The US Navy’s $13 billion dollar next-generation USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier has slipped behind schedule and over budget while the other 10 aircraft carriers are overworked — so they may skip an important step to get her deployed faster.
Each new type of US Navy ship undergoes shock trials, where it detonates large explosives near the ship to make sure it can take the strain, though the first ship in every class doesn’t always undergo such testing.
In the case of the Ford, the House Armed Services Committee’s Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee is letting the Navy off the hook for shock testing the Ford, according to Defense News.
The result is that the Navy could deploy the Ford as early as 2020, about when it had originally hoped for. It would also give the Navy more time to work out kinks in the new aircraft launching and recovering systems that have dogged engineers and caused massive cost overruns.
“Once the Ford comes online you can have the East Coast carriers essentially cover the Middle East with short gaps and have the West Coast carriers fill the gaps in the Pacific while [the carrier] Reagan is in its spring maintenance availability,” Bryan Clark, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments told Defense News.