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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Kyle Mizokami 2 hrs ago



a large ship in a body of water: The head of the U.S. Navy admits the service added too much untested tech to its latest and greatest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford.
© U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Tatyana Freeman The head of the U.S. Navy admits the service added too much untested tech to its latest and greatest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford.
  • The Chief of Naval Operations, Mike Gilday, says the U.S. Navy built the aircraft carrier USS Ford with too many new technologies.
  • Now, the Ford is several years behind in its life cycle because of problems with many of those new technologies.
  • The last of the Ford’s four advanced weapon elevators, the most glaring example of the ship’s tech gone wrong, should enter service later this year.
The head of the U.S. Navy admits the service added too much untested tech to its latest and greatest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford.

When the Navy first built the Ford, it incorporated nearly two dozen new technologies, some of which are still giving the service headaches 4 years after the ship entered the fleet.

a ship on the water: Everything you need to know about aircraft carriers, all in one place.
© Getty Images Everything you need to know about aircraft carriers, all in one place.

In a presentation recorded for August’s Sea Air Space exposition, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said adding 23 new features to the Ford was a “mistake” the Navy can’t afford to repeat. Gilday said he needs to take “a much more deliberate approach with respect to introducing new technologies to any platform”—preferably one that only introduces up to two technologies per ship and thoroughly tests them on land first.


The USS Ford is the inaugural ship in the Ford-class aircraft carriers, the first new class of aircraft carriers in 40 years. The Navy was eager to cram new tech into the Ford, including a new search radar, electromagnetically powered aircraft catapults to replace traditionally steam-powered catapults, a new aircraft recovery system, and 11 electromagnetically powered elevators designed to shuttle bombs and missiles from the ship’s magazine to waiting aircraft.

But technical problems with the new features led to $2.8 billion in cost overruns and delays, resulting in a total ship cost of $13 billion—not including the actual planes on the carrier.

⚓ You love bad*** ships. So do we. Let’s nerd out over them together.

Those delays meant the Navy only commissioned the Ford in 2017, despite laying it down in 2009.
Even then, problems lingered, especially with the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) and the advanced weapon elevators (AWEs).

The ship’s first full deployment, originally scheduled for 2018, is now set for 2022.

As a result of the Ford fiasco, the Navy is building copies of new tech bound for its Constellation-class frigates on land to ensure they work properly, according to U.S. Naval Institute News. The Navy surprisingly didn’t do this for several pieces of key tech that went into the Ford. Gilday also said the last of the 11 AWEs will be operational sometime this year.

The Ford is currently in shock trials, a series of tests off the coast of Florida designed to ensure the ship can withstand shock and battle damage in wartime. The ship will then enter a maintenance period before its first deployment next year.

Hopefully.

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I'm reminded of a comment made by our middle son who retired as a CPO after 20 years, three years ago: "The U.S. Navy, 227 years of tradition, unimpeded by progress".

Still, the best afloat!
 

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I have issues with the picture supplied in the article. Is is CVN 73, the USS George Washington and has F-14 Tomcats on deck, the F-14 has been out of service sinc 2006. The Ford was commissioned in 2017, has all super Hornets and is moving to the F-35.
 

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Those "reporters" just grab a file photo and call it good, not knowing what the do. They think everyone else is as clueless as they are. I wouldn't know one carrier from another, just like them.
 

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I'm reminded of a comment ...
I'm reminded of this from 1998 (good thing the Yorktown wasn't in battle at the time):


Navy brass have called the Yorktown Smart Ship pilot a success in reducing manpower, maintenance and costs. The Navy began running shipboard applications under Microsoft Windows NT so that fewer sailors would be needed to control key ship functions ...

The Yorktown last September suffered a systems failure when bad data was fed into its computers during maneuvers off the coast of Cape Charles, Va.

The ship had to be towed into the Naval base at Norfolk, Va., because a database overflow caused its propulsion system to fail, according to Anthony DiGiorgio, a civilian engineer with the Atlantic Fleet Technical Support Center in Norfolk ...

Atlantic Fleet officials acknowledged that the Yorktown last September experienced what they termed “an engineering local area network casualty,” but denied that the ship’s systems failure lasted as long as DiGiorgio said. The Yorktown was dead in the water for about two hours and 45 minutes, fleet officials said, and did not have to be towed in.
 

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I have issues with the picture supplied in the article. Is is CVN 73, the USS George Washington and has F-14 Tomcats on deck, the F-14 has been out of service sinc 2006. The Ford was commissioned in 2017, has all super Hornets and is moving to the F-35.
Good catch!
 

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I was a Navy officer and carrier aviator and later worked in marketing at McDonnell Military Aircraft and even later worked as a consultant on materiel and finance to the Army, Navy and Air Force. That doesn't make me an expert, but as the saying goes, "I know a few things because I've seen a few things."

Military procurement is always a balance between playing it safe with proven technologies and taking some risks with new ones. The latter course can keep the military farther out ahead of our enemies, but it always comes with some initial problems. The Abrams tank initially had problems, and was criticized as being a failure, but it went on to become arguably the most successful in combat of any tank of all time.

The Navy took risks with the new carrier and they are paying the price of growing pains. I'm sure they will get it worked out and that will benefit all the future ships of that class. I think calling it a "fiasco" is clickbait hyperbole. We have China nipping at our heels trying to develop blue water carriers. We need to have carriers that are not just better, but completely outclass them.
 

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We need to have carriers that are not just better, but completely outclass them.
I can agree with everything jmf552 says in principle, but that principle does not justify stupidity -- and stupidity is what we have here.

Calling a ship that goes dead in the water "a success" is laughable. A two-second pause in battle, let alone two hours, can have devastating consequences.

In 1998, thinking that Windows NT -- with its infamous blue screen of death -- was the solution to anything absolutely essential was delusional. For free, anyone could download WinNuke and force a blue screen of death on any Windows NT computer whose IP address they could access.

"Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said adding 23 new features to the Ford was a 'mistake' the Navy can’t afford to repeat. Gilday said he needs to take 'a much more deliberate approach with respect to introducing new technologies to any platform' —preferably one that only introduces up to two technologies per ship and thoroughly tests them on land first."

jmf552 is correct! We need to have carriers that are not just better, but completely outclass our adversary, but eight or nine years after what was supposed to be its inclusion into the fleet, the Gerald R. Ford is not bettering or outclassing anything -- because, according to the article, "The Navy was eager to cram new tech into the Ford ..."

And this wasn't because of something no one could see coming. If you're going to develop a bunch of new tech, then you need a longer than normal lead time. If you need a carrier NOW, then going with untested tech is not rational.

The powers-that-be want a fashionable military, and they want to push snazzy before the reality is there.

In the book 1984, O'Brian of the Inner Party explains it better than I ever could ... and it applies here.

In the past, also, war was one of the main instruments by which human societies were kept in touch with physical reality. All rulers in all ages have tried to impose a false view of the world upon their followers, but they could not afford to encourage any illusion that tended to impair military efficiency. So long as defeat meant the loss of independence, or some other result generally held to be undesirable, the precautions against defeat had to be serious. Physical facts could not be ignored. In philosophy, or religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make five, but when one was designing a gun or an aeroplane they had to make four. Inefficient nations were always conquered sooner or later, and the struggle for efficiency was inimical to illusions ... War was a sure safeguard of sanity, and so far as the ruling classes were concerned it was probably the most important of all safeguards. While wars could be won or lost, no ruling class could be completely irresponsible ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Based upon the "collisions" and deaths aboard our Navy destroyers/frigates over near China in the past couple of years, we need to develop and maintain "proficient and sea-worthy" sailors and crews. This includes officers that develop and maintain "situational awareness" while bearing in mind they need to be responsible for watching over and training young and inexperienced crew-members.

The Primary Mission of our Navy today is the same as it was 246 years ago at its founding back in 1775, to "keep the ocean on the outside of our ships". Everything else is secondary.
 

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I can agree with everything jmf552 says in principle, but that principle does not justify stupidity -- and stupidity is what we have here.

Calling a ship that goes dead in the water "a success" is laughable. A two-second pause in battle, let alone two hours, can have devastating consequences.

In 1998, thinking that Windows NT -- with its infamous blue screen of death -- was the solution to anything absolutely essential was delusional. For free, anyone could download WinNuke and force a blue screen of death on any Windows NT computer whose IP address they could access.

"Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said adding 23 new features to the Ford was a 'mistake' the Navy can’t afford to repeat. Gilday said he needs to take 'a much more deliberate approach with respect to introducing new technologies to any platform' —preferably one that only introduces up to two technologies per ship and thoroughly tests them on land first."

jmf552 is correct! We need to have carriers that are not just better, but completely outclass our adversary, but eight or nine years after what was supposed to be its inclusion into the fleet, the Gerald R. Ford is not bettering or outclassing anything -- because, according to the article, "The Navy was eager to cram new tech into the Ford ..."

And this wasn't because of something no one could see coming. If you're going to develop a bunch of new tech, then you need a longer than normal lead time. If you need a carrier NOW, then going with untested tech is not rational.

The powers-that-be want a fashionable military, and they want to push snazzy before the reality is there.

In the book 1984, O'Brian of the Inner Party explains it better than I ever could ... and it applies here.

In the past, also, war was one of the main instruments by which human societies were kept in touch with physical reality. All rulers in all ages have tried to impose a false view of the world upon their followers, but they could not afford to encourage any illusion that tended to impair military efficiency. So long as defeat meant the loss of independence, or some other result generally held to be undesirable, the precautions against defeat had to be serious. Physical facts could not be ignored. In philosophy, or religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make five, but when one was designing a gun or an aeroplane they had to make four. Inefficient nations were always conquered sooner or later, and the struggle for efficiency was inimical to illusions ... War was a sure safeguard of sanity, and so far as the ruling classes were concerned it was probably the most important of all safeguards. While wars could be won or lost, no ruling class could be completely irresponsible ...
Yeah, that is a pretty persuasive argument now that I think about it. I have been very surprised that they even went for a new class of carrier. The Nimitz class is by far the leading carrier platform in the world. No one else is even planning anything close. And we have a strong tradition of experience operating them successfully that no other country can match.

They could have taken these 23 new technologies and experimented with them on Nimitz class carriers when they were taken offline for refit, like the Teddy Roosevelt just was. They could have tried a few of these new technologies on a Nimitz class and then seen how they worked out in sea trials. They would have saved all the hardware from the old systems, so switching them back would not have been that big a deal. This has been done before. It's not like we are in a mad "carrier superiority race." We should never take the risk of actually going backwards in preparedness. But we do it all the time.

Having been involved in military procurement, I have seen the undue influence defense contractors have with new tech. They have their ways of leading DoD around by the nose. Even if the systems fail, they still get paid and then get paid again to fix the problems. This has been going on for decades and it really doesn't get discussed enough anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The Pentagon (Navy), defense contractors and shipbuilding yard unions preclude the application of common-sense in managing and scheduling of warship construction.
 
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