USNI News polled its writers, naval analysts and service members on what they consider the most important military and maritime stories in 2017.
The following is part of a series. Please also see Top Stories: International Acquisition, Navy Operations, Marine Corps Operations, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Acquisition, International Operations and New Administration.
2017 began with the promise of planning for a larger fleet: at the end of 2016, the Navy announced a 355-ship requirement, and the incoming Trump Administration expressed its support for a larger military and a heftier Navy. Few concrete steps were taken this year, though, to begin a buildup – though many programs that will be pivotal to the 355-ship fleet of the future reached significant programmatic milestones in 2017.
The guided missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108) leads the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD-47) and San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD-23) in formation during a simulated strait transit as part of Dawn Blitz 2017. US Navy Photo
Lawmakers bought themselves two more weeks to pass a defense spending bill, after extending the continuing resolution that has funded the government since the start of the fiscal year, but the Navy is already seeing decreased readiness as a result of operating under a CR and would face severe procurement challenges if a defense budget isn’t passed by the end of the month. Read More
F/A-18F Pilot Lt. Cmdr. Jamie ‘Coach’ Struck makes the first carrier arrested landing using new AAG system aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) on July 28, 2017. US Navy Photo
ABOARD USS GERALD R. FORD — On Aug. 1, 2017, USNI News spoke with sailors who manned Ford’s next-generation Advanced Arresting Gear and Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) for the first trap and catapult from the $13 billion carrier’s flight deck. Read More
F/A-18F Pilot LCDR Jamie R. Struck the makes first carrier arrested landing using AAG system aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) off the Virginia coast. US Navy Photo
Six days after commissioning, the crew of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) launched and recovered their first aircraft from the carrier’s flight deck, according to a statement from the service. Read More
An artist’s concept of the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS). General Atomics Image
The Navy completed testing on a software fix for its Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) that will allow the heaviest planes to take off with less stress to the airframe, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) announced this week. Read More
Sailors man the rails of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) during its commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. Ford is the lead ship of the Ford-class aircraft carriers, and the first new U.S. aircraft carrier designed in 40 years. US Navy photo.
ABOARD USS GERALD R. FORD – Saturday’s commissioning of aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) was a celebration of the end of a long and at-times hard road to bring the warship and its many new technologies to the fleet – a path the Navy may not choose to take again. Read More
MV-22 Ospreys assigned to the U.S. Presidential Helicopter Squadron land on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) during the ship’s commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. on July 22, 2017. US Navy Photo
President Donald Trump made a case for continued American military dominance and congressional support for his pending defense budget against the backdrop of the entrance of the world’s largest warship into service on Saturday. Read More
The following is video of the July 22, 2017 Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) commissioning ceremony. Read More
The House Armed Services Committee passed its annual defense bill on Thursday after a 14-hour markup, sending the bill to the full House of Representatives with no major changes to its recommended procurement profile.
Though few amendments that passed directly affect Navy and Marine Corps programs, several that failed or were withdrawn sparked serious debates about how the Navy ought to address pressing issues of the day: hypoxia concerns in the Navy’s fighter fleet, how to transition from the Littoral Combat Ship, industry’s ability to upgrade to the Flight III guided-missile destroyer design and more. Read More
NORFOLK (April 14, 2017) The future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) arrives at Naval Station Norfolk and approaches its berth next to the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), left, and USS George Washington (CVN 73) after returning from Builder’s Sea Trials and seven days underway. During this initial at-sea period, Ford’s crew, representatives from Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding, the Navy’s CVN 78 Program Office, the Navy’s Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair and various technical subject matter experts demonstrated many of the ship’s key systems. Primary risk reduction objectives were successfully met, and, as is typical with sea trials, the Navy and shipbuilder learned a great deal about the ship’s performance during the extensive testing. Analysis continues, and any identified corrective actions will be addressed. CVN 78 remains on track to conduct Acceptance Trials and delivery to the Navy this spring. (U.S. Navy Combat Camera photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni/Released)
The Navy accepted delivery of the first-in-class aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) on May 31, following the completion of acceptance trials on May 26, the Navy announced today. Read More