Home » Aviation » SECNAV to Trump: Ford Carrier Weapons Elevators Will be Fixed by Summer, or ‘Fire Me’


SECNAV to Trump: Ford Carrier Weapons Elevators Will be Fixed by Summer, or ‘Fire Me’

Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer

This post has been updated to include additional statements from the Navy and from Sen. Jim Inhofe.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Navy Secretary has committed that the service and its industry partners will have working weapons elevators on aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) by the end of the summer – and the secretary’s job is now on the line over that issue.

The Navy accepted delivery of the first-in-class carrier and commissioned it into the fleet without any functioning weapons elevators. The carrier is now in its post-shakedown availability at builder Newport News Shipbuilding, after spending a year at sea running the ship to discover any potential flaws.

Though the Navy already said the elevators would be addressed during this PSA period, the stakes are now higher: Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer told President Donald Trump that the elevators would be installed and working by the time the carrier returns to sea, or else the president can use his famous “you’re fired” line on the service secretary.

Spencer said this morning at an event hosted by the Center for a New American Security that he spoke to Trump at length last month at the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia.

“I asked him to stick his hand out; he stuck his hand out. I said, let’s do this like corporate America. I shook his hand and said, the elevators will be ready to go when she pulls out or you can fire me,” Spencer said, adding that someone had to take accountability over the ongoing elevator challenges.
“We’re going to get it done. I know I’m going to get it done. I haven’t been fired yet by anyone; being fired by the president really isn’t on the top of my list.”

The president isn’t the only one who will hold the Navy accountable for the weapons elevators being complete by the end of Ford‘s PSA. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, tied his approval of the Navy’s desire to buy two carriers, CVNs 80 and 81, in a single contract to the Navy’s ability to get the weapons elevator issue resolved.

“I remain concerned with construction challenges on the lead ship of the Ford-class, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). The fleet needed and expected this ship to be delivered in 2015. Until all of the advanced weapons elevators work on CVN-78, we only have ten operational aircraft carriers, despite a requirement for 12. This mismatch deprives our fleet commanders of a ship they need and increases stress on existing aircraft carriers to cover the gap,” he said in a statement provided to USNI News.
“Based on the plan the Navy presented to me in November for CVN-78, these 11 elevators should be fully operational in the next eight months with no lingering issues affecting CVN-80 or CVN-81. I have requested the Navy provide monthly updates on these elevators until the fleet receives the fully operational aircraft carrier that taxpayers have spent more than $13 billion to build.”

The elevator issue has plagued the carrier for years, even if it garnered less attention than other high-profile new technologies on the carrier, such as the new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and the Advanced Arresting Gear, both of which had their own fair share of technical problems.

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) departs Naval Station Norfolk to Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding to begin its Post Shakedown Availability. US Navy Photo

In 2016, the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who then chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee, railed against the Ford-class program, noting that Ford was already overdue to be delivered to the Navy and still was facing ongoing technical difficulties.

“The Navy’s announcement of another two-month delay in the delivery of CVN-78 further demonstrates that key systems still have not demonstrated expected performance. The advanced arresting gear (AAG) cannot recover airplanes. Advanced weapons elevators cannot lift munitions. The dual-band radar cannot integrate two radar bands. Even if everything goes according to the Navy’s plan, CVN-78 will be delivered with multiple systems unproven,” McCain said in a July 2016 hearing.

A month later the Pentagon announced a 60-day review of the Ford program, with a specific focus on five technology areas, including the elevators.

Ford ultimately delivered to the Navy in June 2017 and commissioned a month later, still without working weapons elevators.

In July 2018, when Ford entered PSA, the Navy said the maintenance availability had been extended from a planned eight months to a full year, to accommodate both the typical work that arises in PSA but also deferred work such as the construction and installation of weapons elevators and an upgrade to the AAG, whose technical challenges greatly contributed to the delayed delivery and commissioning of the ship.

An artist’s conception of the electromagnetic launch systems (EMALS). General Atomics Photo

During a November SASC hearing, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James Geurts assured lawmakers that work was ongoing with the installation, test and certification of the elevators. Geurts said then that the construction and installation of the 11 elevators would be done by the end of PSA but that certification activities might still be ongoing when Ford leaves the Newport News Shipbuilding pier.

Geurts’ spokesman, Navy Capt. Danny Hernandez, told USNI News today that more progress has been made on the elevators since that SASC hearing.

“The 11 Advanced Weapons Elevators are in varying levels of construction, testing and operations. The first elevator was successfully turned over to the crew in December. Our plan is to complete all shipboard installation and testing activities of the advanced weapons elevators before the ship’s scheduled sail away date in July,” he said.
“In our current schedule, there will be some remaining certification documentation that will be performed for five of the 11 elevators after PSA is compete. A dedicated team is engaged on these efforts and will accelerate this certification work and schedule where feasible.”

Spencer said this morning that Trump also asked him about the EMALS catapult system at the football game, in another example of the president’s interest in the ship system that dates back to the beginning of his presidency.

“During the football game, the Army-Navy football game, I spent some time with the President and we talked about EMALS. He said, should we go back to steam? I said, well Mr. President, really look at what we’re looking at. EMALS, we got the bugs out. But what you really have to understand is the aperture of EMALS,” Spencer said at the CNAS event.
“It can launch a very light piece of aviation gear, and right behind it we can launch the heaviest piece of gear we have. Steam can’t do that. And by the way, parts, manpower, space – it’s all to our advantage” with EMALS.

  • I want to know who in the US Navy signed off on this. Whoever he or she is, should have been FIRED for this.

    • Bryan

      Sadly the entire Navy has been run this way. Too many unproven systems placed on ships. Too many unproven experiments placed in ship programs.

      What is the answer? Firing some ONE isn’t going to cut it. In many ways the answer is to burn it down. The Navy doesn’t need more money. It needs it funding cut even more. Cut it and leave the funding at sequestration levels. Only increase it for inflation. Advise the CNO that there is a good chance his funding will go down 5% more in the next recession, so he should take that into account in his shipbuilding and operations budget.

      The only real bad part of sequestration is that it stopped movement of a lot of programs. The Navy must be forced to accept a different force structure. The one they have created is not sustainable. That means less carriers and more of something else. Yes, we should argue the what else.

      Congress needs to take control of the Navy and it’s use from Admirals and Combat commanders. These people are literally killing our sailors by running them to death. They all have failed in their leadership.

      We need a new force structure, manning structure and a fleet that is resilient to budget pressures that are sure to come. In many ways it will look like the old days. Manning a ship has not changed much with new technology. The Navy likes to say it has, but it hasn’t. In some ways it should look different. Technology has absolutely allowed a smaller ship to be more lethal.

      • The fact is the US navy needs to be revamped to stay relevant in the 21st century.

        • Bryan

          The fact that the EMALS was not proven on land is what I’m talking about.

      • fxreyman

        Thats what we need… politicians running the Navy.

        • wilkinak

          They’re running it now; in blue suits with gold braid.

        • Bryan

          We already do. They are called Admirals. They have consistently failed since the 80’s.

          Change is absolutely necessary. Take the money away and the strategy will have to change. Recessions have a way of taking the money away. Recessions combined with ever increasing servicing on the debt will permanently take the money away. The Navy and other services will change their ways as the money goes down over the next 20-30 years. It would be nice if it was done in a controlled manner. Sadly we will probably see carriers parked with minimal security and reactor crews on them.

    • USNVO

      So I take it you wanted to spend a lot more time and money instead?

      When the Navy looked at the whole “What does the future CVN look like” they originally came up with a phased, 3 ship development to the future carrier from the NIMITZ class. What they found when they really looked at it, was you ended up with three one off ships at significantly greater cost, on the order of 3 for the price of 4 magnitude. For instance, if you change the island for DBR, you can’t just use the old island. But if you move the island, you have to use the new hull. But if you don’t use EMALS, AAG, DBR, new weapons elevators, all electric auxiliaries, etc, you have to change the entire interior arrangement three times! If you use steam catapults with the new reactors, you had to totally redesign the engineering spaces twice if not three times! About the only thing that could be installed by itself was the AAG.

      They (The Navy and DoD leadership at the time) expected developmental problems (feel free to research it for yourself), but ultimately it was a lot cheaper and paid huge dividends down the road to just bite the bullet and do all the major changes at once.

  • Curtis Conway

    The EMALS functions well enough to deploy now. With the new fixes it will function even better. The rub is when one of the EMALS rails stops functioning, and has to go through troubleshoot and repair. Can’t do that on one without taking all catapults offline right now. THAT does have to be fixed before USS Ford goes into battle. We should save more than enough on the MYP to buy the equipment for Ford, Kennedy, Enterprise, CVN-81, and some.

    • RDF

      You would not design a computer rack in a data center that way. It makes me sceptical of the charge. Source so I can read? Please.

      • Ken N

        He is correct. This has been documented in the DOT&E annual reports for the program. However this isn’t a “computer issue”. Its more to do with isolating the power sources for the EMALS.

        • Curtis Conway

          e.g., are the cable runs populated? The room for the equipment is still there (unless they put the weight room & fitness center there).

        • RDF

          Didn’t mean computer issue. Meant power issue. A computer rack has dual power sources from different data center PDU sources sometimes from different power providers, all with diesel backup.

      • Curtis Conway

        Bingo! However, the Powers that Be decided saving money in the $$$ hemorrhage known as the USS Ford dictated taking capability away (that helps keep the ship alive by the way) out of the configuration. They called it Leadership amongst themselves too.

    • PolicyWonk

      The taking down of all catapults to fix one is a most serious problem, that goes back to the design itself. A number of those who pointed out this foundation-level (and seemingly obvious) design flaw were reportedly relieved of their positions and sent to unpleasant locations for the duration.

      AAG still represents the other half of that equation.

      So maybe there will be fixes in place for the elevators, but there is seemingly no timeline for either EMALS or AAG.

      • Curtis Conway

        The EMALS problem is $$. The equipment was truncated to save money. As best as I can tell, the spaces are available, but I’m not sure if the cabling was run to support that installation. THAT problem better be getting a fix right now and they are just not telling us about it, for it will take another similar yard period to install that equipment set, just not require a drydock.

        The AAS is testing. The new design is working, and improvements will continue to be made like would be happening on any new piece of equipment. That configuration will influence the new construction just like the EMALS will, and hopefully the new Bird-farms are getting everything up front.

        The MYP savings perhaps could save the money for the purchase & installation of the equipment.

    • USNVO

      It really depends on what the typical casualties are and their impacts. What can fail on the EMALS rails that can be fixed onboard? I have seen people whine about not being able to isolate the catapult for maintenance but haven’t seen any of the casualties that require that. For instance, the target MTF is something like 1300 launches, but what is the impact of the failure. The only area that can’t be worked on is the high voltage systems, all of the control systems can be troubleshot without isolating the catapult.

      As an example, how many failures, if any, have occurred during the 400+ launches before PSA? No information on that. What was there impact? Again, no info on that. So it could be that the EMALS may need to be isolated for certain casualties that rarely happen so the system is far more reliable than steam and the impact is virtually non-existent. Time will tell.

      For an example of this, numerous cars now do not have an automatic transmission dip stick or any means of changing the fluid absent significant effort. The transmission is so reliable, the greater maintenance effort to change the fluid is offset by the fact it is only required once every ten years. You can put greasing wheel bearings in the category of things that used to be required but no longer is.

      • Duane

        740+ cats and traps during shakedown … performed flawlessly.

        The trolls then shifted to whining about the maintenance thing. Then after that is either debunked or fixed, whatever the case may be, the trolls will then shift over to complaining about the ice cream machines not working properly.

        • RDF

          Pretty serious deficiency. You take battle damage the waists might be down. The bows still need to shoot. The weapons are the air wing. Can’t imagine this was a Naval Officer decision.

          • Curtis Conway

            Actually this is not a maintenance question, but that is also affected as well.

          • Duane

            First of all it is not true that damage to one EMAL cat or AAG trap takes down the other three systems. Not true, period.

            Second, a ASCM hitting the engineering spaces will take down everything on the ship. Nothing to be done about that but to prevent the missiles from hitting the ship.

          • RDF

            I didn’t say that. I said to repair any damage on the bow cats you have to shut them all down. Not doable.

          • Duane

            Not true.

          • RDF

            In what way does repair for damage on one of the cats not require them all offline in order to work on it?

          • Duane

            The ship is not required to immediately repair a downed cat. The ship’s command can decide when to depower the remaining three cats to do the repair. 1.5 hours of all four cats down for flywheel run-down is not that long, and is easily made up by the Ford.

            For comparison sake, the 30 day sustained sortie rate for the Fords is 160 ops per day (6.7 ops per hour), a 25% increase over the Nimitz sustained sortie rate of 128 sorties per day (5.3 sorties per hour). But the Ford also has a surge capacity of up to 270 sorties per day (11.3 sorties per hour). The Ford’s sustained sortie rate increase over the Nimitz class is equivalent to adding a fifth cat to the Nimitz at the 30-day sustained rate.

            Taking down the three other cats for 1.5 hours is a reduction in sorties generated of 7.5 sorties (during the power down of the three remaining cats). The available surge rate for the three operable cats is 8.4 sorties per hour

            So all that he Ford has to do in order to make up for the short term sortie reduction during power-down (6.7 sorties) is to run at the surge rate for a less than an hour and a half of air ops.

            Indeed, the remaining three cats can operate at a higher sortie rate than all four cats on the Nimitz class carriers.

            You guys are totally getting your panties in a knot over literally nothing.

          • RDF

            Your numbers are just that. And not meaningful. CV operate cyclic ops. Really dont do a constant launch recovery. Its launch recover fix stuff launch again later. In between maybe some tanker and alert fighters. Averages are meaningless. Biggest limit is the human element. Tshooters and flight deck crews are really one gang at full strength.

          • Duane

            For a grand total of 1.5 hours. Very doable.

          • RDF

            Not really. In threat environment you will not get that window. There is no “Now launch the alert one and a half hour go birds”.

          • RDF

            Your allegation that an ascm hit takes down everything is not true. Plainly. The ship will continue to steam and fight as long as it floats. And fight means launch aircraft.

          • Duane

            An ASCM hitting the engineering spaces will in most instances take the power plant down. Nuke power plants cannot be operated safely with any significant blast damage of the type that a ASCM creates .. there is no known procedure approved to do that. Without the nuke plants going, there is no steam to operate a steam cat, and no electrical power to operate EMALS.

          • RDF

            Power plants are separated by distance and system to deal with that eventuality.

          • old guy

            STEAM?

          • RDF

            You know what I mean.

          • old guy

            I thought you meant, Set Sail. Funny, how terms hang on.

      • RDF

        How about a starboard forward AS6 impact? That failure enough?

        • USNVO

          Nice Strawman or were you going for moving the goalpost? How exactly would the current steam catapult survive a similar impact?

          Or are you trying to demonstrate just how idiotic some of the arguments are against EMALS?

          • RDF

            Because each cat has it’s own steam accumulator and plumbing. They are not interconnected. The point was it’s not steam vs. emals. Its break one emals and cannot work on it unless they all come down. It’s too silly to even suggest that might deploy.

          • Curtis Conway

            Yes! Plan for the worse, and hope for the best . . . because Murphy is coming!

          • Duane

            You are wrong. One EMALS getting damaged does NOT take out the other three.

          • RDF

            Not damage. To repair one requires shutting them all down I assume for safety of the repair crew. Pay attention.

          • Duane

            I am paying attention, you aren’t.

            So as ARC explained above, damage to one cat does not cause inability to use the other three cats. Electrically isolating one cat in order to work on it takes about 1.5 hours, during which period as the flywheel comes to all stop the other three are not operable. Deciding when to take down all four for the required 1.5 hours is at the discretion of the Air Boss.

            This is something that is also subject to further modification if it proves to be a significant hindrance to air ops.

          • RDF

            I think the skipper of the boat and the cargru staff and div1 boys will also have inputs. Airboss has no role in control of cats and arresting gear. He is a customer. I guarantee it will be a “hindrance to air ops” now and in the future.

        • wilkinak

          I could tell you … but then I’d have to kill you. 🙂

          BTW, I’ve done that analysis on FORD – very extensively. The same analysis has never been done on NIMITZ. The FORD program isn’t going to pay for the analysis of the existing class (it ain’t cheap to do) and it isn’t a priority for the fleet.

          • old guy

            Not putting in an ON/OFF switch has nothing to do with the system, but a whole lot to do with stupidity.

      • Curtis Conway

        Read your comment with interest. Thanks for the information. However, trying to compare an item on a Combat Ship with a commercial item I drive everyday, that has been analyzed, and intrusion by things that pollute that system (moisture, grime from wearing parts, etc.) that are now excluded from the system making it last longer, in a construct that now takes longevity into the basic design, and will likely not be shot at, bombed, or visited by an ASCM, is hardly comparable. Plan for the worse and hope for the best. That mentality was what created the LCS, and its estimated survivability with that little crew it used to have.

        • USNVO

          I was trying to use a familiar system.

          Lets look at a military system you may be familiar with then. The Navy used to have 60HZ-400HZ motor generator sets that were critical to the performance of the ship. They took a huge amount of maintenance and if they failed, which they did periodically, they usually took down some important combat system.

          Why doesn’t anyone worry about them anymore? Because they were replaced by static frequency converters that, for all intents and purposes, never fail, provide cleaner power, and virtually no maintenance.

          400hz power is just as critical today as it was then and failure is just as bad. And, in many respects, it was possible to fix 60hz-400hz motor generators onboard and it is unlikely you can fix a broken static frequency converter, the static frequency converter is still vastly superior.

          Now EMALS may or may not be similar, time will tell, but without knowing the specific failure modes and impacts of those failures, you can’t really judge what the impact is. So something can be both accurate and inconsequential at the same time.

          • Curtis Conway

            “So something can be both accurate and inconsequential at the same time.” . . . so you just . . . don’t plan for the worse on a Combat Vessel? The Secretary is giving us lectures about Managing Risk so we maximize the risk just because we can ? . . and likely will get away with it? Lookout Murphy . . . here he comes! NO ONE has experience with this system to date, so Risk is still high for some period of time, and then there is no guarantee.

          • USNVO

            Way to go straight to the absurd. No, you want to consider worse case but you also have to consider the entirety of the system. How much does it cost, can I afford to man it and maintain it, can it meet my operational requirements, how likely are certain failures and what are there consequences, etc. But you also don’t bury your head in the sand and overinflate every possible failure no matter how remote.

            Consider, if the reactors go down, steam catapults are down hard. But on the FORD, if the reactors go down, EMALS can still function on the Backup diesel generators. Who would let the steam catapults have such a fatal flaw!

          • Curtis Conway

            So, if I understand your comment, it is possible to LOTO a EMALS rail and work on it ? . . or are you saying since it will never break one does not have to concern themselves with such things?

          • USNVO

            My point is without knowledge of the type of casualty and how it effects the EMALS system, you don’t know if the issues with electrical isolation of the catapults is a big issue or not. If you have a problem that takes down a catapult which requires electrical isolation every 24 launches, you have a problem. If you have to isolate the system every 24000 launches, you don’t.

            But yes, you can isolate a catapult from high voltage power to work on it. But before you do that, you have to de-energize the power storage system and spin down the flywheels (The Navy calls these Disk Alternators for some reason but they are flywheels). That takes upward of 1.5hrs and also takes down the other 3 catapults until you have isolated the catapult in question. Note, you can still use the other three catapults, you just can’t electrically isolate the high voltage side of the one with the problem. Additionally, you can still do maintenance on much of the system. And once isolated, it can be worked on while the other catapults are in service, but you have to take down the other ones to reconnect it with the same issues. So basically, if a catapult goes down, you either need to suspend flight ops for a few hours before you start repairs or live with the situation until you are no longer flying and then isolate the system. So that could range from a few minutes to 12 hours depending on when in the flight cycle it goes down. Note it only effects the high voltage side of the catapult so if you have to reboot a frozen computer control system (that would be a system failure) for instance, you can do that.

            Here is the specific verbiage from the 2017 DOT&E report.

            “The Navy previously identified an inability to readily
            electrically isolate Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System
            (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) components
            to perform maintenance.
            This limitation will preclude
            some types of EMALS and AAG maintenance during flight
            operations, decreasing their operational availability.

          • Curtis Conway

            What is the Navy and DOT&Es opinion today? Has it changed any on the DOT&E side after getting a better understanding of how the system works on this combat platform?

          • USNVO

            I don’t know, 2017 is the latest published and on the DOT&E website. I try to check myself before posting so I don’t look ignorant. Something that more people should do.

            For an article on the latest on EMALS and AAG during pre-PSA, look up the Naval Aviation News article titled Catch and Release from September of 2018. But, it should be noted it is as empty of real data that you can form an informed opinion of as the DOT&E reports. Of course, many of the quotes are from the same person who wrote the Navy’s findings in the first place so take that for what it is worth.

          • Curtis Conway

            I note Duane’s agreement with your explanation. Then I note that both you and Duane are from a community that never engages in Surface Combat. Interesting! Surface ships have to live in a reality that damage can come from anywhere anytime. There is NO GUARANTEE that you will never take damage. Heck, an accident on deck could damage an EMALS rail. This is what we call in industry setting yourself up to fail. Overconfidence. Thinking one is infallible, and MY equipment cannot break, and will take everything short of a nuclear blast. Don’t need a Battle Short for EMALS, it’s in affect all the time? Did I get that wrong? (tongue in cheek – SORTA)!

          • USNVO

            Well, you know someone has no answer to your argument when they start making disparaging remarks, ridiculous and unproven insinuations, making fallacious appeal to authority (or whatever the reverse of that is), and appealing to any type of experience. So please, save the histrionics.

            Heck, combat damage or an accident on deck could damage a steam catapult rail. The result would be the same, a shipyard to repair it. So lets just look at the real world.

            Please explain to me what casualties require the isolation of the high power system to troubleshoot EMALS and the probability of same? So, you don’t know? Me neither! Nor do any of the people posting here. Shoot, you didn’t even know the latest on EMALS following the pre-PSA work. So until there is enough experience to know that information, it is only a potential problem of unknown magnitude pointed out be people with experience on a completely different system. I do not try to speak definitively, merely pointed out it is a potential problem of unknown magnitude (also something more people should learn to do). You might want to read to DOT&E reports (or any other testing report) sometimes, they are always qualified with things like may, possibly, without further data, etc. Words to live by.

          • Curtis Conway

            Hey, at this point NO ONE KNOWS. “Heck, combat damage or an accident on deck could damage a steam catapult rail.” Yard period? NOT right away! Not when your at sea during the deployment, and your in Combat, and no one is available to replace you. There could be a fire on the cat via an aircraft present there . . . perhaps ordnance detonation . . . blows a hole in cat 1 rail. Better be able to isolate it so we can keep going. If I understand your explanation previous, you have already figured this out. ANY Platform must be able to continue until the final combat judgement is rendered. Single point failure on a $10+ Billion dollar ship is just not acceptable. So, you say this will not happen. Not possible. Hope your right!

          • old guy

            There is nothing wrong with the EMALS system. The system, conceived by my guys in NAVSEA 03R, in 1978 and developed in Lakehurst worked perfectly there. The problem is shoddy yard design and workmanship, which translates into poor program managers. A VERY serious problem. A switching problem has nothing to do with the system.

          • USNVO

            That’s funny, the installation on the ship has been significantly more reliable than the Lakehurst installation which is supposed to be functionally identical.

          • old guy

            Not so. It was developmental. therefore tweaked many times.

          • USNVO

            Yes, they are developmental but the reliability estimates (and final “tweaked” version) were for the as installed CVN-78 design. Obviously there are a few differences in layout and arrangement but the equipment is the same.

            “In developmental testing, we’re trying to find problems with these systems,” Tedford said. “We then take that data and do the best we can to generate predictions of what we think our reliability will be when we get to the ship.”

            “What we learned on CVN 78 last year was that our reliability for both systems was significantly better than our land-based data was predicting, which is a good thing.”

            CAPT Tedford, PM – Aircraft Launch and Recovery Program Office at Naval Air Systems Command as quoted in Naval Aviation News, Fall 2018 Edition, “Catch and Release”

          • old guy

            Thanks. great info.

          • tiger

            After watching two Space Shuttles die. You have to consider, everything that could go bad, will.

          • Former 3364

            Really? If the reactors go down the ship is DIW and can’t launch anyway.

    • DaSaint

      I’m all for block buys, but I want to buy what works, not what doesn’t. At $13 billion with a B, I think it was fair to expect working weapons elevators.

      • Curtis Conway

        I get the same thing on the KC-46A, and Boeing is paying for those mistakes, not the US taxpayers. Management in HIINN should take a hit. If the spaces are there, and the cabling is in place, then the equipment should be populated . . . on all the new construction platforms.

      • tiger

        Did you say $13 Billion?

      • Duane

        The elevators work. They are not yet fully installed. When the PSA is completed the elevators will be both fully installed and fully operable … in just a few months.

        The block buy will not even be authorized for long lead item purchases until FY2020.

  • tiger

    And people complain about the price of a border wall? All the King’s horses, men and accountants could not explain the mess that is the US Navy. Do we have anything on time, on budget and works?

    • Duane

      Yes, of course .. but to the small army of trolls that infest defense websites, everything in the US Navy and the US military is a gigantic cluster-f**k and only they know how to fix it, because they are far smarter than all the admirals and generals and the people who actually populate our military.

      Gee, kinda reminds me of a certain politician who also claims everything in the US is effed up and only he and he alone can fix it, and that he and he alone is smarter than all the generals and admirals and ex generals and ex admirals and so forth,and that the normal rules of everything don’t apply to him, stuff like the Constitution and such .. a very highly functioning genius, he tells us.

      • tiger

        Basic business management and quality control practices is not trolling. While not a POTUS cheerleader, it was long past due for a culture change in DC. We have gone in 50 years being able to reach the Moon. To having to hitch hike astronauts to Space. This Cvn is just one many projects with bad oversight and failures to perform.

        • old guy

          Absolutely Agree. Please read above .Thanks.

        • Duane

          The Fords are a huge success – the world’s finest aircraft carrier by many leaps and bounds. People can argue over whether we should be building different carriers, and they do. But the Ford IS the state of the art in floating aviation.

      • old guy

        You, obviously was never a P.M. or a businessman. All of this is horse partooties, like the incompetants that put the mirror assembly together on the Hubble Space Telescope, but tried to make up for wasted time by eliminating the ground system test, (I was involved, and objected to the omission.) As you may be aware it took an expensive and dangerous mission to compensate for the spherical abberation, and even at that, the telescope suffered a loss of capability, because the entire outer edge had to be masked off.

        • publius_maximus_III

          Americans are great at inventing things, but where we really excel is in making them work when things go wrong.

          The founder of my old company, Geo. Westinghouse, was demonstrating his new invention of air brakes on a test train that had been outfitted with them. Only thing, when he applied the brakes from the engine, the first car stopped but the next one banged into it, sending the first car forward, and so on down the line. Through judicious application of air to that initial design, he was able to bring the whole train to a halt. But before the next test, he had installed accumulators at each brake, so there was no major time lag in between the signal from the valve up front to brake and uniform application of the brakes from the first car to the last.

          Sure there are some problems, but in America, THAT’S WHAT WE DO BEST!

          • old guy

            Boy, am I with you. I used to have a consulting contract with Westinghouse in Baltimore. Sharp, creative people. I can remember a call that I got at about 8:00 PM. The fellow said that he had to go home, because if he didn’t, his wife said she would divorce him. He wanted me to put in a couple of hours because he needed an answer by noon, the next day. Them was the cood, ol’ days.

        • Duane

          You obviously are totally wrong on all counts.

          • muzzleloader

            “You are wrong on all accounts.” I’ll bet that will be on your headstone someday.

        • Curtis Conway

          There you go old guy. You can have ‘been there’ and ‘done that’, with fingers still dripping with the oil, and Duanie Boy will call you a troll, and don’t know what you talking about.

      • DaSaint

        If we were to listen to you, no one in any service, nor any defense contractor can screw anything up. Is that correct?

        It takes almost a decade to build a carrier. One would think that in that time, whomever the contractor is for that elevator would have figured out the bugs. How many customers do they have for these Advanced Weapons Elevators?

        Really, I get EMALS and ALG, but ELEVATORS? Seriously? And by the way, please don’t tell me that I’ve never designed nor managed a complex and demanding construction project. I’ve done both for over 30 years, and would never get rehired if I didn’t get this key subsystem proven prior to selection and installation.

        • Duane

          No, of course, humans err. No debate about that. But the trolls purposely exaggerate and conflate and basically lie to claim that everything our military does is a complete failure and waste of time and dollars – precisely the point made by tiger, the commenter I was responding to, not you.

          That “everything is effed up” propaganda of course perfectly fits the longstanding Russian disinfo campaign designed to deflate public confidence in US and allied institutions, so that Americans simply shrug and give up.

          One doesn’t need to be pollyanna to have well-earned confidence that our military systems and people are competent and up to the job of defending the US from enemies. We will never be perfect or flawless or free of weaknesses – an impossible condition for humans to attain. But yes, our military is doing mostly right most of the time.

  • Ed L

    New systems will have bugs. Maybe the next cruiser will use pod drives for Propulsion

  • Ctrot

    What would it have cost to have built fully functioning weapons elevators of this new type ashore BEFORE building into an operational vessel?

    • RDF

      They do.

      • Ken N

        So then why have 10 out of the 11 elevators been unusable since they were installed??

        • Curtis Conway

          Excellent question! So . . . is there a Land Based Test Site? I suspect it is tested by the contractor at their own facilities. THAT is why you build LBTS like CSEDS in Moorestown, NJ. The FFG(X) better have an LBTS, particularly if the Navy truly believes we are going to end up building more than 20 (and we will). Make sure that site is located on high ground near a beach, and airport. Let’s get this Passive detection, tracking, and fire control system under test now.

          • RDF

            We have deck and cat testing in NJ. Maybe the rest also.

          • Curtis Conway

            Used to Drill at NAEC. The auxiliary airfield borrowed our generators all the time. We were in Hanger 5. Really got a kick out of being on the same facility where Hangar 1 is, and reading the plaque at the crash site. You can still see the video on Youtube.

        • Duane

          None of the elevators were actually installed on the Ford prior to acceptance and commissioning in 2017, or the shakedown cruise in 2019. Holding all of that up waiting for the weaps elevator would make absolutely zero sense. The ground testing revealed a problem that needed fixing, but everything else on the carrier was ready to deliver and shake down.

          So the installation of the elevators was deferred until the PSA.

          I swear, people are so invested in their negativity and trolling that even the simplest concepts just swoosh by them thirty thousand feet above their heads.

          • tiger

            What good is a carrier that can not move weapons from storage to hanger?

          • RDF

            If you open the weapons lockers, and roll the boat 360 a few times. Some weaps might fall up to the deck. Think out of the box boys.

          • Duane

            The Ford will be fully capable once it comes out of the PSA.

    • tiger

      It is a elevator!!! Otis has made them since 1852. What is so hard about moving bombs A few decks?

      • RDF

        They need to customize them so they are loud enough to be sure and wake everyone in Officers Country going up and down all night. Not easy you know. Who is this Otis guy anyway?

      • Duane

        To the ignorant, everything looks simple.

  • William Blankinship

    Have faith. It will be fixed and working fine.

  • Hugh

    Noting these significant teething problems, looking ahead, what robustness and redundancies in the case of battle damage?

  • PolicyWonk

    They say they have the EMALS bugs worked out, but for which ships? Is this for the two new ones? There’s no time frame for completion of EMALS fixes for the USS Ford (let alone AAG – and the ship needs BOTH), nor any indication if either fix will be sufficient to safely certify the ship battle ready.

    But I give the author credit – at least EMALS and AAG were *mentioned* in the same discussion as the elevators.

    • publius_maximus_III

      I thought they successfully launched a cargo container over a year ago?

      • thebard3

        I believe you are being sardonic?

        • publius_maximus_III

          Watching that container fly off the bow of the carrier reminded me of those file cabinet drawers being fired out of the office windows by the bookkeepers-turned-pirate corporate raiders in “The Crimson Permanent Assurance,” a short feature at the beginning of the Monty Python movie, “The Meaning of Life.” Check your local YouTube listings…

    • Duane

      EMALS and AAG both worked to perfection in the shakedown cruise last year on Ford.

      • Terry Ellsworth

        With barely loaded F/A-18’s. Nothing launched was anywhere near full loads.
        The real test is with varying loads and different airframes. That, I still worry about.

    • thebard3

      According to the last testing data I have seen, It’s been determined that the EMALS and AAG are unlikely to meet the contract requirements for sortie rate. They may be able to meet the sortie rate for the legacy steam/hydraulic systems but that remains to be demonstrated.

      • USNVO

        You are correct, but mostly for the wrong reason. The limitation for sortie generation has nothing to do with the catapult or arresting gear reliability but from other factors.

        From the 2017 DOT&E report
        “CVN 78 is unlikely to achieve its Sortie Generation Rate
        (SGR) (number of aircraft sorties per day) requirement. The
        threshold requirement is based on unrealistic assumptions
        including fair weather and unlimited visibility
        , and that aircraft
        emergencies, failures of shipboard equipment, ship maneuvers,
        and manning shortfalls will not affect flight operations.

        DOT&E plans to assess CVN 78 performance during IOT&E
        by comparing it to the demonstrated performance of the
        Nimitz-class carriers as well as to the SGR requirement.”

        And that is from the 2017 report, before the pre-PSA operations. The demonstrated reliability of the EMALS and AAG on CVN-78 has been dramatically better than their reliability models in 2017 (which makes perfect sense if you know anything about system development and reliability).

        I mean really, the poor reading comprehension and confirmational bias exhibited by people over EMALS and AAG is just over the top.

        • thebard3

          Sortie generation capability has much to do with the inability to work equipment casualties. As the EMALS systems cannot be individually isolated, I know of no option to perform repair to a single system other than to take all 4 out of service. I have seen no report newer than the one you cited (which is what I said already), so there is no data that I have seen to suggest that is is improved. I actually DO know a little bit about system development and reliability. You simply cannot coax a goose to lay a golden egg.

          • Duane

            That’s not what the report said that ARCNAV quoted.

          • Duane

            First of all, you are not the design engineer for Ford or for EMALs, so what is reported in unofficial websites is not reality … it is just talk.

            Second of all, even what is reported is not that significant. The unofficlal leaked talk, and that’s all it is, only stated that the systems had to be brought down for a max of 1.5 hours to fully isolate one of the four systems. Then the other three can be brought up again. Again, if even that is true, that is not very serious. Steam cats get taken down all the time for maintenance – steam cats are MUCH more maintenance intensive, with many more moving parts that can fail, and much more complicated than EMALs is.

          • thebard3

            Don’t presume to correct me when you obviously don’t know any more about it than I do.

        • thebard3

          Further of my previous statement, I do not know the parlance of catapult anatomy but having served on a carrier I know that the catapult rails themselves require frequent maintenance to include lubrication. In the industrial world any work of that nature that is performed without completely isolating ALL energy inputs would be considered to be reckless and in the event somebody was injured or worse, OSHA would certainly find it to be negligent and in violation of work rules. If you choose to disagree, you can just chock that up to my obvious poor reading comprehension.

          • USNVO

            OK, not to make too fine a point on it, you know what was required for a Steam Catapult. A linear induction motor doesn’t require lubrication while a steam catapult does. Good example of previous experience having no bearing on the current problem.

        • Duane

          The trolls who focus on EMALS and AAG have no freaking idea what the sortie generation rate comes from or what are the bottlenecks or limiting factors on sortie rate. All they know how to do is bitch about EMALS and AAG.

          An aircraft carrier is an extremely complicated machine – not just in terms of mechanical or electrical systems, but as a system of systems. The Ford class was the Navy’s opportunity to evaluate the system of systems on the Nimitz class CVNs and literally reengineered the system of systems. Finding and delivering improvements in a very wide range of systems and activities that altogether deliver a bottom line improvement in sortie rate.

          Also, the DOT&E people have absolutely no freaking idea of what the final sortie generation rate on the Fords will be … nobody knows that for a fact today. All DOT&E does is wring their hands and point out risks to achieving the design sortie rate. The Navy is confident that the Ford design will deliver the designed sortie rate, but until the ship becomes fully operational over the next two calendar years before it goes out on its first deployment, nobody really knows.

          Oh, and for all these so-called experts in DOT&E and amongst the trolling community, the only way to really determine the sortie rate is to get all the systems running and all the people trained. Training is a humongous component of system efficiency – anybody who is not an abject idiot knows that, and anybody who ever actually served on a US Navy ship certainly knows that training and drilling and practicing is how you figure out what the real capacity of any warship is.

          So all these “experts” and just plain trolls need to spare us all the silly projections and talk of risk until we actually have the ship in full operations and the crew is fully trained.

          • RDF

            You still have just one set of air wing flight deck gangs. So unless you want to.kill them about 14 hours is all you can get.

          • wilkinak

            This is what Duane is saying. The FORD SGR does not account for this. It doesn’t account for A LOT OF THINGS. Seemingly little things that add up and result in a goal that is unattainable on any ship.

          • Duane

            The Navy used their approximately 80 years of experience in operating aircraft carriers, including 40 some years operating the Nimitz class carriers, to figure out all of the process steps and how they interact, to account for all of the “seemingly little things”.

            This ain’t the Navy’s first dance.

          • Duane

            The way to wring a higher sortie rate out of a carrier is not to work the deck gangs longer or harder. It comes from many things .. like machines that move more efficiently, like designing the hangar deck to a more efficient layout, to automating some processes to actually eliminate some humans from the chain. And all of those tweaks have to work in conjunction with each other, not just in isolation.

            The Navy believes they’ve got this figured out. Only the committed trolls and self-appointed experts believe they know better than the Navy.

          • RDF

            It’s already the worlds most complicated ballet. Aircraft have to be turned around, and they have to start and check out and taxi to shuttles and launch. None of your fancy stuff affects that at all. You are trolling. Learn of what you write.

        • RDF

          So, we didn’t pass? Makeup quiz?

          • wilkinak

            The teacher wrote a test that no one could pass. A replacement test (make up quiz) was drafted.

            Believe it or not, there are requirements written into capabilities documents that will never be reached and for a very simple reason – they are just dumb.

            I’ve seen docs with the wrong units given, e.g. a speed requirement is measured in mmHG. No one will ever measure velocity in mmHG, but it’s in a CDD.

            SGR, as written, is for an idealized environment and unattainable. Every one of the stakeholders involved in FORD knows this and has moved on to Plan B. The Internet Blowhards have not.

        • Ken N

          Huh? You even bolded one of the reasons why the SGR may not be met.. “failures of shipboard equipment”. Maybe my reading comprehension isn’t as stellar as yours is but surely an unreliable EMALS/AAG (assuming its still a problem) would fall into the shipboard equipment category.

          • USNVO

            No, your reading comprehension is fine if you understand that shipboard equipment failures, which extend far beyond EMALS and AAG, are just one of many factors that make the SGR problematic. And, given the way it was written, it is pretty clear they are more concerned with the weather and visibility. Of course, the way it is written says a lot about how DTO&E looks at the world since those are the prerequisit conditions, so be definition they have to exist to evaluate the FORD’s SGR.

            If you read that and came up with “It’s been determined that the EMALS and AAG are unlikely to meet the contract requirements for sortie rate. They may be able to meet the sortie rate for the legacy steam/hydraulic systems but that remains to be demonstrated.” then you have reading comprehension issues or suffer from severe confirmational bias.

            My reading of that statement was actually saying it was highly unlikely that the FORD would meet its SGR objective because it was unlikely that the prerequisite conditions would exist during testing. As a result, they plan to assess it against the demonstrated SGR of the Nimitz class as well as the objective SGR. Of course I could be wrong, after all, I am just some faceless internet poster.

  • publius_maximus_III

    How “high tech” can a weapons elevator be anyway? Are they using some sort of levitation technology or linear motor carriers, or maybe a pneumatic tube system like in the mail room on “Elf”?

    Is there more than one magazine on a large carrier?

    No use in having a carrier bristling with defensive weapons if they’re starved for ammo.

    • Duane

      The new weaps elevator motors are in fact linear induction motors. The vendors had an issue during land testing, prior to installation on the ship, of several uncommanded movements. That is simply a matter of software control. Easily fixed. But it was decided to wait until the post shakedown availability to do the install to provide plenty of opportunity for the fix to get made.

      • publius_maximus_III

        So like any conveyor system, I assume there is both a supply line and a return “track” in this case? Do they “power up” under load, then just glide back down empty under gravity feed?

        • RDF

          Not a conveyor. Point to point.

          • publius_maximus_III

            I forgot how much room there is on a carrier. I was thinking about ammunition hoists like on a destroyer, lifting ammo from a magazine down below to a 5″ gun up above. These elevators look like you could lift a Piper Cub with one. Such huge weapons elevators dwarf the baby elevators I was thinking about.

      • publius_maximus_III

        When the action is over and several fused “hot” rounds remain in the pipeline, how do you return them to safety? Is the up ramp fitted with some sort of ratchet cogs in case power is interrupted, so the transporters don’t go crashing back down into each other?

        • USNVO

          You think no one thought of that? A good overview of the system can be viewed online, just google “PBS Nova Elevator of Tomorrow”. It’s from 2010 but pretty much covers the bases.

          Just a few advantages:
          – Less Maintenance
          – 150pct faster
          – twice the capacity of the old elevators
          – better subdivision

          Oh, and you don’t send fuzed rounds down to the magazines, that is just asking for problems.

          • publius_maximus_III

            Thanks for that quick education, USNVO, pretty slick.

            Comparing that demonstration to my lifelong familiarity with conventional elevators, I noticed one thing right off the bat: no counterweights going down as the elevator ascends, and vice-versa. Seems like you give up something by not having such an energy saving device, but I guess this whole thing has been well thought out. To include a counterweight would require a physical attachment to the elevator deck, and that appears to be the main benefit of having such a high tech design — it is an entity unto itself, freedom of shaft navigation, not needing to be tethered to anything.

          • USNVO

            I especially liked the 50,000lbs of force on each corner permanent magnets. Need to keep your hard drives away from those.

          • publius_maximus_III

            And pacemakers.

          • publius_maximus_III

            Neodymium magnets completely demagnetize at elevated temperatures. But we’re talking above the boiling point of water, and for some grades, not until until 446 deg-F. They love the cold however, growing even stronger down to temperatures as low as -130 deg-C.

        • RDF

          We been doing elevators for over 100 years shipboard. Aircraft and weapons. No weapon is fuzed live on an elevator up or down. Either to be fuzed on deck or safety clips removed on deck before final weapon loads. I did see a few fully loaded MER on weapon trailers so my info may be dated. Been awhile for me

        • RDF

          Only expensive weapons go back down to armories. HARM or HARPOON maybe. Aircraft jettison them in water or in the case of attack or fire on the CV there are ramps behind the island to push trailers over the side. Pretty much one way process. Build it. Load it. Go kill something.

    • RDF

      When they build for big strikes they will break down one of the enlisted mess forward and use that additional space where crew would normally eat. The weaps elevators are spread around a bit for battle damage survivability.

  • Curtis Conway

    You know Duane, this time I’m going to ‘Second’ your motion. Now I will be the first one to agree with some disjointed bits and pieces of his statement (Leadership problems, and loss of real combat commanders).

  • Refguy

    It’s not operational because things don’t work, and it isn’t scheduled to deploy until ’21 because things don’t work, but it’s not late because we keep changing the schedule to match reality.

    • Duane

      It is not operational because it is not yet operational, not because “things don’t work”. Everything that is on the Ford works. The weaps elevators installation was deferred until after the shakedown cruise so that all the other revolutionary new never before seen gear could be tested and tweaked as necessary.

      • DaSaint

        What, let’s defer the elevators so we can fix the rest. So if it was the nuke plant, that would have been ok too? Let’s not fix that so we can fix the ALS? NO need for propulsion, just remain pier side while we fix the landing gear and cats.

        • Duane

          There was never a need to “fix the rest”. The need was to test out the other 98% of the ship’s systems that were fully operational, so the Navy deferred installation of the weaps elevators, the last 2%.

          Geez, are you guys really that dense, or do you just pretend to be?

    • old guy

      We have become slovenly of late, in program management. The yards feel that they are in control on schedules, changes and test failures. If they had the likes of my Management team, backed by a VADM Manganero, they would come into line quickly enough. There are lots of contractual remedies available and not used. For example:
      1. Progressive cost sharing of changes, Up to 90/20 yard/govt.
      2. No changes submitted dirctly by yard. Only Navy rep, at his jeopardy.
      3. Delays get A Priori, assigned and charged to the yard, subject to negotiation.
      4.ALL planning changes go up to board of review.
      We are a pack of suckers. We need some Program Managers who don’t just “Go along, to get along.”

      • DaSaint

        When there is no real threat of competition, there really is no incentive to perform as expected.

        • old guy

          I agree, fully. However, there can be, by opening up to competition to yards that have the potential, but have been cut out. One way is to put out a seperate RFP for a new building plan and equipment seperate from the ship build itself.
          A yard proposing a Korea-like enclosed section construction. rail transfer and craneless tip and slip assembly graving docks would sure shake up our antique yards.
          The last time that I was at Hyundai, in Korea, they moved a 400 ton power unit to the assembly point and integrated ity in 5 days, total. What a sight,

      • Refguy

        I agree!

  • What is this, trying to order two more of the same type of ship before the bugs are worked out on the USS Jerry Ford?? Don’t they have any common sense? One of the things I would like to find out is what is the so-called mission for the so-called strike group? Is it just to attack Somali Pirates? There seems to be less and less missions for a so-called strike group these days! Making the Ford class larger is probably makes them more survivable for a hit against the yf-21 missile. The larger the ship it’s better to survive a 20-foot hole going from the flight deck to the keel. Of course we don’t have an effective defense against the type 53 torpedo, or even the common ship mine

  • Ser Arthur Dayne

    Is it non-functional completely, or just not correctly working? IE, if war were to break out, could the ship be ‘surged’ out to sea and launch/recover aircraft for combat, or they simply cannot at all right now? Thanks!

    • siempre44

      Without functioning elevators the ship is totally nonfunctional. Realize, the elevators are not installed at all.
      The catapult to launch planes is still a nonfunctional device also.

      • Duane

        Bullsh*t. The EMALs and AAG worked perfectly on sea trials, over 740 successful cats and traps.

        The ship is not operational so does not need operational elevators … it is not operational until it comes out of the PSA and when it does the weaps elevators will be fully functional.

  • siempre44

    The Ford class is full of ‘gee whizz’ cool tech that adds nothing to the actual warship usability but padded the cost . Since the gee whiz tech simply doesn’t work, the ship is now a 13 billion dollar, four year overdue paperweight.
    The Ford class and the F35 will be fully functional about the time the admirals and generals working on them get retired.

    • Duane

      F-35 A and B are fully functional today. The F-35C goes IOC next month, upon which it will be fully functional.

      The Ford will be fully functional when it completes its PSA and tests out the remaining gear, like the new weaps elevators, before it goes on its first scheduled deployment in 2 years.

      • siempre44

        The only supposedly combat ready F35s are being flown by Israel. The Marines keep trying to activate a few planes just to deactivate them as The planes stop working.
        The F35 is still not in full production and it is obsolete as a 20 year old design. We are already seeing the air force moving on to generation 6. This is a plane designed in the mid 1990s and it is planned to go to full production in 2020 . Only fools go to full production on a 25 year old design that was never intended as a air superiority fighter in the first place. Most of the already built p!anes are essentially scrapped as there is no plan to update their software to make those fully functional. Just a total waste.
        The Ford will never deploy in 2 years ..The plan is to begin to install the elevators in mid2019..no telling when those will actually work and the carrier is useless without them and cannot begin to work up its air wing till all those elevators and the catapult function …That all is not happening by 2020. Absolutely no way the Ford deploys as a functioning carrier in 24 months.

        • Duane

          Nope nope nope. F-35 has been officially “fully combat capable” ever since software build 3F went out to the fleet September 1, 2017 .. a year and a half ago. Prior to that it was “mostly combat capable” for the several years prior to 3F.

          We’ve had F-35s fully deployed and serving in potential combat zones for two years now, in Japan, ROK, the middle east, and in eastern Europe.

          We’ve had US F-35s actually engaged in combat operations in the middle east since last fall, when the amphib based F-35Bs engaged in attacks on ISIS.

          Israel has had their F-35Is engaged in actual combat for two years now.

    • RDF

      If you knew what we were using for launch and recovery you would just walk away and tell them to spend what they need. Seriously.

  • Dean_V

    Weapons elevators that don’t work? Has the Navy forgotten how to design and build ships?

    • RDF

      Is this rhetorical? Not really a ship design thing. Pretty glaring obvious system deficiency.

      • Dean_V

        I’d say the fact that the elevators don’t work is due to a flawed design.

        • RDF

          Yah, but not really ship… hull propulsion type stuff. Elevator issue is not for instance hull drag coefficient. That was all I was saying.

          • Dean_V

            Still, you’d think the Navy can do better. It’s not like they’re jumping from the USS Constitution to the USS Iowa without the intervening steps.

          • RDF

            Agreed. Absolutely. I was an aviator and shore tour in OPTEVFOR VX5 squadron. Not sure who or how you OPEVAL a whole carrier. It was hard enough with just weapons and weapon systems.

  • old guy

    PRESIDENT TRUMP, You display an. unfortunate, disrespectful, biased bent.

    • Centaurus

      He’s also an idiot and a serial liar, but he’s our serial idiot liar.

      • old guy

        Gotcha!

  • Jack D Ripper

    “if a brit bomb ever falls on germany call me meyer”,,,herman goering

  • John Citizen

    Were the weapons elevators on the Nimitz-class ships really that “outdated” that they couldn’t be replicated on the Ford? I get EMALS and other new technologies that–down the road, after teething problems–will likely prove more efficient. But an elevator?

  • old guy

    Again, that’s PRESIDENT TRUMP, and don’t forget it. We WW2 vets have a bit more respect for ourselves, our leaders and our country. You cited SECNAV, join the patriots, or get out.

  • Terry Ellsworth

    What I worry about with the Ford-class is that it is a continuation of building very expensive vessels that take years to build and years to fix major problems. And then, we’re overconfident of the capabilities while being naive about the risks. If we continue in this direction, we may get to a point that it may be too risky to send the vessels we make into hard combat due to the fact that losing one may be too expensive to replace in a near-peer war.
    I think a paradigm shift needs to happen with design and construction- we need to build with survivability, reliability, and financial/time costs in mind. This means proven technology, robust systems that can be depot-level repaired by ship’s force without contractor assistance (crucial in combat), and can be built rapidly with the industrial base we have in wartime.
    And you might laugh at this, but I think it’s time to ditch cats and go ski-jumps. It is mathematically feasible to build a ski-jump that can launch a full-load Super Hornet, and the E-2D has been tested with Indian Navy ships in mind- why not ours? But ultimately, the fact that one bomb, one missile in the right place could take out the carrier’s primary mission. With a ski-jump, you can still take off on a bombed-out deck after repairs, if necessary. That’s just one example.
    But the shift needs to happen.

  • old guy

    Out of a cannon, like a circus performer? Good thought.