Author Topic: In testing phase, new carrier plagued by problems  (Read 420 times)

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SPQR

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In testing phase, new carrier plagued by problems
« on: January 11, 2014, 07:47:49 PM »
By Stars and Stripes

The U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, a multibillion-dollar behemoth that is the first in a next generation of carriers, is beset with performance problems, even failing tests of its ability to launch and recover combat jets, according to an internal assessment by the Pentagon obtained by the Boston Globe.

The Globe reported Friday that early tests are raising worries that the USS Gerald R. Ford, christened in November, may not meet the Navy’s goal of significantly increasing the number of warplanes it can quickly launch — and could even be less effective than older vessels. The carrier is undergoing testing at a Virginia shipyard and is scheduled for delivery in 2016, with a price tag estimated at more than $12 billion.

At least four crucial components being installed are at risk because of their poor or unknown reliability, states the 30-page testing assessment, which was delivered last month to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and other top Pentagon leaders.

In addition to the launching and landing systems for jet fighters, officials are also concerned about its advanced radar system. It also remains unclear if a key weapons elevator will work as promised.

According to the authors, “Poor reliability of these critical systems could cause a cascading series of delays during flight operations that would affect [the ship’s] ability to generate sorties, make the ship more vulnerable to attack, or create limitations during routine operations,” the Globe reports.

A number of other systems, such as communications gear, meanwhile, are performing at less than acceptable standards, according to the assessment by J. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation. Gilmore concluded that the Navy has little choice but to redesign key components of the ship.

Rear Adm. Thomas J. Moore, the program executive officer for aircraft carriers, defended the progress of the ship in an interview and expressed confidence that, in the two years before delivery, the Navy and its contractors will overcome what he acknowledged are multiple hurdles.

“With these new technologies comes a lot of developmental challenges,” Moore, an MIT-trained nuclear engineer, told the Globe. The ship has had its share of critics in the past. The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, found last year that costs had risen 22 percent from original predictions, and recommended delaying construction of a second, the USS John F. Kennedy, until the Navy and its contractors have a better handle on a series of untried technologies.

A third vessel in the new ship class, the USS Enterprise, is in the works, and the Navy could buy up to eight more.

http://www.stripes.com/news/in-testing-phase-new-carrier-plagued-by-problems-1.261377
« Last Edit: January 11, 2014, 07:48:37 PM by SPQR »

Offline Chieftain

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Re: In testing phase, new carrier plagued by problems
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2014, 08:50:55 PM »
It is difficult to explain just how big of a change the Ford class will be.  Instead of steam powered catapults, the ship will have four EMALS, or Electro Magnetic Aircraft Launching Systems installed.  Essentially it is an electric rail gun that can launch a fully loaded combat jet weighing 70,000 pounds or more to flight speed in 300 feet.

What that means is instead of huge quantities of hotel steam, these catapults require large amounts of electricity.  This eliminates thousands of tons of steel piping and the enormous steam accumulator tanks each steam cat needed to have the volume needed for a launch.  The weight and moment change is significant, and it also changes the entire nuclear plant as well.

Instead of having two large nuclear reactors to generate steam like Nimitz class carriers do, Ford will have a nuclear plant designed to generate the enormous quantities of electricity the ship will require.

Tremendous leap forward, even bigger than USS Nimitz was when she was first commissioned.  Lots of problems with every new design, and it takes years to work them all out, but in the long run these vessels are unmatched by anything afloat, and are worth every red cent.



 :beer:

SPQR

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Re: In testing phase, new carrier plagued by problems
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2014, 10:21:29 PM »
It is difficult to explain just how big of a change the Ford class will be.  Instead of steam powered catapults, the ship will have four EMALS, or Electro Magnetic Aircraft Launching Systems installed.  Essentially it is an electric rail gun that can launch a fully loaded combat jet weighing 70,000 pounds or more to flight speed in 300 feet.

What that means is instead of huge quantities of hotel steam, these catapults require large amounts of electricity.  This eliminates thousands of tons of steel piping and the enormous steam accumulator tanks each steam cat needed to have the volume needed for a launch.  The weight and moment change is significant, and it also changes the entire nuclear plant as well.

Instead of having two large nuclear reactors to generate steam like Nimitz class carriers do, Ford will have a nuclear plant designed to generate the enormous quantities of electricity the ship will require.

Tremendous leap forward, even bigger than USS Nimitz was when she was first commissioned.  Lots of problems with every new design, and it takes years to work them all out, but in the long run these vessels are unmatched by anything afloat, and are worth every red cent.



 :beer:


 :beer:

Offline EC

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Re: In testing phase, new carrier plagued by problems
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2014, 02:50:05 AM »
Thanks Chief, for the explanation. I'm trying to imagine the size of the buss bars, capacitors and cables a rail gun launcher would need!

It's the size of these beauties that gets me. Had the great fortune to have a quick tour of the USS Nimitz (non restricted sections only, of course!). You stand on the flight deck, you do literally feel like an ant.
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Offline Oceander

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Re: In testing phase, new carrier plagued by problems
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2014, 06:45:21 PM »
Quote
USS Gerald R. Ford

Mr. Ford was, I think, the right person at the right time to play the role he did, and to be respected for that; however, that being said, with his propensity for knockin' his noggin on doorways and the like, perhaps this wasn't the most propitious of christenings.

Offline Gazoo

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Re: In testing phase, new carrier plagued by problems
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2014, 09:46:29 PM »
Pardon the slight off subject remark but I know Jimmy Carter got a sub named after him. Did they ever name anything after Clinton? I found Obama's...

http://ingunowners.com/forums/general-political-discussion/62044-comparing-3-new-navy-ships-uss-obama-uss-clinton-uss-reagan.html
"The Tea Party has a right to feel cheated.

When does the Republican Party, put in the majority by the Tea Party, plan to honor its commitment to halt the growth of the Federal monolith and bring the budget back into balance"?

Offline Gazoo

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Re: In testing phase, new carrier plagued by problems
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2014, 09:48:12 PM »
 :silly: :silly: :silly:

Quote
The USS Obama also does not go out to sea! It stays afloat in a huge vat of Kool-Aid.
"The Tea Party has a right to feel cheated.

When does the Republican Party, put in the majority by the Tea Party, plan to honor its commitment to halt the growth of the Federal monolith and bring the budget back into balance"?

Offline Gazoo

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Re: In testing phase, new carrier plagued by problems
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2014, 04:40:18 PM »


"The Tea Party has a right to feel cheated.

When does the Republican Party, put in the majority by the Tea Party, plan to honor its commitment to halt the growth of the Federal monolith and bring the budget back into balance"?


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