Sebastien Roblin


Can they be fixed?

No F-35s: The Navy’s New Aircraft Carriers Has a Long List Of Big Problems

On May 30, a gigantic crane deposited the 588-ton bridge/island superstructure onto the deck of CVN-79 John F. Kennedy, the United States’ second Gerald R. Ford-class carrier. The 337-meters long behemoth is scheduled to launch from a shipyard in Newport News, Virginia this August, while lead ship CVN-78 Gerald Ford will embark on sea trials this October.

The Ford-class is meant to improve on the U.S. Navy’s current workhorse Nimitz-class supercarriers by incorporating new technologies designed to increase sortie generation (how quickly aircraft can be sustainably dispatched on missions) and reduce manning by 25 percent to “only” around 4,500 personnel.

For example, their two new A1B nuclear reactors require half the number of personnel to operate but generate 25% percent more thermal energy than the Nimitz’s A4W reactors. The additional electricity is used to power a new electromagnetic launch system that can theoretically launch aircraft faster, more cheaply and with fewer support personnel. These technologies are hoped to pave the way for future innovations such as close-defense lasers and drone squadrons.

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