- The USS Gerald R. Ford is the world’s largest aircraft carrier and cost $13B to construct.
- Latest reports from the Pentagon show that the ship can’t defend itself very well.
- While the ship shows promise, the U.S. is rapidly falling behind our enemies militarily.
The USS Gerald R. Ford is the world’s largest aircraft carrier. It’s almost four football fields long and cost $13 billion dollars to build. Formally commissioned by President Donald Trump on 22 July 2017, the ship is a sight to behold —a behemoth of a thing.
According to the ship’s website (yes, it has a website) “the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is a first-in-class aircraft carrier, and the first new aircraft carrier designed in over 40 years. The Sailors who serve aboard Ford are tasked with ensuring the ship is able to execute national tasking for decades to come.”
There’s just one problem…it doesn’t work very well.
“Mixed performance by missile interceptors, radar and data dissemination systems on a testing vessel limited the ability to destroy replicas of incoming weapons even though sensor systems ‘satisfactorily detected, tracked and engaged the targets,’” according to the report obtained by Bloomberg News.
“The carrier built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. is still dogged as well by the ‘poor or unknown reliability’ of its aircraft launch and recovery systems, according to the five-page report. And recent shock tests to assess the vulnerability of key systems ‘identified several design shortfalls not previously discovered,’ the testing office said. It said ‘the Navy has already identified several survivability’ opportunities to improve the four-carrier class of ships ‘against underwater threat engagements,’” Bloomberg continues.
As Russia and China continue to test more advanced weaponry (hyper-sonic missiles), the pressure is on the U.S. to get some serious firepower into the water. China is cranking out patrol boats, frigates, cruisers and submarines with advanced anti-ship cruise missiles —all things the USS Gerald R. Ford is not ready to defend against.
But there may be hope.
According to Bloomberg, more than 8,100 launch and landing operations “highlighted the Ford’s increasing capability and provide growing confidence that a fully trained Ford crew and embarked air wing will achieve the required sorties generation rate,” the command said.
As previously reported by The Drill Down, Former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe says the U.S. no longer holds a lead when it comes to military technology.
“China has closed the gap,” Ratcliffe says. “It poses a national security threat to acknowledge that, but there are places where China’s frankly doing a better job, and it’s further down the curve on some technology issues than we are, and that’s never been the case before.”
If that’s not reason to get this right, I don’t know what is.