Home » Aviation » UPDATED: Navy, Newport News Taking Steps Towards Two-Carrier Buy


UPDATED: Navy, Newport News Taking Steps Towards Two-Carrier Buy

The galley deck is lowered into place on board the carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN79). Newport News Shipbuilding photo.

This post has been updated to include statements from Huntington Ingalls Industries President Mike Petters and House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee chairman Rep. Rob Wittman.

THE PENTAGON – The Navy today moved towards signing the first two-carrier contract since the Reagan Administration, asking builder Newport News Shipbuilding for additional data on the cost-savings potential for buying CVNs 80 and 81 together.

The service released a request for proposal to the company this afternoon, with the hopes of receiving the necessary cost and schedule predictions by late summer or early fall and potentially reaching a two-carrier agreement with Newport News Shipbuilding by the end of the calendar year.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James Geurts told reporters today that it is still unclear what the final product would be after today’s RFP – whether it would be a construction contract for two aircraft carriers, or some other means of allowing for the Navy and its prime contractor to buy two ship-sets of materials at a time.

“If you’re building two of these, your return on investment and the sharing between the government and industry to drive towards affordability, I think, there’s a much better return on investment,” he said.
For example, “instead of buying one set of parts we buy two sets of parts.”

Geurts said the main goal is cost-reduction – though a reduction in man-hours it takes to build the yet-unnamed CVN-81 would likely be reduced as a byproduct of the two-carrier buy, and that ship could deliver as much as a year early, based on data the Navy already reviewed.

The Navy would need some additional authorities from Congress – chiefly, incremental funding authority for both aircraft carriers – which Geurts said could be worked out this spring and summer during the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act negotiations and put in place by the end of the year, to align with a planned handshake agreement with Newport News Shipbuilding by the end of the year.

Though Geurts couldn’t say exactly how much the Navy might save in this shipbuilding strategy, he said there were “significant affordability opportunities … worth looking at.”

“I would surmise the industry partners are probably, when they work with suppliers, looking for option buys. So they’re likely looking at ways they can contract to order one with an option for a second set of kits,” Geurts said.
“And then, of course, we’re going to look at what are all the industry investment in terms of things they’re going to do to the shipyard, going to a more digital approach – all that will be occurring in parallel. So I see savings coming from multiple different areas: one will be reduction in labor, one will be more efficient suppliers that can build in a bulk quantity, and then third is we’ll have a very similar design for both so we can really improve the learning as we continue to build more carriers.”

Mike Petters, president of Huntington Ingalls Industries, the parent company of Newport News Shipbuilding, said in a statement today that “we believe the most effective way to reduce cost of aircraft carriers is to take a multi-ship purchase approach and build them every three to four years. Buying two ships at once stabilizes the Newport News Shipbuilding workforce and their national supplier base, allows us to buy materials in quantity, and phase work more efficiently. This action by the U.S. Navy allows us to work with them to better define and achieve the significant cost savings that will result from this approach.”

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee, said in a statement that “the RFP released by the Navy today is a great step towards strengthening the Fleet. A dual procurement allows the U.S. Navy to build to a fleet of 12 aircraft carriers more quickly as prescribed by the FY18 National Defense Authorization Act – which established that the Navy should maintain 355 ships, including 12 aircraft carriers. This dual buy would be beneficial to both the taxpayers and to our maritime industrial base, as it shows that Congress is committed to the thousands of workers who build and maintain aircraft carriers every day. Smart acquisition has the potential to save $2.5 billion. We need to give the Fleet the ships it needs to meet the challenges of today and prepare for the threats of tomorrow.”

The Navy has eyed a two-carrier buy for years now but has grappled with how to implement that, given that the service is buying carriers five years apart. Public talks about the logistics of buying CVNs 80 and 81 together began in earnest in the spring of 2016, but Geurts told the House Armed Services Committee earlier this month that cost analysis was still taking place.

Geurts told lawmakers that previous two-carrier buys in the Nimitz-class achieved about 10-percent savings, but he noted the Navy is already halfway through buying material for CVN-80 so there could be a smaller savings potential in the CVN-80/81 buy. Pressed for a numerical answer, Geurts suggested the Navy could save somewhere between $1 billion and $2.5 billion on the deal.

Naval Sea Systems Command commander Vice Adm. Tom Moore told USNI News in December that an 80/81 two-carrier buy wouldn’t help CVN-80, the future Enterprise, deliver any sooner, but it would allow CVN-81 to deliver faster and at a lower cost.

“The facts are pretty clear: when we’ve had a chance to do two-ship buys on the carrier side, with CVN-72 and 73 and then again with 74 and 75, in terms of the total cost performance of the ships and the number of man-hours it took to build those ships, within the Nimitz-class those four ships were built for the fewest man-hours and the lowest cost. So you’re clearly getting benefit out of that, but you have to balance it against the other competing needs of the budget,” Moore told USNI News in the December interview.

Importantly, those two two-carrier buys involved buying the carriers much closer together. In each block buy, the two carriers were centered about two and a half years apart, whereas CVN 80 and 81 are planned to be five years apart but could shift closer to four years apart.

The flag flies proudly over the construction of the aircraft carrier John F Kennedy, CVN-79. Newport News Shipbuilding photo.

Industry is also very interested in the idea of a two-carrier buy, as well as shortening the centers between carrier production.

“The closer the ships are – and there’s kind of a sweet spot at about three years; with the industrial base it’s probably more like three-and-a-half years to four years – but the closer the centers, the greater the labor efficiency because my workforce doesn’t have to build up to build one carrier and then go down and wait and go back up, build a second carrier and go down,” Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin told USNI News in October.
“We also have a tremendous amount of data from Nimitz class and also from submarines that if we buy bulk, if we go to the supply base and get two ship sets as opposed to one ship set, in aggregate that offers about a 10-percent opportunity to reduce cost on material.”

Boykin said today’s current carrier build rate of one every five years will never allow the Navy to reach its goal of having 12 carriers, “and worse than that, we run the risk of going below 10.” For both reasons – cost efficiency and reaching a 12-carrier fleet – Boykin said the company is strongly advocating building carriers every four years.

 

The Navy’s full statement: 

The Navy released a CVN 80/81 two-ship buy Request for Proposal (RFP) to Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) to further define the cost savings achievable with a two ship buy. With lethality and affordability a top priority, the Navy has been working with HII-NNS over the last several months to estimate the total savings associated with procuring CVN 80/81 as a two-ship buy.

“In keeping with the National Defense Strategy, the Navy developed an acquisition strategy to combine the CVN 80 and CVN 81 procurements to better achieve the Department’s objectives of building a more lethal force with greater performance and affordability,” said James F. Geurts, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Research Development and Acquisition. “This opportunity for a two-ship contract is dependent on significant savings that the shipbuilding industry and government must demonstrate. The Navy is requesting a proposal from HII-NNS in order to evaluate whether we can achieve significant savings.”

The two-ship buy is a contracting strategy the Navy has effectively used in the 1980s to procure NIMITZ-Class aircraft carriers and achieved significant acquisition cost savings compared to contracting for the ships individually. While the CVN 80/81 two-ship buy negotiations transpire, the Navy is pursuing contracting actions necessary to continue CVN 80 fabrication in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 and preserve the current schedule. Navy plans to award the CVN 80 construction contract in early FY 2019 as a two-ship buy pending Congressional approval and achieving significant savings.

ENTERPRISE (CVN 80) is the third ship of the FORD-Class and the numerical replacement for the USS EISENHOWER (CVN 69). CVN 81, not yet named, will be the fourth ship of the class and will be the numerical replacement for the USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70). CVN 80 began advanced planning and initial long lead time material procurement in May 2016.

  • Steamroller00008

    Our highest priorities should be Subs (both ballistic missile and attack), then more surface combatants. Carriers should be a lower priority. The extra carrier we cannot afford! Carrier Admirals and HI need to break their addiction for extremely expensive anti-ship-missile targets. Smaller, but well-armed, better-disbursed naval forces is the future. And finally, readiness and maintenance should always trump super high end ships.

    • Ser Arthur Dayne

      I agree with you to a high extent, up to a certain extent. I think that the government (and that includes Navy brass, hi-ups in the Federal government civilian positions, and certainly some of Congress) have become absolutely ridiculous with Carriers. — We cancelled the Seawolf program (arguably the best naval weapons on the planet) and we replaced them with the Virginia-class … very good but not the same. We basically neutered the Zumwalt-class technologically, but it’s still ridiculously expensive, and we will only have 3, but we are replacing them with new Arleigh Burkes… but not for a while. And oh btw, we have given up on Cruisers…. absolutely no new Cruiser program, and the Navy is absolutely burning to retire the ones we have….. but they’re absolutely the best platform we have in several roles… really, I am absolutely banking on the FFG(X) because it has both the potential to save our fleet in many ways, but can ruin us again if we basically make the FFG(X) another LCS debacle.

      • johnbull

        You are right about cruisers. We desperately need a good replacement for the Ticos and there’s nothing on the horizon. The Burkes are fine ships, but we need some new cruisers to ride shotgun with the carriers in a more threatening world.

    • IssacBabel

      Are these new carriers going to have working cats & traps ?
      Or is the Navy going to continue with their science experiments ?

      If I was the PLAN, I’d just build subs, since the USN seems to be
      completely disinterested ASW escorts.

      • WhiskyTangoFoxtrot

        what, what, what, we have the best, most mighty, best equipped, best armed, most capable ASW platform in the history of naval warfare right here in the LCS. Heck, the LCS has the best sub detector in the world-it’s extremely noise waterjet propulsion plant-the subs will simply flock to it like flys to honey, then the LCS can attack the subs with it’s, it’s, its, you know it’s future mythical super duper anti submarine deep water laser rocket 1000 knot photon torpedoes. The might sub hunter LCS will clear the oceans in a matter of days.

        • IssacBabel

          LCS ASW is based on the theory that “If I can’t hear you, you can’t hear me”

          Hitch hikers guide to ASW, see BugBlatter Beasts and Towel based ASW.

          • ShermansWar

            Reminds me of a dog I used to have who’d take a dump on the floor, then hide his head under the couch( he used to be able to fit his whole body under there when he was a puppy) While I whipped his rear end with a newspaper and he’d howl away, unable to understand how I could see him.

          • Rocco

            A- whole

        • ShermansWar

          It’s helicopter. it’s helicopter is uber, dontcha’ know. It’s the awesomest everrr. Iz a special helicopter, some guy says. Different from the other MH-60Rs, or somethin’. But it makes the LCS the bestest.

        • Rocco

          Lol you mean flies to💩

      • Ken N

        Cats and traps? Nope. Not yet anyway..

        From the 2017 DOT&E report:

        In its current design, AAG is unlikely to
        support routine flight operations. At the current reliability,
        AAG has less than a 0.001 percent chance of completing
        the 4-day surge and less than a 0.200 percent chance of
        completing a day of sustained operations as defined in the
        design reference mission. For routine operations, AAG would only have a 53 percent chance of completing a
        single 12 aircraft recovery cycle and a 1 percent chance of
        completing a typical 84 aircraft recovery day.

        At the current reliability, EMALS has
        a 9 percent chance of completing the 4-day surge and
        a 70 percent chance of completing a day of sustained
        operations as defined in the design reference mission
        without a critical failure.

    • disqus_CbFK3MPhJu

      we should be big in the high end (subs carriers ddg’s)
      let the rest concentrate on the low end. I think russia even said they
      are going low end (ships)

    • Duane

      Air power is determinative in winning wars ever since the 1930s. Only CVNs can deploy and project air power on any of the planet’s oceans. The only mobile airports are big deck carriers. With carriers, we can, practically, go to war nearly anywhere on the planet to defend US vital interests.

      Submarines are tremendously useful warships .. but subs make lousy aircraft carriers. And vice versa.

      • Ziv Bnd

        Agreed, but we need to be able to keep the carriers back from the threat. The F-35C has better range than the F-18E but it needs even more range. Bring on the ADVENT jet engines to get some of that additional range. Accelerate the development and deployment of the MQ25 as well. We don’t need to have as many F-18’s carrying buddy-stores if we have a dedicated unmanned refueling capability.
        But we really do need more Virginia class subs, as well.

      • Steamroller00008

        Granted Duane, air power has been critical in the past. My concern is if our force structure is being driven by the union of carrier Admirals, the HI lobby, and congressmen/senators seeking more pork for their districts, OR by thoughtful, forward-looking analysis. In the past leaders have asked, “where are the carriers?”. In the future, will they ask, “where are the missile boats (subs and stealthy FFG’s/DDG’s)?”
        Leave the eleven carriers in place; just don’t add any more. Use the America & Tripoli (coming soon) to help fill-in for that 12th desired CVN carrier. Take another long look at the recent force structure studies, especially those that recommend forward deployed forces better tailored for best deterrence for each sphere of influence.
        Sadly, Congress’s “Freedom for Billionaires Caucus” has already given away the farm to their rich donor class with their “Tax Reform”, so we’re going to have to make some very hard painful choices on the best balance of ships, aircraft, and priorities to meet future adversaries.
        If this isn’t enough to make you gag, check out the article today on the huge challenge in manning the 355 ship force of tomorrow. Even with automation, big expensive ships need big costly (hard to recruit) crews.
        I agree with Ziv Bnd that the carriers need distance from the greatest perceived threat(s) to survive.

    • SmallBizGuy

      If the Navy’s objective is distributed lethality then there are a few things that could be considered if they want to increase the fleet size to 355 ships within the next decade.

      Installing an angled deck on the first 2 America class LHA’s or 2 follow on ships would give the Navy a more cost effective ship to qualify and train new pilots. And also give them a more flexible fleet to deal with lower intensity conflicts. The first 2 America class are not equipped with well decks so they have somewhat more limited amphibious capabilities.

      A new FFG class that might be a scaled down version of the Arliegh Burke class DDG would help provide more hulls at lower cost per ship. They could carry much of the same armament at the Burke’s, just not as much. The obvious advantages of lower cost and wider disbursement of ships are attractive features.

      Upgunning the LCS ships that are still planned for construction would put more firepower at the disposal of fleet commanders. If that is possible.

      This next idea might be controversial, a class of diesel electric subs is worth considering due to their much lower cost per boat. For the cost of 1 Virginia class sub could pay for maybe 5 DE subs like Japan’s Soryu class subs. Maybe they are not as capable as a Virginia class sub but there is strength in numbers.

      • USNVO

        I thought Rocco had the most impossible plan, I stand corrected.

        • Rocco

          The only corrected that you stand is …….. Alone!!! As no 3 others on here mentioned the same thing!! USNVO stand for utterly stupid novice!!!???

        • SmallBizGuy

          USNVO, what part of that suggestion is impossible? Adding an angled flight deck to LHA-6 would be a stretch but what else would be undesirable?

          • SmallBizGuy

            The US Navy is facing intense funding constraints. They need to get the biggest bang for the buck we can get.

          • USNVO

            How about all of it.

            Adding an angled deck to the America is the easy part, you just weld it on. Well of course you have to add a heavier deck as well. Then of course you have to counter balance the angled deck, that will require another huge extension to the port side of the ship. Of course, now you need arresting gear but it wasn’t designed to have arresting gear, so you have to find room for it. No problem, just re-arrange the back part of the ship. Then you have to have catapults, which will require either lots of steam (oh wait, the ship is gas turbine powered for propulsion and diesel for electrical power) or EM catapults. So steam is not really an option, since there is nowhere near enough electrical power for EM you will have to totally change the engineering plant, adding about twice the existing power just for electrical power (basically adding two MT30s which are about as big as the existing LM2500+ used for propulsion). Of course you need a new power distribution system with higher voltage to handle the amperage and then there is the whole power storage system. So you better totally re-arrange the front part of the ship as well. I could go on (and on, and on, and on but it get’s old), but lets see,
            1. Totally re-arrange the aft part of the ship to accommodate arresting gear, angled deck, move the island right to counter-balance, move the elevators, etc.
            2. Totally redo the middle of the ship to add space for two honking big gas turbine generators and their associated inlets and uptakes.
            3. Rip out all the electrical wiring and replace with a new main bus, changing all the associated bits and pieces.
            4. Totally re-arrange the front half of the of the ship to accommodate two catapults and all their associated gear. So basically installing an entirely new front half as well.
            And that is the easy route, if you wanted to add steam catapults you are talking real money. Suffice it to say, you might as well just design a new ESSEX or LEXINGTON (CV-2) sized carrier, it will be way cheaper.

            Scale down the BURKE. Why? No reduction in manning since it has everything a Burke has, just less of it. Cost almost as much since you have all the same system AEGIS, VLS, 5in, HElos, etc), just less ordnance. Might as well keep building BURKEs since the material parts are the easiest. Note that virtually any AEGIS ship you want to name is almost as expensive as the BURKE.

            Upgunning the LCS. How exactly do you do that? I will leave that until I see details.

            Diesel subs. To slow, how do they get to the fight from the US? Require tenders and forward basing which don’t exist. Requires designing a new diesel sub, Taiwan was quoted $9B for 8, hardly 5:1. Finally, since you aren’t reducing anything, it just gets more and more expensive when you throw in basing and other support on top of everything else.

            I could go on but like I said, it gets old. Look if you want to design a new conventional carrier, that is fine but you are not getting something for nothing by converting the AMERICA. It will cost a large amount to design and a really large amount to build. A mini-Burke isn’t in price, Upgunning an LCS is basically hand waving, and there is a very sound reason why the US uses nuclear subs and it is not just because the nuclear mafia has a lock on sub construction.

            Everything is possible but will cost huge bucks. So yeah, impossible plan unless you are willing to give up a lot and since he didn’t mention budget or manpower, it is impossible.

    • ScottishGent

      Agree that subs are an excellent war time asset, however, when was the last time a submarine provided disaster assistance or humanitarian relief?

      As far as aircraft carriers being targets, yes they are, but they’re not completely defenseless. Not are they too valuable to be used. Remember that at the beginning of 1942 there were six carriers in the Pacific. Admiral Nimitz used them agressively and four were lost, but thier contribution was essential. Now, before you say anything, this is not 1942 and we will not be facing the same enemy, however, we will not be relying on the same tactics or system, they have evolved just as our potential enemy’s have

  • Ser Arthur Dayne

    I think we need to stop with the whole Carrier-for-Presidents naming convention and naming them the way we used to name them…. We need a USS Ranger, a USS Hornet, USS Lexington, USS Yorktown, USS Constellation, etc. and perhaps some other good names… One thing I like about the Brits is they have some good ship names. Ambush, Triumph, and Illustrious >>> Jimmy Carter, Carl Vinson, Gerald Ford …… in my humblest of opinions (and I am talking about NAMES here, not ships / class of ships / crews here.)

    • Sir Bateman

      It’s high time that SECNAVs be stripped of their ability to name any sort of US naval vessel, carrier or otherwise. The whole process at it currently stands has been irrecoverably politicized.

      In lieu of SECNAVs naming ships it should be handed off to some sort of body made up of naval historians and or USN/USMC personnel who have some understanding or appreciation of the relevance of it all.

      • BMC retired

        Great idea, ’cause what sailor with any level of self-respect wants to serve on the USS Fall Down Hillary, USS Bad Waters, USS Chuckie Schumer, USS Dirty Harry, USS I don’t know were I am Pelosi, or the USS Trans-Michelle.

        • Rocco

          USS Dirty Harry AKA 44 mag is a great name. Make Clint proud!! Lol

    • Uncle Mike

      Logged in just to say the same thing. CVN-81 needs to be LEXINGTON.

      • Rocco

        You can’t use a name of an existing ship!! Yes CV-16 Lady Lex is still a navy ship even though a museum. The name has to be stricken from the ship list! This includes all ships in museum status! Can’t say I don’t like the idea though.

        • Ctrot

          That apparently isn’t true because there has been a new Yorktown and a new North Carolina while CV-10 and BB-55 were/are museum ships.

          • Rocco

            Yes classes of ships no longer used!! So I stand corrected!

          • Mastro63

            Also Texas. A New jersey and Missouri are being planned.

          • NavySubNuke

            USS Missouri is a block 2 Virginia class SSN — she has been out already for several years – SSN-780.

          • Rocco

            Planned for what!!?? Name’s!!
            What part of what I said didn’t you understand!!

      • muzzleloader

        Huzzah!!

      • NavySubNuke

        CVN-77 was supposed to be Lex —- there was even a Senate Resolution call for such but unfortunately the navy chose to name it USS Bush.
        Nothing against Bush – especially since he is a combat served veteran – but I hate when we name ships after someone who is still alive and I hate that we name our carriers after presidents. Lex would have been better and hopefully the Navy corrects it with 81.

    • MarlineSpikeMate

      Brits have some awesome ship names. HMS Dragon for one!

      • MLepay

        I always liked the HMS Battleaxe…perhaps named after all those mythical evil mother-in-laws ??? (I am joking btw, my mother in law was great)

        • Rocco

          Lol…..Was?

      • Ser Arthur Dayne

        I absolutely agree… HMS Dragon(Daring/Defender/etc), HMS Ambush(Audacious/Astute), HMS Triumph(Turbulent), HMS Illustrious/Invincible, etc. etc. etc. Just so much win.

    • William Hall

      I agree. While I do not oppose naming aircraft carriers after important historical figures and presidents, I like the tradition of re-using tried and true names like Enterprise, Yorktown, Constellation, Lexington, Saratoga, Valley Forge, Midway, etc. There are no recent presidents who deserve having a ship named for them. Bush Senior I can agree with because of his World War II service as a naval aviator. Pres.’s Clinton, Bush Jr. and Obama do not stand out as persons to honor with a capital ship being named after them, although both led us in war. Carter, Nixon and Johnson all have their faults. Naming ships after historical battles, cities and states and heroes takes all of the politics out of it. I personally think CVN-81 should be the Lexington.

      • Rocco

        Again I said in other replies on this thread you can’t rename ships with names not stricken from the Navy list!! Including ships that are museum status!!! Enterprise will be used already!! No mind you some of the mentioned are X Essex class Carriers that the WASP class took over this tradition!! CVNS do not in this sense.

        • Ser Arthur Dayne

          And again you’re wrong! There is already a USS Missouri, USS Texas, & USS Virginia SSNs serving today, with a USS New Jersey & USS Iowa on order. They absolutely can and will name a ship after a museum or reserve if they WANT to.

          • Rocco

            Yeah show me a source!! Name’s in use now are in different classes of ships not the same as the person above stating that the ship’s be named for the same class as in Carriers!!! Get with the subject matter!! I stand corrected!!

          • Ser Arthur Dayne

            If that is the way you want to do this, no problem… All of the Pre-Enterprise carriers are conventionally-powered Aircraft Carriers; post-Enterprise are nuclear powered “super-carriers” — so a future USS Lexington would be CVN, not CV, so not the same class. Sorry buddy.

          • Rocco

            Wrong dude!! Enterprise was commissioned in the Navy in 1960!!! Hmm what was built after before the Nimitz class??? Enterprise was one only of 6 allocated because of the cost at the time!! A Future Lexington as a CVN won’t happen!! & You have no source still!!

          • Ser Arthur Dayne

            Whatever you say buddy. I don’t have enough exclamation points to keep up with you.

          • Rocco

            Maybe Sir Loin of beef can help you!!🍽️🍜🍖

          • muzzleloader

            Me thinks you are too liberal with your use of exclamation points.!!!!!!

          • Rocco

            Me thinks you should mind your business!! & I’m not liberal!!

          • CVN68-Tomcat

            USS America CV 66, USS JFK CV 67 both came after Enterprise, and both were non nuclear.

            JFK was like Enterprise in the sense that they were essentially a class of one ship each.

            The term “Super Carrier” does not generally apply to Nuc Carriers alone. Super Carrier does not have an objective definition to my knowledge, but Kitty Hawk, CV63 onward were referred to as a Super Carrier, this reference is generally related to the size of the ship.

            Some may refer to Forrestal Class as a super carrier but they were smaller than successive classes. Certainly in weight, still over 1000ft though. Wiki has some incorrect data on this though. Happy Sailing!

          • Chesapeakeguy

            The Kennedy was started as a nuclear powered ship, but was converted to conventionally powered because of costs.

          • CVN68-Tomcat

            Thanks for the comment, my family, myself and h.s. friend served aboard CVN68, CV66 &CV67 and it is a known fact that CV67 was began as a Nuc but was converted to fuel oil boilers “steam generators”, although others may not be aware of that.

            The fact still remains that CV’s 66 &67 were conventionally fueled fossil ships. I was a MM aboard Nimitz. I didn’t believe it was germane to point that out to the commenter I was responding to.

            Another tidbit, Carriers 66, 67 & 68 often operated together out of your area Norfolk. I was long gone when Nimitz was moved to Pacific.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            I have a brother who was serving on the Kennedy when it collided with the Belknap. Were you on it then?

          • CVN68-Tomcat

            Hey Chesapeake, I was on Nimitz for its first two Med Deployments. I always liked the JFK though. It probably still has fewer hours on it than other ships that were left in service longer.

            The carrier shortage the Navy is experiencing I believe was created, Enterprises 8 reactors I’m sure timed out, but Kitty Hawk, the America and JFK could have soldiered on longer with maintenance and tech inserts. A comprehensive maintenance period for a conventional carrier isn’t as involved as a Nuc ships RCOH.

            These are huge steel things, repair and mods are not as complex as Navy and DOD portray. The Navy wants to buy new things partially to keep industrial skills current with regard to Naval Architecture, supply chain and shipbuilders. But I definitely believe we could have kept one more ship active in order to make the maintenance intervals of the carrier force more workable and improve deployment availability. Just mho.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            I agree with all you say here!

          • muzzleloader

            The JFK was a victim of a shortened overhaul when the Philly Navy yard closed due to BRAC. After that, the Navy did some remedial work on her with local shipfitters at Mayport, but the JFK was never the same after that.
            A friend of mine was on the INSERV team that pretty much ended her career. She was in bad shape.

    • David Oldham

      Could not agree more enough of this cult of personality crap. Don’t forget the USS America too just rename the current one something else.

      • Rocco

        Ahhh Sir Loin of beef!!

    • Hugh

      Agreed. Though the RN has had some terrible names, eg HMS TERRIBLE – LOL……

    • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

      I agree…

    • Larry Otto

      I’ve been carping about this for as long as I could find someone to listen to me. To me, it al started with CV-42 that was to be USS Coral Sea and there were forgings throughout the ship with “Coral Sea” impressed forever. Naming a carrier after a person is just plain wrong. There are destroyers to be named after people like the USS Roosevelt, DDG – 80. I didn’t mind the naming of our Trident subs after the states because these boats were as close to battleships as we are going to get these days. But, they have gone nuts with our latest attack subs now.

  • Curtis Conway

    The problem I see with multi-ship parts procurement is cannibalization. It is far easier to just steal what you need when what was ordered doesn’t work, is broke, or was delivered incomplete. HII really has to rise to the challenge of ordering, storing, and safeguarding these parts.

    • DaSaint

      Who’s stealing CVN carrier parts? The Navy? If so, that’s not technically stealing…it’s advance parts replacement.

      • Curtis Conway

        THAT is called Rationalization! AND I used to rationalize a lot of maintenance activities. At what point does ‘theft’ become ‘paying forward’. Where is the zero, or is there such a thing?

  • John McHugh

    So, before getting too crazy assuming that HII will be willing and able to reduce “production costs” across a multi-ship development process, maybe we should place CVN-80 & 81 on hiatus and reallocate the funds towards a conventional attack carrier platform? It’s great that the USN produced the LHA-6 style gator carrier, but the LHA-6 in scraping by at the bottom of front-line capability.

    We should leverage lessons learned from the RN QE class. For the cost of (2) CVNs, you could realistically produce (3-4) CVA (CV, CVV, CVL, CVM, whatever works this year). After a reasonable production of CVAs, return to CVN production. SSBN and SSN production will keep HII nuclear expertise engaged. Sub-sets and blocks could be farmed out to support yards to speed production and allow for HII-NN to quickly return to CVN production, if not concurrently, towards the end of the first (4) CVA builds

    Add a forward ski-jump, add the Royal Navy Shipborne rolling vertical landing system (SRVL) to be used with the new USN GPS guided precision landing systems to increase sortie recovery speed and efficientcy as needed (due to landing restrictions from landing weight restrictions and / or aircraft mishap restricting vertical landing). Next, an angled deck configuration with a simplified barrier assist for disabled craft unable to land vertically or using the rolling vertical method. The barrier assisted landing shall be capable of landing traditional USN aircraft in emergency situations.

    Incorporate F-35Bs into USN CVA fleet operations leaving F/A-18s & F-35Cs for CVN operations. CVA mission sets would be similar to CVN, as needed, but also could be utilized for less demanding missions sets such as AEG / ESG, sea-lane control, counter narcotics & piracy, humanitarian, etc. Aggressively expound the CVM-22 platform to incorporate the ASW and AEW skids as proposed by Boeing. In addition, leverage the lessons learned from the USAF SAR platforms.

    Update the main plant from LM2500 based units to LM6000 PG. Vastly more powerful and efficient for a modest change in footprint. AMDR ?

    Forward base options would reduce transit times and cost and add a concerted USN presence in contested theatres. Basing the CVAs to Sasebo or Youkusuka for SCS deployment, Rota or Naples for Med, Devonport for North Atlantic and Baltic, Mayport for Caribbean and Central America.

    On a separate note, I agree on the naming debacle. The carriers are more impressive and collectively more important for what they represent within the USN and to the world. Bring back the true hero names as listed….Lexington, Hornet, Ranger, etc…..

    • Rocco

      Kudos agreed!! I’ve been saying this all along on here & on BD blogs when the subject matter arises ! My theory is based off the America class hull make a CVL For just F-35B’s to keep the costs down! Put one or 2 Email launchers on them for aircraft . Or to keep costs down make the America class 900′ , shrink the island. Upgrade the engines for more speed to do 30+! Exnay the ramp though takes up deck space unless we make a hydraulic version. As for renaming ships read above.

      • USNVO

        Well, anyone can think of an impossible plan, yours is just more impossible than others.

        • Rocco

          Yeah why because it wasn’t yours!!!! Like you have anything to share before you knock someone else!!

          • USNVO

            No, I just didn’t want to beat a dead horse.
            1. How do you get 30 kts. You will need to have four shafts and at least double the shaft horsepower. Yeah, simple.
            2. EMALS – Better incease your electrical power by about a factor of 5, where is all this stuff going.
            3. While you are at it, you need to totally rearrange the ship since you will need to add traps (it is not like a F-35B can use EMALS and anything else can’t land vertically) as well as catapults.
            4. The hull form is not optimized to go fast 30kts, so you better rearrange everything and redo the hull. You will have to do that for 4 shafts anyway.
            5. You doubled the size of the intakes and stacks and you are shrinking the island?

            I could go on but beating a dead horse doesn’t do any good and it just makes your arm tired.

            Now
            – if you want to use the AMERICA as a F-35B carrier and/or add a jump deck, knock yourself out, that is cheap.
            – If you want to design an angled deck carrier with EMALS and AAG that is the size of the ESSEX class, go ahead, but it won’t bear any resemblance to the AMERICA.

            So yes, your plan is no more possible than belling the cat was in Aesop’s fable. And while I did not think of it, it just shows that it was not one of my impossible plans.

          • Rocco

            You know something your candor is not appreciated!! Everything you mentioned I already know !! I didn’t say everything had to be done just some of the elements!! Whatever it takes!! Yes I know the hull has to be redone. I spent 10 yrs in the Navy probably before you were born. Part of it in Philly yards doing tank inspection on Carriers. Crawling through voids & coufferdam ‘s OK so I have an idea what it takes. I just didn’t have the time this morning to be this detailed.
            The America class is already an F-35B carrier. I’d personally prefer it be longer at the least.
            I’m not an engineer so I can’t specifically say what it takes to get 30+ knots!! But if the ship is made to 900’ guess what JACKWAGON!! You can put 4 shafts on it!! So go pound sand!

          • USNVO

            Well you obviously don’t know anything about the AMERICA class hull or Naval Architecture. Where exactly are you putting these mythical shafts? It is completely the wrong shape optimized to go the 23 or 24kts it can do, and even if you could put four shafts on them, there is no room in the engineering spaces for twice as much machinery. There is also no room for twice as many intakes and exhaust trunks, at least one of which has to move air and smoke across the entire width of the ship. Even then, to allow EMALS to work, you will need to have a lot more electrical power, probably gas turbine because of the required ramp up/ramp down cycle.

            You will literally have to change the entire internal and external layout of the ship as well as most of the equipment. So how much change is there before it ceases to be a modification and becomes a clean sheet design?

    • ScottishGent

      Agree with your concept of instead of investing in large and expensive CVN invest in smaller more budget minded platforms. However, instead of simply buying a CVA class, invest in all the assets required for an Amphibious Ready Group (including the USMC forces) with an enhanced LHA which can support the future Marine Aviation Combat Element requirements or function as a CVA as you described. By investing in such force, you will be getting a package capable of responding to a range of military operations which start with humanitarian assistance, continue to naval presence and engagement with our allies, and finally to contingency response and rull scale military operations. In spite of the horrible experience that is the LCS, having ships/forces that are capable of successfully performing more than one mission will be the key to surviving and thriving in this budget constrained era. Key to this though, will be studying the lessons learned from ship building successes and failures so that best practices can be employed.

      • Rocco

        Agreed yet you respond to him not me as this was my idea!

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Build one with a conventional power plant. The original “Kennedy” in the early 60s was designed to be nuclear powered, but that was changed because of costs. We live in a ’15 carrier’ world. We can’t get there if every carrier is nuclear powered. This country did just fine with conventionally powered carriers. It is FOLLY to make all carriers, and submarines for that matter, nuclear powered. Quantity is a quality all its own. We need numbers. Time to set some established paradigms aside.

    • Rocco

      Agreed to a point!! This made the Kennedy one of a kind something we should stay clear of ….. But then HIll don’t care about this.

      • Chesapeakeguy

        I agree with that. Do NOT build just one conventionally powered carrier. My point is about THIS particular ‘buy’ of two carriers at once. CV-67 showed that it is not too complicated to delete nuclear components from a design and still have an effective design.

        • Rocco

          Thanks!! But then conventional carriers will need more support ships! Dammed if you do or don’t lol. It used to be that Carriers were designed for the aircraft type it can use not just carry. Take the Forrestal class which I served on as well as the SARA. When the phantom was designed it was deemed to fast & powerful for the Essex class not just heavy because it wasn’t the case of weight alone. So 4 Forrestal class ships were built. Fast forward today we still Have Hornets & incoming F-35C models. 1st squadron on ship now as we speak. Why do we need an 1100′ + Carriers if we are only going out on deployment with 60 aircraft. In my day we squeezed 85+ on Forrestal!! They were perfect size then & should of been carried over now.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Well, at least those additional support ships can provide additional support to other ships. I worked on both of those ships and rode the Forrestal as part of my job way back when. I have no answers as to why air wings have been allowed to shrink so much. I’ve always been a believer in one air wing per carrier, right now we have 9 (I believe) for 11 carriers. F-35Bs might not need catapults and arrester gear, but the other planes that comprise the air group do. When it’s all said and done, it’s not so much about total costs as it is about ‘bang for the buck’. If 2 conventionally powered ships can be built for the price of one nuclear powered one, and with the requirements for additional support ships, and more airplanes, do those 2 conventional carriers offer more than the 1 nuke when the fur hits the fan? This isn’t about being able to attack some outfit like ISIS or the Taliban that cannot realistically threaten a carrier or its planes, but how they would fare against a peer or near peer rival. Personally I like the numbers over the total ‘quality’.

          • El Kabong

            “Well, at least those additional support ships can provide additional support to other ships.”?

            Well, more targets for your enemies….More manpower divered….More money on more hulls…

            How much electricity does a CVN generate?
            How many refuelings would a CV need monthly?

          • Rocco

            Agreed on all points unlike the cvno idiot in here lol. When were you on Forrestal? Yes we are down to 4 airwings now will probably go up with new SH & F-35C coming. As for the support ships the Navy doesn’t want to spend money on more of these, but just read last week on here 2 new ones were just built. A double-edged sword with this subject lol. The thing is from a engineering standpoint a Nuke carrier can sustain high speed for longer periods than conventional ships! & That’s all this younger generation knows . It’s like asking car manufacturers to go back to carburetors!! Lol. I am for more is more in numbers. Now if a mix of new Flat tops & Essex class size CVL’S would complement the Ford class once the early Nimitz class retires . I think 6 Ford class ships is enough. 3 on each cost. Eventually the WASP class will be retired as they are going on 25 plus. The only conventional powered ships except LHD-8 .

          • Chesapeakeguy

            I worked on the Forrestal several times in the 80s. The first time I rode her was as a guest of one of the crew members in a space we were working in, and they went out on their Dependent’s Day cruise. That was in 1982. I rode her again after her SLEP in the mid-80s or so to check out some equipment we installed. But I worked on her a few other times besides the ones I mentioned. A fine ship indeed.

          • Rocco

            OMG dude lol I was on at the same time 81-84! In 82 you boarded in rota Spain for the tiger cruise! It’s a small world! Lol.stayed with her in the yards in Philly then went to the SARA on one deployment. What did you work on?

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Comm equipment. Various types. I did everything out of Mayport. I worked on the Sara too down there at various times, all in the 80s.

          • Rocco

            Lol remember Lenard Skynyrds on A1A ? I got attacked buy a mother duck when my golf ball went in the ruff on the 18th fairway. Lol.. it’s a small world no wonder we agree!

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Roger that Rocco!

        • El Kabong

          Do NOT build CV’s again.

    • Mastro63

      Doesn’t have the room for much aviation fuel, and needs a couple oilers nearby. Not and issue for the Brits or Russians- since they really don’t go anywhere.

      • Chesapeakeguy

        How so? The ‘super carriers’ from the Forrestal to the Kennedy did just fine. Certainly they can’t carry as MUCH as a nuke, but so what? The benefits in building and maintenance costs will allow for additional tankers. No one disputes that a nuclear powered carrier is the more superior and capable asset. But their costs are what they are. The fact is that the conventionally powered carriers have as much flight deck and hangar space as a nuke, and can thus carry as many planes.

        • El Kabong

          LMAO!

          Wow…Just, wow….

          “The ‘super carriers’ from the Forrestal to the Kennedy did just fine.”?

          That was due to nuclear powered carriers being NEW TECHNOLOGY at the time.

          It’s proven.

          “The fact is that the conventionally powered carriers have as much flight deck and hangar space as a nuke, and can thus carry as many planes.”?

          Hilarious!

          Do conventional carriers have the same range as a CVN?
          Fresh water supply? Heat supply? Electricity?

          • Chesapeakeguy

            I don’t know why you’re so threatened and challenged by all this, but I’ll happily address you current hissy fit. What part of the Navy being well served by those ships do you not comprehend? Tell me how they WEREN’T. Do tell, there used to be nuclear powered cruisers that the Navy operated, were there not? What became of them? WHY did that happen? And what replaced them ALL? Nobody is denying that a nuke carrier is the superior platform visa vis a conventional one. Same applies to subs. Unlike possible conventional subs, conventional carriers WILL do everything and go everywhere a nuke one does. They generated enough electricity to do their jobs back when they were in service. Is the Zumwalt nuclear powered? No, but it has a revolutionary power generating plant. And in all your whining and carrying on, you haven’t refuted that the conventionally powered carriers did indeed carry as many planes and had flight decks and hangars as large as the nukes.

            OK?

          • Rocco

            He’s the Troll of Trolls!!

          • Chesapeakeguy

            We’ve seen him before on here, we will again. LOL..

          • El Kabong

            “I don’t know…”?

            We’ve established your lack of knowledge.

            Now, why are you so scared to answer my questions?

        • Rocco

          Agreed!! Keep it going!

      • El Kabong

        Who last fought a major naval engagement?

        The Brits or the Yanks?

    • El Kabong

      Wow…

      Sure, add a HUGE fuel supply and a nice, ripe IR signature with a funnel…… /sarc

      • Chesapeakeguy

        Oh, you mean like all those OTHER ships the Navy currently powers with fuel oil? Like THEM?

        • El Kabong

          Oh, you mean those CHEAPER and SMALLER ships? LMAO!

          • Chesapeakeguy

            And far less capable ones? Like your LCS? THOSE? By all means, LYAO! (The “Y” means ‘Your’). Y welcome..

          • El Kabong

            Duaney? Is that you?

            LMAO!!!!

            Wow, are you seriously confused.

            Using your deeply flawed logic, you’d put a reactor into an LCAC…

            Shoo.

  • Jim London

    #81 needs to be the Enterprise, what more can be said. The Big “E”

    • Rocco

      It’s already named!!!

  • Tracy Johnson

    Nice picture of the blue cranes. One of my sons worked on a non-union contract to keep them painted. Mom kept telling him, “Why don’t you wear a hard hat?” Son kept telling her it was pointless at that height and there was more danger should the hat fall. It was one of those round and round mother and son arguments that never ended until he found another job.

  • Leatherstocking

    Buying together should yield good savings but then there with be a dearth of work for the subtier contractors until the CVx-82 and beyond are considered. Some of those companies will see no business other than spares for 7-10+ years depending on the next class (or continuation) of carriers. HII-NNS is not the only contractor in the industrial base.

  • PolicyWonk

    The real problem is getting shipbuilding (and force structure, etc.) to a sustainable level to retain the industrial base, keep our ships maintained, and properly manned.

    The best way to do this, is to first fix DoD acquisition, which would save the taxpayers a tremendous amount of money. For what we were spending during even the low points of the Obama years (thanks to the Great Recession and economic stupidity on the part of the mathematically challenged HoRs), we could build and sustain a significantly larger force than we have today.

    • Rocco

      Kudos!! As long as we don’t get greedy & build ridiculous ships like the Zumwalt class!!

      • PolicyWonk

        Indeed – the Zumwalt’s were less than well considered.

        That said, there might be some benefits, in the sense that if the ship’s systems, propulsion, and sea-frame are successful, then it is possible we may get a whole new class of lower-cost destroyers that will benefit from it.

        This would be the same result we got from the Seawolf SSN class, that while hugely expensive and discontinued, garnered us the Virgina-class that has served us so well (and will continue to do so for many years to come).

        • Rocco

          Amen!

  • Terenc Blakely

    I thought there was a major scandal with the new EM launch system used in these carriers that hasn’t been resolved yet. Am I misinformed?

    • Rocco

      Why would you think that!! It’s new technology dude!!

      • Terenc Blakely

        Well if correct, from what I read we’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars to fix.

        • Rocco

          Your behind the times dude & exaggerated!

    • muzzleloader

      The USS Gerald Ford has conducted three independent steaming exercises to date.
      The 1st was with helos only.
      The 2nd and 3rd ISE’s was with fixed wing. On the last ISE, 2 squadrons of Super Hornets and some E-2 Hawkeyes came aboard for about 10 days for intensive flight operations,both day and night.
      To date the Ford has 750 cats and traps logged.
      The next phase will involve bringing a whole Airwing aboard, though I don’t know when that will happen.

  • David Oldham

    How’s about this for radical thinking, a new carrier every four years no ifs ands or Obamas.

  • El Kabong

    When was one last sunk?

  • Rocco

    Lol good going!!

  • Chesapeakeguy

    They come with the territory. LOL..

  • Ron8200

    A two ship buy for carriers saves $2.5B? Why aren’t we buying every class of ship in multiples? Mass production makes it cheaper. Buying 3 or 4 destroyers at a time or frigates saves taxpayers money. Ensures the yards future and hopefully allows us to build better ships.

  • Kenneth Millstein

    Can you just imagine the USS Donald J. Trump. If need be, just to stop naming carriers for Presidents that would be reason enough. Heaven forbid we might see the launching of the USS Trump.

    I am all for the USS Forrestal. James Forrestal was the Secretary of Defense. The first Forrestal was CV59 and was the lead ship of her class. She was launched on: 11 December 1954 and was Commissioned on 1 October 1955. She was De-commissioned on 11 September 1993.

    • WhiskyTangoFoxtrot

      If they named one after Obumer it would be called the “USS I, I, I, I, I, ahh, I, I, I, I, I, you didn’t built that”

      • Kenneth Millstein

        Please explain your reply. I don’t get it. Thank you.

  • Do not forget the USS Franklin. The RN repeats ship names while the USN in most cases dose not. It is about politics. “Oh boy, I am so proud to serve on USS Gifford”, said one sailor to another who was stationed on USS Murther. Congress should require the next set of carriers to be named after the carriers that won Midway. I noticed that the Navy is paying lip service, in part, to tradition by naming the LHA’s America, Wasp, etc. I was thinking the same when I logged in. PS why did we not honor all the great WW2 submarines, Wahoo, Trigger, Rasher, on and on? We lost 54 boats in that war and they seem to be forgotten. SCPO USN Ret. It is also about tradition, pride, and service.

    • John McHugh

      Agreed. I have been thinking that when the USN finally brings back a conventional, non-nuc sub, such as the 212 and/or a Collins style platform, they should be named for the fighting fish of WWII. Smaller boats forward based at Sasebo for SCS coverage.

  • Curtis Conway

    If our Navy is anything . . . it should always be INTREPID ! . . though I do like Lexington. What a Quarterdeck that would be.

  • El Kabong

    Shoo.

  • El Kabong

    Lead by example.

    Run along now…

  • El Kabong

    Stalker much?

    Yeesh.

  • El Kabong

    “This comment is awaiting moderation.”

    You really should learn your lessons.

  • El Kabong

    “This comment is awaiting moderation.”

    You should be sorry.

  • El Kabong

    “This comment is awaiting moderation.”

    Keep it up.

  • El Kabong

    Nope…

  • El Kabong

    Shoo.