The U.S. Navy’s Supreme Admiral admits that they packed too many new technologies into their new aircraft carriers.

Impact test of Navy aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford

US Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford during the third and final impact test in the Atlantic Ocean, August 8, 2021. US Navy / MCS3 Novary Man Zera

  • USS Gerald R. Ford, the latest US Navy aircraft carrier, has suffered years of delays and cost overruns.

  • According to the Navy’s chief executive, this was partly due to the fact that many technologies were not tested on board.

  • “The ship was equipped with 23 new technologies, which frankly increased the risk … right from the start,” said Admiral Michael Gildi.

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This month, the US Navy’s latest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R Ford, was successfully completed. That shock trial.. Third and last 40,000 pounds explosive exploded There were no major injuries, floods or fires near Ford’s hull.

“There were no catastrophic breakdowns of the ship, no floods, no fires, and that’s very important,” said Captain Paul Langirotta, Ford’s commander. Told reporters..

The Shock Trial is the latest milestone for airlines that have suffered years of delays and cost overruns-many new that the Navy has chosen to be among the top officers of services, the latest class airlines. Approved in July for a setback caused at least partially by the system.

and interview At a Navy League event, Chief of Naval Operations Michael Gildi said the Navy was too ambitious for Ford’s new technology.

“The ship was equipped with 23 new technologies, which, frankly, increased the risk of delivering on time and incurring costs from the beginning,” Gildi said.

“In order to keep risk at a manageable level, we should not introduce one or more new technologies on such complex platforms,” Gilday added.

New science and technology

Navy aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford sailor EMALS

Sailors will lubricate the electromagnetic catapult onboard Ford on July 28, 2017. US Navy / MCS3 Joshua Murray

The Force Class aims to modernize aircraft carrier operations for a new era, with 23 new technologies on board Ford for faster aircraft sorties and smaller crews, including Nimitz-class aircraft. Many improvements have been made compared to its predecessor.

The most well-known addition is Electromagnetic catapult system When Advanced arresting gear..

The four catapults on board the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier are steam-powered, while Ford’s EMALS uses linear induction motors. The new catapult is more efficient than steam-powered catapults and launches fixed-wing aircraft more smoothly and at much faster speeds.

AAG has advantages over its predecessor, the Mark-7 hydraulic arresting gear.

The turbo electrical system, AAG, has digital controls that allow it to self-diagnose and send maintenance alerts, requiring less personnel and time for maintenance.

Navy Aircraft Carrier Advanced Arresting Gear E-2D Hawkeye

On January 18, 2020, one of Ford’s advanced arresting gear wires will catch the E-2D advanced Hawkeye on landing. US Navy / MCS Sailor Apprentice Angel Twijas Croschi

The new arresting gear can handle a wider range of aircraft weights. In short, AAG and EMALS ensure that Navy aircraft carriers can launch and land both manned and landed. Unmanned aerial vehicle..

Ford also features a new elevator system designed with larger and more complex smart ammunition in mind. Ford’s 11 elevators are specially constructed and placed within the carrier to reduce the time it takes to move weapons from the ship’s magazine to the flight deck.

Ford new Dual band radar The system can operate in two frequency ranges at the same time. Unlike Nimitz-class systems, the DBR does not have a rotating antenna, which makes it more reliable and easier to maintain.

In addition, Ford is enhancing the new system with two newly designed systems. A1B reactor It can generate almost three times as much power as the A4W reactor used in Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.

New problem

Navy aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford Elevator

Admiral Mike Gildi leaning on the railing observes one of Ford’s advanced weapons elevators on August 28, 2019. US Navy / MCS Seaman The Curry Melvin

The new system enhances Ford’s capabilities and reduces the number of crew required to operate it-approximately 4,500 compared to the approximately 5,000 crew and aviators required for a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.

However, there were some problems with the new technology.For example, EMALS repeats We’re screwed, And AAG have also failed many times.

According to the report, one AAG failure took seven days to fix, but two individual failures took individual EMALS catapults offline for three days. report From the Congressional Research Service.

Probably the most annoying system It’s an elevator, Has been annoying my career since 2018.

Elevator failures and late deadlines delayed Ford’s first planned deployment, and carriers had to perform impact tests without all of them working.The Navy is currently saying all 11 elevators I am ready By the end of 2021.

Navy aircraft carrier Ford Radar

Seafarers assigned to Ford’s Combat Systems Division will carry out regular radar maintenance on Ford Island on May 12, 2020. US Navy / MCS3 The Curry Melvin

Ford’s DBR system also has reliability issues and plans to include it in other Ford-class carriers waste 2015 after the maintenance costs turned out to be high

Than other options.

Gildi said last month that some of the issues might have been easier to fix if the Navy first tested the new technology on land.

“One of the things I learned from the Ford program was the importance of land testing on the new system before it was introduced into the fleet,” he said, citing the elevator as a prime example. ..

Ford’s other systems Test on land, And Gildi said the Navy has already devoted money to land testing of its new constellation-class frigate.

Ford is also a victim of the delay of the F-35C, a carrier variant of the stealth fighter. Currently, the F-35C can only be operated on USS Carl Vinson, one of the Navy’s 11 aircraft carriers.

Competent career

Navy aircraft carrier Ford Italian aircraft carrier Cavour

USS Gerald R Ford and Italian aircraft carrier ITS Cavour, Atlantic Ocean, March 20, 2021. US Navy / MCS3 Riley McDowell

Despite the setbacks, USS Gerald R. Ford is shaping to become a competent career.

Maj. Gen. James Downey, Executive Officer of the Navy’s Aircraft Carrier Program, Said Ford’s development is “well-predicted” and naval authorities are aiming to deploy it in 2022.

In addition to elevator advances, the EMALS and AAG systems have improved, with more than 8,000 catapult shots and arrested landings in Ford so far.

F-35C too Deployment The Marines got on the USS Carl Vinson for the first time last week Said Its first F-35C squadron is ready for battle.Navy now scheduleNS Reduce the number of F-35C squadrons in each wing from 2 to 1 and increase the number of squadron aircraft from 10 to 14.

Ford development issues Lessons for the next three Ford-class aircraft carriers: USS John F. Kennedy, USS Enterprise, USS Doris Miller. It will be delivered in 2024, 2028, and 2032, respectively.

Ford has spent about 50% of the past year at sea, Gildi said last month.

“Therefore, she has been operating much longer than most other vessels in the fleet over the past year and has performed very well,” Gildi said. “We’ve been trying to provide or place her in an environment where she can rigorously test all these systems, and they’re doing very well.”

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