$12.9 Billion U.S. Supercarrier Faces More Setbacks131011-N-KK576-015 NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Oct. 11, 2013) Newport News Shipbuilding floods Dry Dock 12 to float the first in class aircraft carrier, Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua J. Wahl/Released)
The world’s most expensive warship ever built is not yet ready for warfare and will be delayed.
According to a memo obtained by Bloomberg News on June 28, the $12.9 billion USS Gerald R Ford could have difficulties launching and recovering aircraft, moving military weapons and defending itself. The memo states that there are “poor or unknown reliability issues” with the warship.
‘These four systems affect major areas of flight operations,’ Defense Department Director of Operational Test and Evaluation Michael Gilmore wrote to Pentagon and Navy weapons buyers, according to Bloomberg News. “Unless these issues are resolved, which would likely require redesigning, they will significantly limit the CVN-78’s ability to conduct combat operations.”
“Based on current reliability estimates, the CVN-78 is unlikely to conduct high-intensity flight operations” such as a requirement for four days of 24-hour surge operations “at the outset of a war,” Gilmore wrote.
A Navy report indicates that the carrier can only conduct 400 launches before critical launches will occur, which is “well below the requirement” of 4,166 Gilmore wrote.
Gilmore wrote that the Navy determined that the carrier “has less than a 7 percent chance of completing the four-day combat surge” plan.
Senator John McCain scolded an announcement last week that said that the ship would not be ready until November 2016, which is more than two years after it was originally supposed to be finished.
“The Navy’s announcement of another two-month delay in the delivery of CVN-78 further demonstrates that key systems still have not demonstrated expected performance,’ McCain said in a statement.
The advanced arresting gear (AAG) cannot recover airplanes. Advanced weapons elevators cannot lift munitions. The dual-band radar cannot integrate two radar bands. Even if everything goes according to the Navy’s plan, CVN-78 will be delivered with multiple systems unproven.
This situation is unacceptable and was entirely preventable. 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.”
Huntington Ingalls Industries was given the job to begin building the ship back in 2007 in Newport News, Virginia.
In 2013, the ship was estimated to cost $12.8 billion. In 2008, the ship was estimated to cost slightly over $10 billion.
The ship, when finished will be able to nearly invisible to enemy radar, carry 4,000 Navy sailors and marines and launch 220 airstrikes in a day.
Two other ships will join the Ford Class: the USS John F. Kennedy and a new USS Enterprize. The total cost of the three ships will be $43 billion.