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Report to Congress on Gerald R. Ford-class Aircraft Carrier Program

The following is the July 19, 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 $12,601.7 million (i.e., about $12.6 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;
  • whether to conduct the shock trial for the CVN-78 class in the near term, on the lead ship in the class, or years later, on the second ship in the class;
  • 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.

via fas.org

  • Ser Arthur Dayne

    What I want to know is how many Picatinny rails does it come with??!

  • Blain Shinno

    CVN-81: USS Midway!

    • Rocco

      Negative!! It’s a name still in existence!! Yes it’s a museum! But still can’t be used.

      • Secundius

        So is the “George H. W. Bush”…

        • Rocco

          ???

          • Secundius

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but George H. W. Bush is STILL Alive (i.e. CVN-77, USS George H. W. Bush)…

          • Rocco

            Yes!! But not a ship previous!! So I don’t get your point?

          • Secundius

            Not a “Ship Previous” to George H. W. Bush either…

          • Rocco

            Your not following the first post!! USS Midway!! Can’t be renamed!! It’s a museum!!

          • Secundius

            First ALL Ship’s “Naming Convention” is “Political in Nature” and the odds of ANY Aircraft Carrier being called “USS Barrack H. Obama” are between “Nil & None”. Second, even IF the possibility existed, I seriously doubt that “Obama” would even consider the honor of a Ship Naming. “ON ANY SHIP”…

          • Rocco

            Dude get with the program!! I never said anything about Oboma or would I ever endorse it!! You need to reply to the idiot above!!👆 I was referring to Midway

          • Secundius

            Unfortunately I “Didn’t” receive HIS comment! I received “YOU’RE” comment instead! That’s what happens when “USNI News” submit’s comments out, five day’s after Original Posting Guideline (I.e. Being on “USNI News
            S__t List”)…

    • yorugua

      CVN-8X USS Barack Hussein Obama – could this ever happen?

  • Bryan

    Have we bought 3 sets of EMALS and AAG that now have to be modified or replaced? Are we about to buy a 4th set?

    • Kypros

      That there is a good question!

    • PolicyWonk

      The real question, is whether the severe EMALS and AAG problems have been remedied for even the first ship in class. Until these problems are fixed, the USS Ford remains either the most expensive training ship in history, or the otherwise (perhaps) the largest LHA on the planet.

  • John B. Morgen

    I would given this new carrier class names of famous World War II warships; such as, Enterprise, Saratoga, Lexington, Arizona and Hornet, etc.

    • Augustine’s Lion

      I agree but aren’t all new carriers named after presidents and admirals? Saratoga and Lexington would fall under cruiser names now. It would be cool though…

      • John B. Morgen

        There are no warships of today that are named Saratoga or Lexington.

    • Rocco

      Can’t use Lexington or Hornet!!

      • John B. Morgen

        Why not?

        • Rocco

          Because they are already in use as museums status. Not stricken from the navy list for CV use! Why do you think the Wasp class that used essex class names were not able to use these names including Intrepid!!

          • John B. Morgen

            The Navy Lists includes every warship, regardless if the warship is a museum ship. Museum ships are no longer Navy property.

    • Rocco

      Enterprise is already being built!! FYI

    • Secundius

      There’s a rumor that CVN-81, might be called “Yorktown”. But it’s still to early to tell…

      • Rocco

        Can’t use Yorktown

      • John B. Morgen

        That is news to me about the name Yorktown.

  • PolicyWonk

    I’m in the camp that believes its time to start building smaller carriers, or otherwise build more LHA-6 sea-frames to act as CVL’s. While I see a need for CVN’s, we still have coverage problems, and an LHA-6 can be acquired for 1/3 the cost of a Ford class carrier.

    With the advent of smart weapons, smaller/lighter AEW components (that could be fitted to either a chopper or V-22), adoption of a tanker variant of the V-22, and possibly adding a ski-jump that would allow F-35Bs to take off with more fuel/ordnance, we could send these smaller carriers to less volatile parts of the world with a lot of destructive power for their size, thereby freeing up the CVN’s (which we seem to have a chronic shortage of).

    • Rocco

      Agreed!! I’ve been saying this all along!! Just stretch the ship out to 900′ !!! 844 ‘ is a little short!

      • Secundius

        IF they can use a Light Cruisers Hull to make a Light Aircraft Carrier or a Liberty Ships Hull to make a Escort Aircraft Carrier. How difficult would it be to use an “AB’s” Hull or “SA’s” Hull to do the Same Conversion. The “Harrier-Carrier” of 1975, was based on using a “Knox” class Frigates Hull…

        • Rocco

          I’ve never hear of this & don’t even think it was a good idea. The only ship to operate the harriers was The Roosevelt CV-43 in the mid 70’s.

          • Rocco

            Correction CV-42

          • Secundius

            The “Harrier-Carrier” was proposed by Admiral Zumwalt in 1975, but never built. But Spain bought the Design Concept and used an F100 Hull Design and Built One for themselves and for Thailand…