US Aircraft Carrier Cost $13.2billion And Still Not Operational Three Years On due to unreliable technology systems
The USS Gerald R. Ford is the world’s most expensive US military vessel ever built, at a cost of $13.2billion, and three years after the US navy took delivery of it, the ship is still not operational, due to what the Pentagon testers describe as ‘unreliable technology systems’.
The USS Ford, apparently, unlike older carriers – which use a steam-driven catapult for propulsion and hydraulic-engine arresting gear – uses a high-tech Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), and an Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG).
According to a report by Bloomberg News, Robert Behler, the Pentagon’s director of testing said that “Poor or unknown reliability of new technology systems critical for flight operations, could adversely affect the USS Ford’s ability to carry out military sorties”, due to faults with the aircraft takeoff and landing systems technology.
The results in the report that Bloomberg News referred to, were based on an assessment of 3,975 launch and landing operations that were conducted on the aircraft carrier during 11 different days of trials at sea, after the ship had been delivered, from November 2019 through September 2020.
EMALS, said Behler, was designed to carry out 4,166 launches before experiencing any operational mission failures, but, it managed only 181 cycles between failures, which was ‘well below the requirement’.
Behler continued, “The reliability concerns are magnified by the fact that the system’s current design puts a restriction on corrective maintenance on below-deck equipment during flight operations”, a system which reportedly cost $3.5billion.
President Trump commissioned the USS Ford in July 2017, and in 2018 commented, after being made aware of the issues, “Steam is very reliable, and the electromagnetic, I mean, unfortunately, you have to be Albert Einstein to really work it properly”, and according to Military.com, Trump had been told by sailors serving on the vessel that the system was not reliable, and he labelled it “crazy electric catapult”.
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