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Gerald R. Ford Class CVN

sferrin

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They're not changing them. :rolleyes: Much as I like Trump he really ought to listen to the real experts instead of the fake ones in the media. Hell, if they tried to change them it would probably kill the program due to the cost explosion.
 

Moose

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The Navy seems to be in a bit of a panic there.
If issues an order they're in a deep hole until he's out in January 2021, they'll either waste a bank on design change work they'll never use or they'll delay advance work on the next CVN until the order is rescinded by his successor, obviously neither is anywhere close to ideal. There's also the option of just ignoring the order, but that's a gamble on the hope that the President isn't vindictive enough to punish Navy leadership for blowing it off, or getting Congress to mandate EMALs in law, which is a gamble on the hope that enough Republicans will defy their Party's messiah to override his veto. Panic is not uncalled for.
 

Grey Havoc

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If issues an order they're in a deep hole until he's out in January 2021, they'll either waste a bank on design change work they'll never use or they'll delay advance work on the next CVN until the order is rescinded by his successor, obviously neither is anywhere close to ideal.
You're assuming there that he won't be re-elected. Given the way that the Democrats appear to be throwing away their recent electoral gains (so much so that they may even end up losing the House of Representatives in the next election), not to mention the traditional advantage of an incumbent, that may not be a safe bet at all.
 

sferrin

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If issues an order they're in a deep hole until he's out in January 2021, they'll either waste a bank on design change work they'll never use or they'll delay advance work on the next CVN until the order is rescinded by his successor, obviously neither is anywhere close to ideal.
You're assuming there that he won't be re-elected. Given the way that the Democrats appear to be throwing away their recent electoral gains (so much so that they may even end up losing the House of Representatives in the next election), not to mention the traditional advantage of an incumbent, that may not be a safe bet at all.
The only thing that could throw a wrench in the works is social media and the press are in the tank for the democrats, and aren't shy about shutting down conservative speech. 2020 won't be boring, that's for sure.

In the mean time, there's not a chance in hell the Fords will be converted to steam. Somebody will, "show him the light" and that will be that.
 
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Arjen

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Ripping out EMALS from CVN-78 is not going to happen. Reworking the soon-to-be-launched CVN-79 - very unlikely. It would cost billions, with the president saying he wants to save money. Redesign CVN-80? I recall several forum members lamenting the DoD's inclination to ditch technology before giving it a fair chance. On the other hand: ditch EMALS, then flog USS Gerald R Ford and USS John F Kennedy as floating casinos...
 

Arjen

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Wait and see.
 

Moose

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If issues an order they're in a deep hole until he's out in January 2021, they'll either waste a bank on design change work they'll never use or they'll delay advance work on the next CVN until the order is rescinded by his successor, obviously neither is anywhere close to ideal.
You're assuming there that he won't be re-elected. Given the way that the Democrats appear to be throwing away their recent electoral gains (so much so that they may even end up losing the House of Representatives in the next election), not to mention the traditional advantage of an incumbent, that may not be a safe bet at all.
The comment was more meant to be seen as a "best case, this is the sorta scramble they're looking at should he issue the order he just said he would issue" than a guarantee of an electoral outcome. Lord knows, there's far too many factors and outcomes down that road to make a certain call today.
 

bring_it_on

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Constantly bashing EMALS and threatening to rip it out and go back to steam seems very strange given that we're probably assisting two other nations in deciding on a potential sale of the technology for future carrier application.
 

RanulfC

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The Navy seems to be in a bit of a panic there.
Don't really see that, why do you think so? They are looking at an admited non-technically inclined President who's siezed on an idea he thinks is 'better' for which there is little actual support to his argument. Even if he does "order" them to change, (which has to go through Congress who has to authorize the expenditure which they are unlikely to do since it would delay delivery and greatly increase the cost) it can not be carried out in any time-frame where he'd be in office so it's actually a non-issue. Smile and say "yes sir" and carry on which is what we do 90% of the time when a politician thinks he's making an 'informed' decsion and he's not.

Randy
 

RanulfC

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Stranger things have happened though.
Yep and I'd not put it past Trump to pull a Truman, (another "non-technical" President) and if reelected just cancle the entire CVN-78+ program and scrap them on the spot. Then tell the Navy to start from scratch WITH steam this time. It would be monumentally stupid and short-sighted but that's not something that Trump would care about.

As I noted above it really doesn't matter what he thinks or wants even if he gets reelected he's on his way out the day he re-takes the oath of office. Some delays, some fancy shuffling and then carry on and delivery is only delayed a few years at worst. And that's assuming Congress goes along with him which is questionable since they tend to "talk" his line and then do what they need/want to do behind his back.

Randy
 

SpudmanWP

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Writes up the order to begin the study to move to steam on Feb 1st, 2025.

Worst case, rip it up on Jan 31st.
 

Grey Havoc

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The comment was more meant to be seen as a "best case, this is the sorta scramble they're looking at should he issue the order he just said he would issue" than a guarantee of an electoral outcome. Lord knows, there's far too many factors and outcomes down that road to make a certain call today.
My apologies, should have realised.

With regards as to EMALS, another complicating factor is that support for it within Congress is not as solid as one would like, even allowing for the shenanigans of the 'Diversity, not Defense!' crowd & other anti-defence political elements. And that's even before we get to the Gerald R. Ford program in general.
 

sferrin

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The comment was more meant to be seen as a "best case, this is the sorta scramble they're looking at should he issue the order he just said he would issue" than a guarantee of an electoral outcome. Lord knows, there's far too many factors and outcomes down that road to make a certain call today.
My apologies, should have realised.

With regards as to EMALS, another complicating factor is that support for it within Congress is not as solid as one would like, even allowing for the shenanigans of the 'Diversity, not Defense!' crowd & other anti-defence political elements. And that's even before we get to the Gerald R. Ford program in general.

I'd wager any lack of support is NOT due to technical knowledge. My money is that it comes down to two things: 1. Ignorance. 2. Willfully twisting the facts for news coverage. One thing that used to pi$$ me off about McCain is that anytime there was a flaw (real or perceived) in some weapon he'd scream for a camera and a soapbox so he could beat it up on camera and get his headlines. EMALS is the future, and getting it solid isn't going to happen by giving up. It never ceases to amaze me how often the ignorant think a problem will magically fix itself if we cancel it.
 

Grey Havoc

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Grey Havoc

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Sorry, Bloomberg recently put in that as an anti-bot feature, it's pretty annoying. Here's the opening of the article:
Only two of 11 elevators needed to lift munitions to the deck of the U.S. Navy’s new $13 billion aircraft carrier have been fully installed, according to a Navy veteran who serves on a key House committee.

“I don’t see an end in sight right now” to getting all the elevators working on the USS Gerald R. Ford, the costliest warship ever, Democratic Representative Elaine Luria of Virginia said in an interview. The ship was supposed to be delivered with the Advanced Weapons Elevators, which are moved by magnets rather than cables, working in May 2017.

It’s another setback for contractor Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. -- and for the Navy, which had said in December it planned to complete installation and testing of all 11 elevators before the Ford completed its post-delivery shakedown phase this month, with at least half certified for operation.

Instead, the shakedown phase has been extended to October and the vessel won’t have all the elevators fully installed -- much less functioning -- by then, according to Luria, a 20-year Navy surface warfare officer whose served on two aircraft carriers and as shore maintenance coordinator for a third.

“Essentially, the ship can’t deploy,” Luria said. “It can’t carry ammunition.” She said the Navy and Huntington Ingalls are trying to solve new problems with doors and hatches lining elevators shafts that don’t meet specifications.
 

fredymac

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7 of 11 elevators are operating (~1:15 mark). 4 of them are certified. Remainder in various stages of testing.

 
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seruriermarshal

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Carrier Ford Turns the Corner, Officials Say
BY MARK D. FARAM NAVY NEWS
On Board the USS Gerald R. Ford — The skipper of the world’s most technologically advanced aircraft carrier says the ship has”absolutely” turned the corner and is now ready to work towards full operational status.

After a 15-month stint back in the shipyard where the ship was built, most of its plethora of new technology is now up and running. The ship is now ready to begin advanced trials as the crew and the Navy will now learn how to take Ford’s high-tech gear to the next level and earn a spot in the deployment rotation.

Capt. John J. “Yank” Cummings, a career fighter pilot, took the helm of the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford just days after she ship arrived back at the Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipyard last summer. Now, he’s says he and his crew are happy the ship is nearing a clean bill of health.


Naval Station, Norfolk — The aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford prepares to pull into Pier 11 at Naval Station Norfolk, after a successful sea trials. (Mark D. Faram)
Cummings talked to media on boar the ship today, moments after their five-day at sea period ended as the ship tied up at Naval Station Norfolk’s Pier 11. While underway is that nearly all of her ship systems were put to the test, he said, and passed.

“Our readiness is leaps and bounds over where we were 15 months ago and a majority of the stuff that got worked on got fixed,” Cummings said.

“All the work we’ve done on the ship in the last 15 months all came to that point the engine room, the radar, all of our systems worked perfectly for the six days of high-speed tests — it’s a very proud moment.”

The past few day’s success is a shining moment in the development of the Navy’s next class of flattops that was designed to take naval aviation to the next level. The promise of the Ford-Class ships is more combat power arising from a totally redesigned flight deck where the Navy put to use NASCAR lessons learned, studying how teams quickly turn around cars during races.


Naval Station, Norfolk — Sailors from the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman prepare to help tie up the carrier Gerald R. Ford after a successful sea trials. (Mark D. Faram)
But before the Navy could start testing the reality of an expected 25-percent increase in the number of sorties the ship can fly in a day over what’s currently done on Nimitz-class carriers — the ship need to get all it’s parts and pieces up and running, first.

The past few days, according to to the Naval Sea Systems Command’s Rear Adm. Jim Downey, the man in charge of overseeing the building and maintenance of the Navy’s flattop fleet, have proven the ship has finally worked out most of the kinks that have plagued the ship since even before it was commissioned in July of 2017.

“The ship got underway right on schedule on Friday — conducted over 100 events over the the last few days and was very successful overall.”

Up and running, he said, is the ship’s propulsion system that was put through the full range of testing both forward and backwards and even high-speed turns. There was no sign of the thrust bearing issues that led to breakdowns before the latest overhaul started.

“Throttle control…performed very well, overall,” Downey said “All four [main turbine generators] were online all of those fixes were demonstrated at sea.”

The navigation system got a workout and combat systems, which features the ship’s dual-band radar worked fine through its initial runs where it “tracked multiple targets.”


On Board the USS Gerald R. Ford — Captl John J. “Yank” Cummings demonstrates how the Ford’s Advanced Weapons Elevators operate while inside upper state elevator 3 on board the ship. (Mark D. Faram)
And though all the Advanced Weapons Elevators aren’t fully operational, yet, Downey said that all eleven will be operating by the end of the “post delivery testing and trials phase” which is expected to wrap up in the next 18 months.

While at sea, he said, the four elevators now fully operational got a workout while at sea. In addition, a fifth elevator, considered close close to certification was also run constantly and though it’s not fully certified, Downey said it “met all it’s requirements.”

What’s next for Ford, Downey said, is 18-months of what’s called “Post Delivery Testing and Trials.” Where where the ships systems will be tested separately and collectively as the crew continues to learn how to drive and fight the ship.

And sailors will now start earning their sea pay in a big way. Downey said plans for the next year and call for “the ship to underway half that time.”

Over the next few months, the ship will gear up for flight operations to begin in earnest starting at the beginning of next calendar year. The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System and the Advanced Arresting Gear — which both got upgrades during this past overhaul — are being brought back to life and will be turned over to the ship.

First, the ship must certify the flight deck for fixed-wing operations as it’s been nearly 18-months since their last time launching and recovering aircraft. Next, they’ll test out all the different types of aircraft expected operate from Ford’s deck.

By mid-2020, Rear Adm. Roy “Trigger” Kelly, commander of Naval Air Forces, Atlantic, said Ford will begin to work with the Naval Air Station, Oceana-based Carrier Air Wing 8. At that point, the crew will really begin to see what the ship can do, he said.

“It was such a successful sea trial that we’re seeing them come back one day early,” Kelly said.

“This is just the beginning as we begin this cycle getting them back over here to Norfolk, then begin the in and out cycle of getting underway, evaluating systems.”

Once these “test and trials” are over, Kelly said that the ship will have a final maintenance phase to tweak any problems or make any necessary changes.

“[We will] keep making improvements so we can get this most advanced aircraft carrier in the world to the point that it’s ready to deploy,” Kelly said.

On the ship, Cummings said that he’s seeing a noticeable rise in the crew’s morale as “we get back to sea” as “sailors get to do their jobs at sea.”

“It’s a huge moment for our ship — you can see it in the eyes of our sailors.”

Shipyard life, he says is “a different environment” and all were glad to “pull out of Newport News” and return to operating out of Norfolk saying he can “see the smiles on their faces, the enthusiasm and the energy.”

“So to look at it now, we’ve done a lot of work to make our ship a ship, we went out and proved our ship,” he said. “Now it’s time to prove it’s an aircraft carrier and for the next year and a half, that’s what we’re going to do.”

 

bring_it_on

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A bit of a kick is good sometimes to get everyone going even though it adds little value. The program isn't exactly the best managed or run program in the Navy or the DOD. And the SecNav literally had a gentleman's agreement with the President that he himself touted as a Businessman to business man agreement so its not like he didn't have this coming. In fact, we wouldn't have even found out about any such assurances had he himself not boasted about it on video. Fact is that the Ford, as good as it may turn out to be, is the costliest vessel (in absolute $) that we've ever built. That is just a fact. Because of this, it is going to get its fair share of scrutiny from both sides of the aisle and in fact even POTUS who wants them to cancel EMALS, rip out the parts and go back to steam (though the Navy seems to have prevented this from happening for now). That doesn't make it not worth pursuing but if its going to cost that much you can rest assured that the politicians will be all over it. Especially when they want yet more funding to see it through. Just like the LCS, the US Navy is having to come in and take over issues that the current crop of its leadership was not responsible for creating. I think even they know that if they want Congressional support and assured funding to execute on their planned fixes, they would have to put up with some political theatrics. It's just par for the course.

 
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sferrin

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Fact is that the Ford, as good as it may turn out to be, is the costliest vessel (in absolute $) that we've ever built.
How could it not be? Seriously. It's a bit like when F-35 detractors habitually include, "most expensive weapons program ever". As if that's supposed to be a surprise. How could it not be?
 
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bring_it_on

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Fact is that the Ford, as good as it may turn out to be, is the costliest vessel (in absolute $) that we've ever built.
How could it not be? Seriously. It's a bit like when F-35 detractors habitually include, "most expensive weapons program ever". As if that's supposed to be a surprise. How could it not be?
The point is not that it was inevitable that it would be the most expensive warship we ever built (with which I agree). The point was that because it is expensive, and because it is right up in the chain of most expensive warships the Navy is currently managing, it was bound to attract scrutiny and the theatrics that come with it when someone screws up. If the SECNAV is going to personalize the issue by sticking his neck out and claiming that X would be fixed by so and so date otherwise he can be fired and then he doesn't turn around and fix the issues he'd claimed would be fixed then sparks are going to fly in a political environment.
 

fredymac

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The Ford class is dimensionally and structurally similar to the Nimitz design. I haven’t seen any blame assigned to hull and flight deck construction as contributors to the price/schedule increases.

All the stories seem to focus on the new technology elements: new reactors, EMALS, AAG, and new radars. Are these GFE provided to HI through the government and who would be responsible for their delivery and functionality?

The other big contributor to cost/schedule increases are design changes. These are generated by the Navy. Have there been a lot or did the Navy manage to restrain themselves.

The details of all this would be known to politicians who are in a position to demand reviews and briefings. They should be able to distinguish “no end in sight” from 3 months more and be able to identify what party has more of the blame.
 
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