-18 jets carrying a full complement of fuel tanks under their wings ... a critical handicap.
Even Trump scoffed at the carrier’s troubled electromagnetic launch system in a Time magazine interview last month, saying it doesn’t work and “you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out.” Saying the Navy should stick with a steam-driven catapult, he added, “The digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.” Until the catapult problem, which was discovered in 2014, is resolved it limits how much combat fuel can be carried in planes being launched from the carrier’s deck. The Navy still has time to fix the catapult issue. Though the Ford has been delivered, the ship is not scheduled to be declared ready for operations until 2020.