USS Gerald R Ford not combat ready

Discussion in 'Modern' started by Thorlifter, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    U.S. Navy's new $13B aircraft carrier can't fight - CNNPolitics.com

    (CNN)The $13-billion USS Gerald R. Ford is already two years behind schedule, and the U.S. Navy's newest aircraft carrier is facing more delays after the Pentagon's top weapons tester concluded the ship is still not ready for combat despite expectations it would be delivered to the fleet this September.

    According to a June 28 memo obtained by CNN, Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department's director of operational test and evaluation, said the most expensive warship in history continues to struggle launching and recovering aircraft, moving onboard munitions, conducting air traffic control and with ship self-defense.

    "These four systems affect major areas of flight operations," Gilmore wrote in his report to Pentagon and Navy weapons buyers Frank Kendall and Sean Stackley. "Unless these issues are resolved ... they will significantly limit CVN-78's ability to conduct combat operations."

    Fixing these problems would likely require redesigning the carrier's aircraft launch and recovery systems, according to Gilmore, a process that could result in another delay for a ship that was expected to join the fleet in September 2014.
    The Navy has operated 10 carriers since the retirement of the USS Enterprise in 2012.

    Commanders said delays to the USS Gerald R. Ford have resulted in extended deployments for the operational carriers in order for the Navy to meet its commitments around the world, placing additional stress on sailors and crew members.

    The report comes just days after the Navy announced the Ford will not be delivered before November 2016 due to unspecified testing issues, walking back testimony from April in which Stackley told Congress the Ford would be ready by September. It was first reported on by Bloomberg. Now that delivery date could be pushed to 2017, according to the Navy.

    "Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System testing was successfully completed in May 2016 and testing of the Dual Band Radar, Advanced Weapons Elevator are projected to complete in time to support upcoming sea trials and first aircraft operations scheduled for early next year," a Navy official told CNN.

    Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, slammed the latest delay as "unacceptable" and "entirely avoidable" in a statement earlier this month.

    "The Ford-class program is a case study in why our acquisition system must be reformed -- unrealistic business cases, poor cost estimates, new systems rushed to production, concurrent design and construction, and problems testing systems to demonstrate promised capability," McCain said.

    The USS Gerald Ford is the first of three Ford-class carriers ordered by the Navy with combined cost expected close to $42 billion.

    "After more than $2.3 billion in cost overruns have increased its cost to nearly $13 billion, the taxpayers deserve to know when CVN-78 will actually be delivered, how much developmental risk remains in the program, if cost overruns will continue, and who is being held accountable," he added.

    But officials from both the Navy and Department of Defense said the issues keeping the 1,100- foot supercarrier from active duty are the result of decisions made when the Pentagon committed to building the advanced ship in 2008.
    "The decision to proceed with these three systems was made many years ago, prior to their maturation, when transformational approaches to acquisition were a DOD policy," said Mark Wright, a Defense Department spokesman. "This report from Dr. Gilmore clarifies concerns he had previously raised on this program."

    As the first new carrier design in 40 years, the USS Gerald R. Ford incorporates new technology and operational systems that will allow it to have a higher aircraft launch and recovery rate, reduced manning, and improved survivability against projected threats.

    [​IMG]

    But choosing to integrate and test developmental systems "compounded the inherent challenges of a first-in-class design," and significantly contributed the program's delays, according to a statement from the Navy.
    A comprehensive test program was developed to address the integration of these technologies through which "steady progress is being made to retire technical issues," the Navy said.

    To date, construction on the Ford is 98 percent complete with 88 percent of the test program finished. Despite delays to the USS Gerald R. Ford's delivery, the Navy says that the Ford-class carriers will yield a $4 billion reduction per ship cost as compared to its predecessor, the Nimitz Class.

    The next carrier in the Ford class, the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), is scheduled to launch in 2020. That ship was 18% percent complete as of March.
    [​IMG]

    The third Ford-class carrier, the USS Enterprise (CVN 80), is set to begin construction in 2018.

    Including the new carriers, the Navy hopes to spend $81.3 billion to build 38 new warships, including the first replacement for the aging Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, nine Virginia-class attack submarines, 10 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and smaller numbers of other surface ships.

    The goal of the building plan is to have a Navy battle force of 308 ships by 2021, according to Stackley's testimony in April.
     
  2. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Any new, state-of-the-art system will have bugs - it's the nature of the beast, but I have to laugh every time I see a report on a new warship, bomber or fighter: "The most expensive (insert military vehicle name here) in history"...

    Yes, it's the most expensive, because the cost of every thing is more now than it was 5, 10 20 or 50 years ago.

    How about the news articles start stating "most expensive Chevrolet in history unveiled at auto show", "Burger King to add most expensive Cheeseburger in history to it's menu" or "contractors complete most expensive 2 bedroom home in history" for a change? :lol:
     
  3. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    So here is a crazy question. During WW2, America was producing a carrier in what, 14 or 15 months? Given the same scenario, but present day, how fast could a CV be produced considering it's been 6 years so far to make the Gerald Ford? You think they could do it in under 2 years?
     
  4. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    not less than 5 years, but the parameters governing a hot war between super powers, such as occurred in WWII have also changed fundamentally. A hot war between modern armies should be over in days or weeks.

    The long drawn out affairs that we've managed to get ourselves embroiled in since 1945 run contrary to this I know, but they are all 'limited wars, in which losses are controlled. Say we lost a carrier in those engagements, worst case is that we would pull out of the conflict.

    The US actually spent most of the war with a very limited number of fleet carriers. Maybe 5 or 6 added to about June 1944. between June '44 and the end of 1945, something like 17 were added, not including the CVLs.

    CVEs was where the really big expansion occurred, something like 100 built, of which about 50 were in commission by June 1944. There are no modern equivalents that exactly fit the criteria applicable to CVEs, but the nearest modern day equivalents might be small cheap CVHs or STOVL carriers, the exact form of which vary considerably. if a long war of attrition were to develop (an unlikely scenario) it would be CVhs equipped with F-35s and ASW Helos that would form the backbone of any expansion. Such expansion would be slow, as the production of F-35s alone would be very limited. And then you have the issue of pilots. WWII pilots might have 350 hrs of training, modern pilots usually average around 3000 hrs
     
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  5. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    I dont know about the USA but the UK carriers are scheduled to keep people in work until the next job starts.
     
  6. Token

    Token Active Member

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    Let's see, first in a new line of new ships, ships with significant departures in technology from how it has been done for the past 50+ years. As the article claims, the most expensive such ship in history, what it does not say is also the most complex such ship in history.


    "struggle launching and recovering aircraft", that would be two of the newest systems on board, the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System and the Advanced Arresting Gear. Both systems have only been done on smaller scale than is currently being attempted. Yes, it is going to take time to hammer out the details. Look at the development efforts that went into the systems they are replacing, although those systems are now commonplace they each took years to fine tune to the performance levels of the last generation of ships.


    "conducting air traffic control and with ship self-defense", that would involve two other new systems that have been used on no other platforms. Between the first of its kind Ship Self-Defense System (other SSDS's exist on other platforms, but not like this one) and the completely new, first and maybe only, of its kind Dual Band Radar version of the full blown SPY-3 and Volume Search Radar combination, it might take a while to hammer all the details out. These are ambitious projects.


    The issue with such reports is this (and it happens with every major development effort), these reports try to assess the current condition of the development. No new system is ever 100% perfect from day one, so you point out the shortcomings and then work towards improvements. If you never document the issues, no matter how minor, they never get improved. When you do document the issues for such a major, complex, and expensive, effort, someone will get hold of that information and try to spin it into a failure, instead of the documentation of a way forward.


    New developments follow a path, correcting issues with implementation of new technologies are part of that path. They don't get corrected if you don't document.

    T!
     
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