Sea trials for the first-in-class nuclear carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) could be pushed back up to six to eight weeks due to a slip in the testing schedule, the Navy announced late Tuesday.
The delay in testing could push Ford past its anticipated March 2016 delivery date.
“The Navy has identified a slight deterioration in the required progress on the CVN-78 shipboard test program,” read the Navy statement.
“The exact impact on ship delivery will be determined based on the results of sea trials.”
The service did not specify testing of what component — or components — led to the deterioration of the testing schedule.
While the schedule maybe delayed, “all the work and any associated schedule delays are being managed within budget and below the [$12.88 billion] cost cap,” read the statement.
“This prudent step provides the most affordable path to deliver.”
In March, Program Executive Officer for Aircraft Carriers Rear Adm. Tom Moore told reporters a design flaw in the General Atomics Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) had made the aircraft recovery system, “my major concern.”
The design flaw set the testing program for the AAG at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, N.J. back almost two years and put Ford at risk for a later-than March 2016 delivery.
On the other end of the ship the next generation launching system for Ford — the General Atomics Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) — successfully completed testing in two of the four catapults on the ship.
Last month the crew began moving onboard the ship, which is about 93 percent complete, the service said.
The following is the Sept. 22 statement from the Navy on the change in the testing schedule.
The Navy has identified a slight deterioration in the required progress on the CVN 78 shipboard test program. As a result, the sea trial schedule will be delayed about six to eight weeks. The exact impact on ship delivery will be determined based on the results of sea trials. CVN 78 was scheduled to deliver on March 31, 2016.
This prudent step provides the most affordable path to delivery. All the work and any associated schedule delays are being managed within budget and below the $12,887M cost cap.
Significant progress to date has been made on CVN 78, including:
o EMALS testing was successfully completed on the bow catapults and proceeding on schedule to complete in November on the waist catapults
o The crew moved aboard as scheduled in August and is living and feeding aboard. Compartment turnover to the crew remains on track.
o Dual Band Radar (DBR) testing has commenced including initial energization of Multifunction Radar/ Volume Search Radar (MFR/VSR) array faces
o The propulsion plants have completed their non-critical steaming program and are preparing for their critical test program
CVN 78 is 93% complete.