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Report to Congress on Gerald R. Ford Class Carrier Program

The following is the March 30, 2018 Congressional Research Service report, Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress.

From the Report:

CVN-78, CVN-79, CVN-80, and CVN-81 are the first four ships in the Navy’s new Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (CVNs).

CVN-78 (named for Gerald R. Ford) was procured in FY2008. The Navy’s proposed FY2019 budget estimates the ship’s procurement cost at $12,964.0 million (i.e., about $13.0 billion) in then-year dollars. The ship received advance procurement (AP) funding in FY2001-FY2007 and was fully funded in FY2008-FY2011 using congressionally authorized four-year incremental funding. To help cover cost growth on the ship, the ship received an additional $1,394.9 million in FY2014-FY2016 and FY2018 cost-to-complete procurement funding. The ship was delivered to the Navy on May 31, 2017, and was commissioned into service on July 22, 2017.

CVN-79 (named for John F. Kennedy) was procured in FY2013. The Navy’s proposed FY2019 budget estimates the ship’s procurement cost at $11,341.4 million (i.e., about $11.3 billion) in then-year dollars. The ship received AP funding in FY2007-FY2012, and was fully funded in FY2013-FY2018 using congressionally authorized six-year incremental funding. The ship is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in September 2024.

CVN-80 (named Enterprise) was procured in FY2018. The Navy’s proposed FY2019 budget estimates the ship’s procurement cost at $12,901.7 million (i.e., about $12.9 billion) in then-year dollars. The ship received AP funding in FY2016 and FY2017, and the Navy plans to fully fund the ship in FY2018-FY2023 using congressionally authorized six-year incremental funding. The Navy’s proposed FY2019 budget requests $1,598.2 million in procurement funding for the ship. The ship is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in September 2027.

CVN-81 (not yet named) is scheduled to be procured in FY2023. The Navy’s proposed FY2019 budget estimates the ship’s procurement cost at $15,088.0 million (i.e., about $15.1 billion) in then-year dollars. The Navy plans to request AP funding for the ship in FY2021 and FY2022, and then fully fund the ship in FY2023-FY2028 using congressionally authorized six-year incremental funding. The Navy’s FY2019 budget submission programs the initial increment of AP funding for the ship in FY2021. The ship is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in September 2032.

Oversight issues for Congress for the CVN-78 program for FY2019 include the following:

  • whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy’s FY2019 procurement funding requests for the CVN-78 program;
  • whether to accelerate the procurement of CVN-81 from FY2023 to an earlier year, or use a block buy contract to procure multiple aircraft carriers, or pursue a combined material buy for multiple aircraft carriers, or do some combination of these things;
  • cost growth in the CVN-78 program, Navy efforts to stem that growth, and Navy efforts to manage costs so as to stay within the program’s cost caps;
  • CVN-78 program issues that were raised in a January 2018 report from the Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E); and
  • whether the Navy should shift at some point from procuring large-deck, nuclear-powered carriers like the CVN-78 class to procuring smaller aircraft carriers.

  • battlestations

    42 million dollars for preliminary design of a Midway class sized carrier due by Sept 2019!

    • DaSaint

      Yes, I saw that too.
      Also, Congress not happy with the disposal plans, or lack thereof, of the Enterprise.

      • SDW

        seems to be mostly environmental issues?

        • tiger

          Oh like no national nuke dump site in Nevada because of politics & nimby.

          • Duane

            Nevada has nothing to do with Naval Reactors. All Navy nuke ships go through nuclear deactivation where the reactor core is removed, certain other tasks are performed, and then the reactor compartment on a sub is cut out, put on a barge, shipped up the Colombia River to Hanford, and disposed in a huge lined landfill.

            We’ve never before deactivated a CVN, so this is a first ever evolution. Enterprise had 8 separate reactor plants, each one several times larger than an SSN plant of that era. It’s quite a logistical challenge.

          • tiger

            Sorry, but a landfill at Handford is nor a long term storage solution. There is 70,000 metric tons of nuke waste in the USA. Civilian & DOD. It needs to go some place.

      • Larry Otto

        CVN-65 was to go to PSNS for disposal since they have a lot of experience with her and with disposing of nuclear reactors.

  • PolicyWonk

    The most serious problem for the USS Ford is represented by major design flaws in EMALS, which are so bad that despite the USS Ford being commissioned into the USN, she cannot be used as a front line CVN due to severe reliability problems (from what I recollect: a 1 in 400 launch failure rate). Additionally a huge single-point-of-failure issue apparently exists because the entire EMALS system goes down if there is a failure(or shutdown) in any of the 4 catapults due to accident, maintenance, battle damage, etc.

    The problems are such that the USN is seriously considering bringing a recently retired carrier back into service because the EMALS problem will be neither easy or cheap to fix.

    When the USN is seriously entertaining restoring a mothballed carrier to service to fill in the gaps, its is clear the EMALS issue represents a major problem that will not be fixed soon. In the meantime, the USS Ford can only be used as a training ship, and/or otherwise she could be leveraged (perhaps) as a very large LHA so that the taxpayers get some value for the vast quantity of funds invested into a monstrously flawed design, until the issue is (if ever) remedied.

    • tiger

      How can a system they have played with for 20 years be so bleeped up? Sigh……

      • SDW

        I fear you’ve answered your own question: “…they have played with for 20 years…”.

    • Ed L

      My brother worked on the Ford. I asked him about that. And he told me the static testing in the yard using sleds was successful. Next Carrier name should be Lexington. Now fr the question of the CV LX

      • SDW

        Did that testing address the question of sortie rates?

      • PolicyWonk

        The static testing apparently went ok. But the design of the overall system is a mess, with a few critical errors nasty enough to render her undeployable as a CVN.

      • Rocco

        Can’t use Lexington as it’s still a Ship but in museum status!! As all the other ships in this status!!

        • Ctrot

          USS North Carolina (BB-55) is a museum ship yet we have a new USS North Carolina (SSN-777). Same goes for USS Yorktown (CV-10)/(CG-48) and other examples.

          • Rocco

            I’ve explained this before the name can be used in a different class of ships but not in the same class of ships in status!! obviously we don’t have BB’s no more!!! .I work I a museum ship so don’t try to argue this!

          • Ctrot

            That isn’t what your previous post stated. You made no mention of “same class of ship”.

            Regardless, USS John F Kennedy (CV-67) is decommissioned and available for museum status and yet CVN-79 has been named USS John F. Kennedy, both carriers.

            Explain that, museum ship expert.

          • Rocco

            I don’t have time to go into details!! If you want to know the reason look it up!! FYI the Kennedy family doesn’t want the ship !! Nor is it gonna be a museum as it will take way too much money for anyone but a billionaire to fund it!! Plus an accessable pier to put it & staff it expert!!!

          • Larry Otto

            Why are we so hyped up for museum ships, especially those that have little history or accomplishment when compared to CV-6? CV-6 earned 20 of 22 battle stars awarded in WW II as well as a Presidential Unit Citation. The government just had to get $1 million to sell her and this nation would/could NOT come up with that pittance to get our greatest war ship and convert her into a museum. I guess I should cut the government some slack since it had just spent a lot of money fixing the latest battle damage to USS Enterprise.

          • Rocco

            So Larry…Who said we were or hyped up?!! To what capacity do you have that you spent your money?? You mean taxpayers money?? On the Big E!!
            I agree with you on CV -6 should of been saved. I meet a 96 yr old Corsair pilot last year that flew the prototype night radar fighter type!

          • Matthew Schilling

            Virtually every sentence you write ends with at least one exclamation point, usually more. Some might call that anecdotal evidence of being hyped up.

          • Rocco

            Why is this a problem!!!!!!!!!!
            I’m Italian I talk with my hands!! 🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙏

          • Larry Otto

            I meant that I think we are quite hyped. Look at all of the ships that have been saved and are being used as memorials, ships that have done little or nothing. CV-41 is a memorial in San Diego. She was not ready in time to see any action in WW II. She had some action off Vietnam but, none in Korea. Then they did a gigantic rebuild which made her sea keeping very difficult — a ship built to 40,000 tons was given a fight deck almost as big as our 60,000 ton CVA’s or CVN-65.
            By 1945, CV-6 was the smallest of our CV’s (not to be compared to the CVL’s). Big E was working as a night ops carrier with Butch O’Hare flying night missions until he was killed (his MoH (earned in the Battle of Coral Sea (half of the battle stars missed by E) is on display at the Naval Aviation Museum at the Pensacola NAS. There is a small (while much larger than any other) display paying homage to CV-6

          • Rocco

            Seriously !!! I’m waking up this morning to read this! Not appreciated!! Look up the history of the Midway before you post !! If you think the history of her is insignificant tell this to the men that served on her!! The only thing that I can agree with is the flight deck mods done in the early 80’s !!! It’s not the ship’s fault!! This was President Reagan’s doing to keep a 15 carrier fleet!!

          • Larry Otto

            I’m sorry that you took me that way. In my mind, this started out being about CV-6. Compared to The Big E, most other carriers do not have as much to offer. I know that Midway did several tours to Yankee station and even was awarded the PUC by Nixon after Op Line Backer II (which, to my mind proved that we could have defeated N Viet any time we wanted to).
            I think that it was about 1988 that Vo Nguyen Giap (who ran the war for father Ho) wrote a book about the war. In the book, he stated that if we had run this Op for another ten days, they would have had to surrender.
            I really do get tired of writing books when trying to take part in these discussions. So, don’t get so worked up over the perceived screw-ups by me. Oh, and that ridiculous modification to Midway cost almost half of what it cost to build CVN-65 new.

          • Rocco

            So you write books?? About what subjects?. I’m not sure of the numbers on what it cost the Midway during the Reagan era. But I will look it up! What was done to her was to be able to put 75 aircraft on her by over extension of the port side angle deck. Which put way too much unbalanced sea keeping. I knew people who served on her & the starboard side always had to be full of fuel or sea water to counter balance stability especially in rough water. So the cost due to attrition & inflation compared to what CVN-65 cost was normal? Don’t know. We were at the hayday of shipyard era at the time as well as she was jambed into the yards when all were busy keeping a 600 ship Navy. FYI the Big E was supposed to be a 6 class type but too expensive to go beyond Enterprise. Thank God we didn’t.

          • Ctrot

            Look it up? It’s your claim, if you can’t defend it then I’m just going to assume you simply don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • Rocco

            I could care less what you assume!!

          • Ctrot

            The proper usage of the expression you’re looking for is “I could not care less”. You’re welcome.

          • Rocco

            Negative!! Nothing wrong with the way I said it!! No you’re not welcome!! So stop bothering me!!

          • Ctrot

            You just can’t admit when you’re wrong can you? As you recently told me: “Look it up”. LOL.

          • Rocco

            GFYS

          • Ctrot

            No need for such language, even in abbreviated form.

          • Rocco

            No need to press the issue here when is asked you to stop bothering me!! What part don’t you understand! The matter with me is closed!!

          • Ctrot

            So stop replying.

          • Rocco

            Well you deserve it !! I asked you twice that I’m done with the conversation & not to bother me but you keep pressing the issue here!! There is no issue!!

      • tiger

        I think it is about time Eugine Ely be honored with a CVN.

        • Rocco

          I like that! Or on an LHA

    • SDW

      I think of the analogy of the Indy 500 race car and the dragster rail. One lasts a lot longer than the other but they are both “high maintenance”, built for racing–not the street, and the drivers prepare for catastrophic failure as a real possibility during any run. I wouldn’t want (nor could I afford) to drive it home at the end of the day. EMALS has a long road ahead of it before the Ford begins to resemble a couple of TLD (Three-letter-designation) ship types that are borderline mission-incapable but are always promising to have everything straight in 6 months but meanwhile still count as hulls in the fleet.

      The arresting gear has big issues too. The Dual-Band Radar seems to have been quietly killed off as a good idea, on paper. The Navy didn’t even bother with the new elevators and goodness-knows what else just in terms of equipment. I’m not a tin-hat conspiracy nut I wonder what could be the “real” reasons the USN is so adamant about skipping shock testing. Getting an 11th carrier back in the fleet just doesn’t ring truthful to me–nobody is fooled by that excuse.

      • PolicyWonk

        I am aware of the other issues – but I thought they’d gotten the arresting gear issue figured out. That one, at least, isn’t the one that was cited for the reason why the Ford cannot be deployed to do what a CVN is supposed to do.

        I also took notice of the reluctance of the USN to subject the ship to real shock testing – just as they did for the commercial grade “littoral combat ship” classes. When folks want to avoid testing they know is part of a given program – there’s *always* a reason for it – and its rarely, if ever, a good one.

        • Duane

          The Ford cannot be deployed today because, just like every other warship after delivery is subjected to years of shakedown training, certification, shock trials (for a first in class vessel), etc. Deployment comes years after delivery, especially big complex warships like CVNs. The tenth and last Nimitz CVN, the George Bush, was not deployed for the first time until 2 years after delivery to the Navy, and being 10th in class had no major configuration changes and no need for shock testing.

          The Ford was delivered the end of May last year, is first in class and will undergo shock trials. Her first deployment is scheduled to begin in FY2020.

          • SDW

            Yes, ships–especially first in class–often take more than a year between delivery and deployment. The issue with the FORD is the time between commissioning and deployment. She was commissioned while the paint was still wet and that made no sense except to be able to claim that 11 carriers were “in commission”.

          • Duane

            Actually, you have it backwards. The Ford was delivered by the builder to the Navy in May last year, but the commissioning did not take place til November. Many times a ship is commissioned first, then later delivered by the builder. The last Nimitz carrier, the Bush, was commissioned in Feb 2009 and then delivered in May 2009.

        • SDW

          What I’ve heard about for the FORD’s arresting gear is concern about single point of failure and reliability/maintainability. If they’ve “made it right” then congratulations.

      • tiger

        This ship is as unspectacular as it`s namesakes presidential term.

    • Kypros

      The only carrier which could even
      be recomissioned is the Kitty Hawk, but that would take years, (at least 2) and cost hundreds of millions, if not more. And then you still have a 58 year old ship. No, the better solution is to either fix EMALS or replace with tried and true steam

      • Rocco

        The better choice would be the Kennedy as she initially was supposed to be a Nuke & can accommodate new equipment!

        • PolicyWonk

          You may very well be right…

          • Rocco

            Just makes sense & should of been done long time ago

        • Kypros

          Kennedy is in rough, rough, shape and was never maintained as well as Kitty Hawk. Not impossible, but could easily eat up a billion dollars in work. I can’t imagine the US Navy spending that money.

          • Rocco

            Yes but still the better choice as for the way the flight deck is laid out. The Navy wasted billions in the Ford class not even perfecting it & still have 3 more coming! The problem with the emals is it works better on the ground than on a ship! I spoke to an engineer that works at Lakehurst! He just laughed & shook his head!

          • muzzleloader

            A friend of mine was on the INSURV team that basically ended the JFK’s career. He said the ship was in terrible condition, to the point that corrosion had eaten deck surfaces all the way through.
            The cost of making the Kennedy fleet ready would be obscene.

      • PolicyWonk

        They are certainly going to try to fix EMALS – but replacing it with steam will mean ripping out, redesigning, and replacing a significant percentage of the infrastructure.

        Clearly, if the problem is serious enough for the USN to even publicly admit to considering the recommissioning an old flattop, then the problems are beyond being merely deep-rooted. The USS Ford represents yet another acquisition blunder of epic proportion.

        • Kypros

          If EMALS can even be fixed. How many times have we heard it’s fixed or has received a software update and NOW it’s fixed, yet never seems to be fixed. The Ford is a huge investment by the taxpayers and it had damn well better get fixed and deliver on 50 years of unrestricted service. If not, make sure other ships in the class don’t have the same problem and then go back and spend the money to make the Ford serviceable.

          • PolicyWonk

            The investment in the USS Ford is somewhere around $14B, and the fix (whether EMALS or conventional) could very well hit the billion dollar mark (and likely far more), especially if the USN determines they have to recommission a flattop from the mothball fleet in the interim. As I mentioned, even the USN says the fix will be neither easy nor cheap (uh-oh: hang onto your wallet!).

          • Kypros

            Exactly right! The cost of the USS Ford is massive. The navy just can’t leave it tied to the pier. And it can’t place restrictions on it’s performance, either. If EMALS can’t be fixed, then spend the billion or whatever it costs to revert back to conventional catapults/arrestor gear. You’d certainly spend that money and time on recommissioning an old carrier.

          • Rocco

            Unfortunately that can’t happen engineering wise!! It is what it is!!

          • Kypros

            The Chinese Navy is planning on EMALS for their next class of carriers. Wouldn’t that be something, if EMALS on the Ford worked perfectly, but in a counter-intelligence operation, are making it look like a disaster because the Chicoms have already stolen the EMALS plans, like they do everything else. I know, I’m dreaming! LOL!

          • Rocco

            What makes you think China stole the technology?? FYI they I believe use monorail travel on trains way before we have which EMAILS is based off of!

          • Duane

            EMALS isn’t broken. Stop saying it must or can’t be “fixed” when it isn’t broken.

          • Kypros

            Currently it’s not operating to standards. So it’s kinda broken. The hope is that it’s fixable

          • Duane

            No, dude, EMALS IS performing to standards on launches performed at sea on the Ford.

          • tachyonzero

            you’re late on EMALS. The system works, just check out youtube.

          • Duane

            EMALS is fine, it’s not “broken” and performed well in initial cat launches to date. Over time testing will ramp up to max capacity, and if any glitches are experienced, fixes and adjustments will be made.

            Just like happens on every new design system.

          • Kypros

            I hope you are right and it’s not a complete design clusterfark

          • muzzleloader

            Did you see my above post?

      • Larry Otto

        Again, we rushed to take CVN-65 out of service so we could upgrade smart phones to welfare widows.

        • Rocco

          Would you stop posting stupid comments!! You have no idea what your talking about!

        • Rocco

          Enterprise was shot!! It was already over 50 yrs old & battle worn!! Why would you think differently? Unless the emotional connection fogs your brain!!

      • tiger

        Actually JFK is in mothballs too. Both seem like poor options.

      • tachyonzero

        You’re late on EMALS. The system works. Check out youtube on its performance.

        • tiger

          No, it is not working.

          • tachyonzero

            Which one? the youtube or the EMALs?

    • muzzleloader

      According to a news article I read on the Gerald Ford after her last
      Independent steaming exercise in February, the Ford had logged 747 traps and recoverys. Two squadrons of SH and two Hawkeyes spent a week onboard doing launches and recoveries, in both day and night settings.
      The article also said that the next major event would be an entire air wing coming on board
      You can look at the article on the Gerald Ford Facebook page.

    • Duane

      State your sources claiming EMALS is broken today.

      That would be major news splashed all over the America hating news media, if true. Unless you can back it up with official reports, then you’ve just been caught in yet another L-word here at USNI.

      I just searched the internet, and the only actual performance results are fine to date in low rate ops (which is always where shipboard testing begins), and a typical DOT&E memo that worries the system may not hold up at full combat tempo. But it is only that – worry and speculation by the auditors. No hard data. Of course, RT picked up on that and, just like you, who loves to diss all new naval and aviation tech, ran with it as if this were a real fact based “report” and not just a couple of auditors doing their usual negative Nancy handwringing act.

      If your sources for doomsday reporting are a couple of DOT&E auditors and Russia Today, then you’ve been had.

      On the other hand, SH pilots are reporting for the record in media interviews that they really like EMALS because it creates less shock on launch. Of course that is one of the key benefits of EMALS – less shock to the system. Not necessarily to make the carrier pilots feel better, but to increase the airframe lifetime by about 25%, which is a huge savings to the Navy and the taxpayer, considering that a Ford Class CVN will deploy an air wing with a composite purchase cost of more than $8B.

      • Kypros

        I never saw the RT story on it and wouldn’t believe anything from that propaganda rag anyway My sources however, are every other source I’ve seen on the subject Like I said, I hope you are correct and it can be fixed. EMALS functioning as envisioned sounds great. EMALS which doesn’t work as envisioned and can’t be fixed equals a floating $14B casino.

        • Duane

          Wrong – EMALS DOES work as designed. Period, end of story. It is progressing as planned through many hundreds of launches to date at sea on the USS Ford.

      • tiger

        THE big Problem with Emals is when one cat goes down, all four shut operation.

        • Duane

          Please state your source for that claim. Each cat is an independent linear induction motor, independently powered by the ship’s electrical plant.

          • tiger

            Strategy page had the story. The mods prevent the web link to the story.

          • tiger

            Here is copy of the report from strategy page.
            March 18, 2018: In February 2018 the U.S. Navy confirmed that it had major problems with the design and construction of its new EMALS (Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System) catapult installed in its latest aircraft carrier; the USS Ford (CVN 78) and the three other Ford class carriers under construction. During sea trials the Ford used EMALS heavily, as would be the case in combat and training operations and found EMALS less reliable than the older steam catapult, more labor intensive to operate, put more stress on launched aircraft than expected and due to a basic design flaw if one EMALS catapult becomes inoperable, the other three catapults could not be used in the meantime as was the case with steam catapults. This meant that the older practice of taking one or more steam catapults off line for maintenance or repairs while at sea was not practical because the design of the EMALS system did not allow for it. The navy admitted that in combat if one or more catapults were rendered unusable they remained that way until it was possible to shut down all four catapults for repairs. The navy also asked for another delay in performing mandated shock tests, in which controlled explosions were set off near the hull that generated at least 66 percent of amount of force the ship was designed to handle. This would reveal what equipment was not sufficiently built or installed to handle shock and make changes as well as confirming that the hull can handle the stress overall. The navy wants to wait until the second Ford class carrier enters service in 2024 because, it admits, it is unsure how badly shock tests would damage new systems and design features. Meanwhile there are some other major shortcomings with the Fords, including electronics (the radars), the flight deck arresting gear and some of the elevators. But none of these are as serious as the malfunctioning catapults.

            Some of the problems with EMALS were of the sort that could be fixed while the new ship was in service. That included tweaking EMALS operation to generate less stress on aircraft and modifying design of EMALS and reorganizing how sailors use the system to attain the smaller number of personnel required for catapult operations. But the fatal flaws involved reliability. An EMALS catapult was supposed to have a breakdown every 4,100 launches but in heavy use EMALS actually failed every 400 launches. By the end of 2017 the navy concluded that an EMALS equipped carrier had only a seven percent chance of successfully completing a typical four day “surge” (multiple catapult launches for a major combat operation) and only a 70 percent chance of completing a one day surge operation. That was because when one EMALS catapult went down all four were inoperable. In effect the Ford class carriers are much less capable of performing in combat than their predecessors.

            With steam catapults when one went down the other three could continue to operate. Worse even minor repairs or maintenance on one catapult means all four had to be out of service. The navy hopes they can come up with some kind of, as yet unknown, modifications to EMALS to fix all these problems. In the meantime the new Ford carrier is much less useful than older ones that use steam catapults. In fact the Ford class carriers are basically worthless, except for training of the non-flight crew (which cannot function without reliable catapults).

            There are no easy solutions. For example it would cost over half a billion dollars to remove EMALS and install the older steam catapults. This would also take up to several years and lead to many other internal changes. The navy is now considering bringing a recently retired carrier back to active service as a stopgap because whatever the fix is it will not be quick or cheap. The most worrisome part of this is the apparent inability of navy ship building and design experts to come up with a solution for the problem they created. For the navy officers and civilian officials involved there is another problem. The current Secretary of Defense is a retired Marine Corps general who has a good idea of how the navy operates without being part of the navy (the Marine Corps and Navy are two separate services in the Department of the Navy). The marines have a well-deserved reputation for being less understanding about failure and in a situation like this a former marine general as Secretary of Defense is very bad news for the navy officers responsible for creating, sustaining and being unable to fix this EMALS disaster.

            This EMALS catastrophe was avoidable and the problems should have been detected and taken care of before the Ford was on sea trials. Back in 2010 the U.S. Navy plan to equip future aircraft carriers with electromagnetic catapults seemed like a great idea and everyone seemed assured that all was proceeding according to plan. This was especially true after EMALS passed some key tests in 2010. This included the first time an EMALS catapult launched an F-18E carrier jet fighter. This was from a land base equipped with the test version of EMALS. Earlier in 2010 tests had been put on hold for a bit while software problems were fixed. The mechanical aspects of the electromagnetic catapult were believed pretty much solved but the test model the navy was working with has been having some serious problems with the control software. In all the midst of all this there was no mention of the key problems, like being able to repair one catapult while the other three kept working. This had been a key feature of steam catapults for a long time and what is really scary here is that no one caught it.

            With the 2010 decision the plan to put electromagnetic catapults into all future carriers (beginning with the Ford) went ahead and apparently serious criticism of real problems was no longer an option. This was a great relief at the time because the Ford was under construction and a massive (and expensive) redesign would be needed to make room for the bulkier steam catapult. Now that option must be again considered, along with the other option, to try and fix the problems that were missed in 2010.

            EMALS is still preferred because when it works as designed it puts less stress on launched aircraft (it moves the aircraft forward more gradually), requires fewer people to operate, and is easier to maintain (not much plumbing, fewer mechanical parts and lots of sturdy electronics). The gentler treatment of launched aircraft would means that smaller aircraft could use the catapult and that aircraft with larger payloads could be launched. Without a functional EMALS the steam and electricity generation system of the Ford class carriers, designed to supply large quantities of electric power, would not be able to provide the needed quantities of electricity to operate powerful new weapons like rail guns and high powered lasers as well as EMALS.

            The EMALS disaster calls into question the ability of the navy to handle new, untried, technologies. That is not a new problem and has been around since World War II. In retrospect not enough was done to test and address what are now obvious problems. The current solution is to delay the moment of truth as long as possible and then conclude that it was unclear exactly how it happened but that measures would be taken to see that it never happen again. That approach is wearing thin because more people are well aware that is just a cover for the corruption and mismanagement that has been developing within the industries that build warships. The U.S. Navy has been having a growing number of similar problems (the design of the LCS, the DDG 1000 and a lot of smaller systems).

            Meanwhile there is a critical need for new carriers. The first ship of the new class of carriers, the Ford is about the same length (333 meters/1,092 feet) and displacement (100,000 tons) of the previous generation (Nimitz class ships) but will look different. The most noticeable difference will be the island set closer to the stern (rear) of the ship. The internal differences are much more obvious, including the power generation and electrical system. The Nimitz ships are rapidly wearing out and with the EMALS disaster the navy will have to improvise and do without for a decade or more.

            The Fords were not just replacements for the aging Nimitz class, they were designed to be cheaper to operate. There is a lot more automation and smaller crews. The Ford will be the first modern American warship built without urinals. There are several reasons for this. The Ford will have a smaller crew (by at least 20 percent) and more of them will be women. Currently about ten percent of American warship crews are women, but the Ford crew will be at least 15 percent female. Since women sleep in all-female dormitories (“berthing areas”), a toilet (“head”) will now be attached to each berthing area (instead of being down the hall). Moreover, berthing areas will be more spacious (because of the smaller crew) and hold a third to half as many bunks as previous carriers. Finally, drain pipes for urinals more frequently get clogged than those coming from toilets. So eliminating the urinals means less work for the plumbers. Many of the junior sailors, who have to clean the heads, won’t miss the urinals, which are more of a chore to keep clean than the toilets. There are a lot of other visible changes to enhance habitability and make long voyages more tolerable. All that will gave to be changed somewhat, at least in the Ford, and perhaps in others of this new class if EMALS cannot be fixed.

            Before the EMALS crises the Ford was expected to cost nearly $14 billion. About 40 percent of that is for designing the first ship of the class, so the actual cost of the first ship (CVN 78) itself will be at least $9 billion and about the same for subsequent ships of the class. Except, that is, for the additional cost of fixing the EMALS problems. Against this the navy expects to reduce the carrier’s lifetime operating expenses by several billion dollars because of greatly reduced crew size. Compared to the current Nimitz class carriers (which cost over $5 billion each to build) the Fords will feel, well, kind of empty because of the automation and smaller crews. There will also be more computer networking, and robots, reducing the number of people constantly moving around inside a Nimitz class carrier (with a crew of 6,000). The most recent Nimitz class ships have a lot of this automation already but adding EMALS was considered too expensive because of the major engineer changes to the power plant and electrical systems. A lot of that is subject to change depending on what internal alterations are required to make the carrier work at last as well as the Nimitz class.

          • Duane

            Strategy page is a media. Give us a US Navy or DOT&E source.

            Note that the post we are commenting on is an official Congressional report that says none of what you say.

        • Rocco

          Who told you that??

          • PolicyWonk

            The USN has admitted this – and that’s regardless of how the cat goes down (accident, battle damage, maintenance, etc.).

            EMALS, at this point, and its installation into the USS ford, cannot be described adequately without overuse of the term “cluster”…

            What we have, is a $14B pier queen (to go along with our 32 mighty “littoral-combat-pier-queens”. $60B of liabilities – as opposed to battle ready assets.

          • Rocco

            Not to mention the other 3 being built!! Makes for a big LHA F-35B carrier!

          • Duane

            give us a source, US Navy or DOT&E.

          • tiger

            Strategy page

          • tiger

            March 18, 2018: In February 2018 the U.S. Navy confirmed that it had major problems with the design and construction of its new EMALS (Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System) catapult installed in its latest aircraft carrier; the USS Ford (CVN 78) and the three other Ford class carriers under construction. During sea trials the Ford used EMALS heavily, as would be the case in combat and training operations and found EMALS less reliable than the older steam catapult, more labor intensive to operate, put more stress on launched aircraft than expected and due to a basic design flaw if one EMALS catapult becomes inoperable, the other three catapults could not be used in the meantime as was the case with steam catapults. This meant that the older practice of taking one or more steam catapults off line for maintenance or repairs while at sea was not practical because the design of the EMALS system did not allow for it. The navy admitted that in combat if one or more catapults were rendered unusable they remained that way until it was possible to shut down all four catapults for repairs. The navy also asked for another delay in performing mandated shock tests, in which controlled explosions were set off near the hull that generated at least 66 percent of amount of force the ship was designed to handle. This would reveal what equipment was not sufficiently built or installed to handle shock and make changes as well as confirming that the hull can handle the stress overall. The navy wants to wait until the second Ford class carrier enters service in 2024 because, it admits, it is unsure how badly shock tests would damage new systems and design features. Meanwhile there are some other major shortcomings with the Fords, including electronics (the radars), the flight deck arresting gear and some of the elevators. But none of these are as serious as the malfunctioning catapults.

            Some of the problems with EMALS were of the sort that could be fixed while the new ship was in service. That included tweaking EMALS operation to generate less stress on aircraft and modifying design of EMALS and reorganizing how sailors use the system to attain the smaller number of personnel required for catapult operations. But the fatal flaws involved reliability. An EMALS catapult was supposed to have a breakdown every 4,100 launches but in heavy use EMALS actually failed every 400 launches. By the end of 2017 the navy concluded that an EMALS equipped carrier had only a seven percent chance of successfully completing a typical four day “surge” (multiple catapult launches for a major combat operation) and only a 70 percent chance of completing a one day surge operation. That was because when one EMALS catapult went down all four were inoperable. In effect the Ford class carriers are much less capable of performing in combat than their predecessors.

            With steam catapults when one went down the other three could continue to operate. Worse even minor repairs or maintenance on one catapult means all four had to be out of service. The navy hopes they can come up with some kind of, as yet unknown, modifications to EMALS to fix all these problems. In the meantime the new Ford carrier is much less useful than older ones that use steam catapults. In fact the Ford class carriers are basically worthless, except for training of the non-flight crew (which cannot function without reliable catapults).

            There are no easy solutions. For example it would cost over half a billion dollars to remove EMALS and install the older steam catapults. This would also take up to several years and lead to many other internal changes. The navy is now considering bringing a recently retired carrier back to active service as a stopgap because whatever the fix is it will not be quick or cheap. The most worrisome part of this is the apparent inability of navy ship building and design experts to come up with a solution for the problem they created. For the navy officers and civilian officials involved there is another problem. The current Secretary of Defense is a retired Marine Corps general who has a good idea of how the navy operates without being part of the navy (the Marine Corps and Navy are two separate services in the Department of the Navy). The marines have a well-deserved reputation for being less understanding about failure and in a situation like this a former marine general as Secretary of Defense is very bad news for the navy officers responsible for creating, sustaining and being unable to fix this EMALS disaster.

            This EMALS catastrophe was avoidable and the problems should have been detected and taken care of before the Ford was on sea trials. Back in 2010 the U.S. Navy plan to equip future aircraft carriers with electromagnetic catapults seemed like a great idea and everyone seemed assured that all was proceeding according to plan. This was especially true after EMALS passed some key tests in 2010. This included the first time an EMALS catapult launched an F-18E carrier jet fighter. This was from a land base equipped with the test version of EMALS. Earlier in 2010 tests had been put on hold for a bit while software problems were fixed. The mechanical aspects of the electromagnetic catapult were believed pretty much solved but the test model the navy was working with has been having some serious problems with the control software. In all the midst of all this there was no mention of the key problems, like being able to repair one catapult while the other three kept working. This had been a key feature of steam catapults for a long time and what is really scary here is that no one caught it.

            With the 2010 decision the plan to put electromagnetic catapults into all future carriers (beginning with the Ford) went ahead and apparently serious criticism of real problems was no longer an option. This was a great relief at the time because the Ford was under construction and a massive (and expensive) redesign would be needed to make room for the bulkier steam catapult. Now that option must be again considered, along with the other option, to try and fix the problems that were missed in 2010.

            EMALS is still preferred because when it works as designed it puts less stress on launched aircraft (it moves the aircraft forward more gradually), requires fewer people to operate, and is easier to maintain (not much plumbing, fewer mechanical parts and lots of sturdy electronics). The gentler treatment of launched aircraft would means that smaller aircraft could use the catapult and that aircraft with larger payloads could be launched. Without a functional EMALS the steam and electricity generation system of the Ford class carriers, designed to supply large quantities of electric power, would not be able to provide the needed quantities of electricity to operate powerful new weapons like rail guns and high powered lasers as well as EMALS.

            The EMALS disaster calls into question the ability of the navy to handle new, untried, technologies. That is not a new problem and has been around since World War II. In retrospect not enough was done to test and address what are now obvious problems. The current solution is to delay the moment of truth as long as possible and then conclude that it was unclear exactly how it happened but that measures would be taken to see that it never happen again. That approach is wearing thin because more people are well aware that is just a cover for the corruption and mismanagement that has been developing within the industries that build warships. The U.S. Navy has been having a growing number of similar problems (the design of the LCS, the DDG 1000 and a lot of smaller systems).

            Meanwhile there is a critical need for new carriers. The first ship of the new class of carriers, the Ford is about the same length (333 meters/1,092 feet) and displacement (100,000 tons) of the previous generation (Nimitz class ships) but will look different. The most noticeable difference will be the island set closer to the stern (rear) of the ship. The internal differences are much more obvious, including the power generation and electrical system. The Nimitz ships are rapidly wearing out and with the EMALS disaster the navy will have to improvise and do without for a decade or more.

            The Fords were not just replacements for the aging Nimitz class, they were designed to be cheaper to operate. There is a lot more automation and smaller crews. The Ford will be the first modern American warship built without urinals. There are several reasons for this. The Ford will have a smaller crew (by at least 20 percent) and more of them will be women. Currently about ten percent of American warship crews are women, but the Ford crew will be at least 15 percent female. Since women sleep in all-female dormitories (“berthing areas”), a toilet (“head”) will now be attached to each berthing area (instead of being down the hall). Moreover, berthing areas will be more spacious (because of the smaller crew) and hold a third to half as many bunks as previous carriers. Finally, drain pipes for urinals more frequently get clogged than those coming from toilets. So eliminating the urinals means less work for the plumbers. Many of the junior sailors, who have to clean the heads, won’t miss the urinals, which are more of a chore to keep clean than the toilets. There are a lot of other visible changes to enhance habitability and make long voyages more tolerable. All that will gave to be changed somewhat, at least in the Ford, and perhaps in others of this new class if EMALS cannot be fixed.

            Before the EMALS crises the Ford was expected to cost nearly $14 billion. About 40 percent of that is for designing the first ship of the class, so the actual cost of the first ship (CVN 78) itself will be at least $9 billion and about the same for subsequent ships of the class. Except, that is, for the additional cost of fixing the EMALS problems. Against this the navy expects to reduce the carrier’s lifetime operating expenses by several billion dollars because of greatly reduced crew size. Compared to the current Nimitz class carriers (which cost over $5 billion each to build) the Fords will feel, well, kind of empty because of the automation and smaller crews. There will also be more computer networking, and robots, reducing the number of people constantly moving around inside a Nimitz class carrier (with a crew of 6,000). The most recent Nimitz class ships have a lot of this automation already but adding EMALS was considered too expensive because of the major engineer changes to the power plant and electrical systems. A lot of that is subject to change depending on what internal alterations are required to make the carrier work at last as well as the Nimitz class.

          • Rocco

            That’s the longest reply I ever got!! Congratulations!
            Now even though some of what you mentioned which was cut & paste from the Enthusiast blog! Most of it is unsubstantiated & blown out of proportion!! Fake news propaganda!
            FYI the ship can’t be converted to steam period no matter how many billions! I already said this hear!! So what part don’t you understand!!

          • tiger

            You asked, I accomodated in full. As for fake news? Nope… As for conversion? Never, said word one on that.

          • Rocco

            GFYS

          • Larry Otto

            That is very difficult to do to one’s self…

          • Rocco

            Not directed to you so MYOB!

          • Duane

            You quoted no official US Navy source .. you, or someone else, would have no freaking way to gey that info. DOT&E published no such report, and given that they are DOD’s officially designated negative Nancys, they would have been all over the media if it were true.

            I call total BS on your comnent, or “fake news” as my fellow commenter Leroy put it.

          • Duane

            You quoted no official US Navy source .. you, or someone else, would have no freaking way to get that info. DOT&E published no such report, and given that they are DOD’s officially designated negative Nancys, they would have been all over the media if it were true.

            I call total BS on your comnent, or “fake news” as my fellow commenter Leroy put it.

          • Duane

            state your source … I don’t believe you without an official US Navy report to back up your extremely long winded comment.

  • DaSaint

    Unit costs should be decreasing, not increasing.
    Not a good sign.

    • SDW

      careful about mixing then-year and current-year dollars. While not always a top-5 driver for sticker shock, given the production timelines for CVs it is always a factor.

      • Duane

        Yup – Costs for materials and labor inflate continuously. The Navy is estimating costs for ships that won’t be delivered for many years. It’s not a “cost overrun”, it’s normal escalation.

  • Kypros

    Anyone floating the idea of reverting the Ford to steam catapults? I’d imagine the cost to be staggering.

    • PolicyWonk

      Yes – that idea has been kicked around – and the infrastructure modifications would be major.

      • Rocco

        Kicked around on blogs!! But as an engineering standpoint impossible!

        • PolicyWonk

          I believe you are correct. The entire sea-frame is built for EMALS, and as such has none of the infrastructure to support a steam catapult exists.

          • Rocco

            As I say to my wife I’m always right!!!🤔

          • PolicyWonk

            Heh – And how long is it before she returns to normal after she’s done laughing?

          • Rocco

            About a week with no dinner!

  • SDW

    There would be enough in this report for a half-dozen of more Economics PhD dissertations. Sadly though, they would only rehash the same old tragedy that is DoD procurement.

    I strongly recommend to interested readers that they look up a copy of GAO-16-84T of October 2015 that is partly included in the above report on pages 51 and 52. Mr. Paul L. Francis, GAO’s Managing Director Acquisition and Sourcing Management, testified, yet again, before Congress. This is part of the summary–

    “The carrier’s problems are by no means unique; rather, they are quite typical of weapon systems. Such outcomes persist despite acquisition reforms the Department of Defense and Congress have put forward—such as realistic estimating and “fly before buy.” Competition with other programs for funding creates pressures to overpromise performance at unrealistic costs and schedules. These incentives are more powerful than policies to follow best acquisition practices and oversight tools. Moreover, the budget process provides incentives for programs to be funded before sufficient knowledge is available to make key decisions. Complementing these incentives is a marketplace characterized by a single buyer, low volume, and limited number of major sources. The decades-old culture of undue optimism when starting programs is not the consequence of a broken process, but rather of a process in equilibrium that rewards unrealistic business cases and, thus, devalues sound practices.”

  • Ser Arthur Dayne

    I actually think the best idea (which is not included in their list of ideas) would be to put a nuclear power plant in an America-class hull, pure aviation, make it a CVNL, and consider the possibility of using cats-and-traps and even if it can’t hold a 90-jet air wing, if it can hold a squadron of 6-10 F35s, 6+7 F/A-18 Es & Fs, a pair of Growlers, a pair of Haweyes or perhaps the V-22 AEW variant & some various helicopters…. and if we could make these in much greater #s than the Ford-class , they could compliment them very well. CVNL Strike Groups/Ready Groups/Action Groups etc. would be able to go to more places on the planet at more times… and one of these CVNLs, a DDG, an FFG(X), perhaps even (yikes!) an LCS for utility tasks within the group, and maybe an SSN… in more places on the oceans, bringing the power and showing the flag.

    • Larry Otto

      Perhaps you are talking about building several CV-43 sized carriers with nuke power. I have always thought this would be a great idea. The old USS Coral Sea (oh, wow, a carrier named after a famous battle) had her life extended with the introduction of the F/A-18. The F-14 was the aircraft that Coral Sea could not handle. We could build five or six Fords and supplement the big carriers with 18 or 20 of the smaller carriers.

      • tiger

        We lack the budget, manpower and shipyards for a program that size.

        • Ser Arthur Dayne

          Maybe for 18 or 20 but perhaps we could build 5 Ford-class carriers and 10-15 (depending) CVNLs … and again, at that ratio it would be great because you’re bringing more American power and presence to more points of the globe at the same time. And with our recent (10-15 year) advances in defensive technology, a smaller CVNL with RAMs, ESSMs, perhaps still Phalanx, Nulka & EW packages, they’d be perfectly defensible and with a DDG & FFG have plenty of protection & offensive power.

          • tiger

            We have one, just one yard Newport News building CVN’S. And they took a snails time building even with modular construction. Even if you found funds, ( not building walls, SSBN’s, a new FFG, a new USAF bomber, the F35, and God knows what else) where are you getting the nucs to man the thing? The talent pool is low even with women added fully. Pilots are short too.

          • Rocco

            Institute the Draft!!

          • tiger

            You can not darft a industry. There is a handfull of ship yards .

          • Rocco

            I know this! I was stationed in Philly 2 yrs we can open that yard again! Bring jobs to That filthy city! BTW I meant institute the Draft!!! Service… Military!

          • tiger

            Cough cough. Uh, I’m from Philly… As for the yard. It is now 1/4th private yard, 1/4 Navsea and rest business park. And the busines park has most of the jobs.

          • Rocco

            I feel sorry for you!!! I know what’s there!!

          • Rocco

            NSSL

          • PolicyWonk

            Big thumbs up!

            No exclusions based on wealth or political connection(s).

            Either 2 years military, or 3 years national service (for objectors, etc).

          • Rocco

            At least you understood!! Lol my only exception is Muslim people! I don’t care if they were born here!🇺🇸

          • PolicyWonk

            Given the reality that birth rates in the US have been declining for ages – I wouldn’t exclude anyone.

            Those of the Muslim faith, BTW, according to the FBI’s statistics, are by far the most law abiding citizens as a group in the USA.

            Cheers.

          • Rocco

            I trust the FBI…Fit to Be Idiots like I trust Trump!! Especially with the way they handled the past yrs mass gun shootings that could & should of been prevented!! How are Chinese immigrants allowed to by assault rifles on a school Visa!!!???? Thankfully this was prevented before he was gonna snap last week!! The stupid Muslim U- Tube shooting!!! Why should she own a gun??

          • tiger

            The You Tube Shooter was not a Muslim by the way.

          • Rocco

            Try Iran!!!

          • tiger

            Iranian American.

          • Larry Otto

            Other ship yards could participate in this program. There are several ship yard that have CVN sized dry docks — PSNS, Pearl, there used to be one in Alameda, and there is also one as part of our Naval Activity in Japan. The Modules could be built all over the country if they weren’t so big as they are at HII in Norfolk.

          • Rocco

            Agreed

      • Rocco

        Now I agree with you!! Or even a Essex class size because as you get bigger than 900′ & 65k tons the expense can be as big as a supper carrier unless more than 10 are built. I don’t think we need to replace a Nimitz class ship with a Ford! 6 would be fine eventually. Who knows what Naval aviation will be like by around 2050! A smaller more versatile ship like the America class built to 900′ is the way to go.

  • PolicyWonk

    Sadly you are correct. The Chinese have a long, Long, LONG history of signing/making agreements and stealing everything in the process. Their history with Russia is indeed astonishing, in which they reverse engineered weapon after weapon to the point to where the parts were interchangeable with the original Russian models, that they marketed/sold as their own.

    But the Russians were desperate for hard currency, so they kept selling to them.

    You aren’t going to change thousands of years of culture just because you have a contract.

  • PolicyWonk

    Partially true: the Enterprise, being a one-off, had to have custom-made parts for everything. A major pain in the rear end…

    Then there was sequestration – the event the US armed forces bet would never happen. And obviously did…

    • muzzleloader

      I was at the deactivation ceremony for big E in December 2012. She was 51 years old, and believe me she looked tired. One of her weapons elevators had been permanently shut down 2 years earlier because replacement parts were too costly. The metal in the island structure was rippled with age. It was her time to go.

  • muzzleloader

    The JFK was at the Philadelphia Navy yard for overhaul when the place closed because of BRAC.
    Half the work was left undone. The navy tried to get caught up on some of the work at Mayport using local ship repair firms, but it was too little too late. Yes, the Kitty was much better taken care of. The yard at Yokosuka is composed of ship workers who have been in the business for generations. A current coworker was on the Midway in Japan and cannot say enough about the quality of work done there.

    • Rocco

      I was stationed at mayport . Back in 97 I was on vacation at Daytona bike week. So I rode route 1 up the coast to the Base on my old Ironhead. When I got to Mayport. I tooled around base & the Kennedy was parked where my Carrier was. Who’da thought 29 yrs latter they’d be chained together like prisoners!! Sad site for ships that served to protect our country!⚓️

  • tiger

    Any ideas on a name for CVN-81? No more political types I hope.

    • tachyonzero

      USS Intrepid….

      • tiger

        Not bad. The Essex class had a ton of good ones. Anything but another Potus or Sen. Stenis.

      • Rocco

        Can’t it’s still a ship owned by the Navy! Yes in museum status!

        • tachyonzero

          The old Intrepid is owned by The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Not by the US Navy.

          • Rocco

            Ah no……It was bought by the Zachary Foundation for a penny & fully funded by his money! The Navy still owns it as technically it’s on loan & was saved from being scrapped back in 82. The Navy comes twice a year to check the hull integrity the engine rooms & the mast!! Sorry……..

          • Larry Otto

            Are you kidding me — the government sold the Intrepid for a penny while they demanded a $1 million for the old Enterprise with 20 battle stars compared to 5 stars for CV-11. Excuse me while I puke all over the place,

    • Ser Arthur Dayne

      I would really love a USS Hornet, USS Ranger, USS Intrepid, etc.

      • tiger

        Deep down, I bet they save 81 for Clinton. The Dems will be back by in by naming time.

        • Ser Arthur Dayne

          Not that I disagree, but this is not strictly true- President Trump and his Administration could name the next 20 ships of each class right now if they chose. The Obama Admin named ALL SORTS of ships in their 2nd Term that really perhaps were not their prerogative to name, but they did it, who was stopping them? President Trump could name a whole bunch if he wanted, just have SecNav issue a proclamation. No one could stop it.

          • tiger

            He has too many other balls to juggle right now.

          • PolicyWonk

            The naming of ships was handled by the SecNav – Ray Mabus – a.k.a. the LCS “fan-boy”.

          • Duane

            Actually, you’re wrong again. Mabus opposed the LCS, it was the uniformed Navy leadership that fought Mabus to preserve the LCS, with support by Congress.

          • Ser Arthur Dayne

            Yeah I hear you, and he worked for/in The Obama Administration. And President Trump’s SecNav could do the same thing and name the next 20 of each ship if he decided to.

        • Sir Bateman

          I’m a pretty cynical person but even so I still kind of doubt that Clinton ever gets a carrier named after him. All the Presidents that have gotten that honor either had fairly distinguished service records in the USN, a significant war was successfully prosecuted on their watch, or were big friends of the Navy. Clinton doesn’t fit into any of those categories.

          • Rocco

            Nor does Oboma!!

          • Larry Otto

            I’ll also go to pier side and puke every time the USS BO comes in.

          • Rocco

            How about you bother someone else about your puking 🤮 episodes!!!!!

        • PolicyWonk

          I can see it now: The USS Slick Willie!

          Despite Clinton ending up as a successful POTUS, I can’t see it. I’d rather see us back to naming carriers after historic battles…

          • tiger

            Hey, I wish subs were still fish…

        • Rocco

          Seriously

          • tiger

            Yes, seriously.

      • Rocco

        Can’t use hornet or intrepid

    • We could just start naming carriers after US states

  • How about going back to the beginning, USS Langley

    • tiger

      Well, she was first. Yeah, that would be a choice.

  • Gary Sellers

    Was always fond of the name Midway. I served on the original USS John F.Kennedy(CV-67) so that one is already taken. Would also love to have it named after one of the originals such as Hornet or Langley.