USS Gerald Ford: The latest warship in the Navy fleet
A look at some of the state-of-the-art features in the USS Gerald Ford, the latest warship in the Navy and the impressive fleet
The Navy is finalizing plans for the construction of the fourth Ford-Class aircraft carrier in the mid-2020 as an important step in a long-term plan to extend the surface warfare power projection for the next 100 years – all in the 2100s.
This fourth carrier, called CVN 81, the Navy’s current process for acquiring a new class of next generation carriers designed to support the ability to launch air attacks from the ocean in increasingly dangerous modern threat environments.
“The acquisition of CVN 81 is currently scheduled for inclusion in the 2023 budget,” William Bank, spokesperson of the Naval Sea Systems Command, told the Warrior Maven.
While the Bank stresses that the financing will be approval of the Congress, he did specify the main elements of the Navy’s Ford-Class strategy.
The first, the USS Ford, is now completed, and the preparation of the operational service. The second Ford-Class carrier, the USS Kennedy, is more than 80 percent built, and the third Ford-class carrier will be named the USS Enterprise.
The USS Kennedy will be the place of the USS Nimitz, which is due to retire by 2027; the Ford-class carriers are planned to replace the existing Nimitz-class carriers on a one-to-one basis in an incremental fashion for the next 50 years or more.
As a result, the Navy is making a specific effort to accelerate the sale of the Ford-class carrier by exploring the possibility of buying the third and fourth Ford-class carriers at the same time.
“The Navy took a CVN 80/81 two-ship purchase Request for Proposal to Huntington Ingalls Industries – to be determined by the cost savings achievable with a potential two-ship buy. The Navy was TODAY, the answer of 1 May, and will, in its procurement planning for both ships,” the Bank said.
The streamlining of the acquisition of the Ford-class also, of course, brings the advantage of possible speed up the construction and delivery of the new ships, something of significance to the Navy, quickly followed effort to achieve a 355-ships of the fleet.
of this strategy is expressed in the Marine recent 2019 30-year shipbuilding plan, called the “Report to the Congress on the Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval vessels for Fiscal Year 2019.”
The plan says the Navy is working on “the determination of the conditions for a sustainable industrial base as the top priority, so the Navy is postured to respond to more aggressive investments in a year.”
Efforts to control transportation costs has long been a challenge for the Navy. A few years ago, the Navy received substantial criticism from the lawmakers and government watchdog groups during the construction of the USS Ford for the rising costs. The construction of the USS Ford liquidation several billion above the beginning of the cost estimates. The cost overruns in the construction of the winding-up of leading Congress to impose a $12.9 billion cost cap on the ship.
At the time, Navy officials pointed out that the integration of new technologies brings challenges, and that at least $3 billion of the Ford’s costs were due to what is described as non-recurring engineering costs for a first-in-class ship such as this.
For example, Ford-class carriers are built with a larger flight deck able to increase the sortie generation rate of 33 percent, an electromagnetic catapult to replace the current steam system and much more levels of automation or computer control of the entire ship. The ship is also designed to new sensors, software, weapons and combat systems, as they occur, Navy officials have said.
The USS Ford is built with four 26-megawatt generators, with which a total of 104 megawatts to the ship. This helps support the ship’s developing systems such as the Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System, or EMALS, and provides power for future systems such as lasers and rail-guns, a lot of Marine senior leaders have explained.
HII ship developers are making an aggressive attempt to reduce the cost of the USS Kennedy. Officials have said that the cost of the USS Kennedy will be more than $1.5 billion less than the costs for the construction of the first Ford-Class ship.
One of the techniques for Kennedy construction has included efforts to assemble boxes, and parts of the ship together before moving them to the dock – this facilitates construction by allowing builders to integrate into larger parts of the ship faster.
This technique is referred to by Huntington Ingalls developers as “system construction” was also used in the construction of the Ford; the process of welding smaller sections of the ship together in larger structural “super lift” units before it is lifted into the dry dock, HII statements explained.
The construction starts with the bottom of the ship and works up with inner-bottom and side shells before moving to box units, he explained. The lower third of the vessel will be built on the first. Also, some of the methodologies that are now used for the Kennedy of his efforts to fabricate or forge some parts of the ship, instead of casting them, because it makes the process less expensive, builders explained.
Also Newport News Shipbuilding – a division of HII was able to buy larger quantities of parts earlier in the construction process with the Kennedy because, unlike the situation during the construction of the USS Ford, the Kennedy’s ship design was complete before construction begins.
As for the design, the Kennedy will be largely similar to the design of the USS Ford, with a few small changes. The Kennedy is given a new radar and its aircraft lifts, the use of electric motors instead of a hydraulic system to lower costs.
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