Ford Carrier, LCS Get Boosts in Seapower Mark

Ford Carrier, LCS Get Boosts in Seapower Mark

The House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces released its mark-up Tuesday that raises funding allocated for the construction of aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), adjusting the cost cap up from $11.755 billion to $12.9 billion. However, the subcommittee expressed concerns about the costs of the program.

“The committee remains concerned about the continued escalation in costs associated with Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier and the negative consequences associated with this continued escalation on the entirety of the ship construction accounts,” the Subcommittee mark-up language states.

Increases in funding is just one of the many marks to the Navy and Air Force budgets. Members of the subcomittee also issued marks affecting the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship and carrier-launched drone program, as well as the Air Force’s C-130J and next generation tanker programs.

Nearing completion, the Ford is the first-in-class manifestation of a new generation of high-tech, Ford-class aircraft carriers planned by the Navy to systematically replace existing Nimitz-class carriers one-for-one over the next 50-years or so as they reach the end of their service life. Navy officials have indicated that the cost of the program will inform development for the entire fleet of new Ford-class carriers.

The subcommittee expressed concerns about anticipated costs and directed the Secretary of the Navy to provide a report prior to March 1, 2014, updating the Navy’s ship building plan.

“The committee believes that there will be significant pressures on the ship construction accounts that will result from the Ohio-class replacement ballistic missile submarine program, while concurrently supporting the balance of ship construction requirements. The committee also believes that a significant increase to the ship construction accounts is unsustainable in times of budget challenges,” the subcommittee language states.

In a surprise, the subcommittee offered praise to the Littoral Combat Ships program despite recent struggles to include an internal Navy report that questioned the fleet’s ability to survive in combat. Officials also questioned the ship’s ability to protect itself from a cyber attack.

The subcommittee praised the radar system currently on board the Littoral Combat Ships USS Independence variant for its ability to detect and track a wide range of targets.  As a result, the subcommittee has directed the Navy to deliver a report detailing the steps the service has taken to ensure sailors are sufficiently trained on the radar’s capability so as to maximize its value.

The mark up language also directs the Navy to establish clear metrics or “achievables” for its current X-47B carrier-launched UAS demonstrator program. The subcommittee directed the demonstrator aircraft be able to “conduct unmanned autonomous rendezvous and aerial-refueling operations using the receptacle and probe equipment of the X–47B aircraft.”

The X-47B recently achieved the historic milestone of succeeding with a first-ever launch from an aircraft carrier. It’s scheduled to make it’s first-ever arrested landing on a carrier later this summer.

The mark-up also expressed support for the ongoing development of the Navy’s Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) being planned for multiple ships, including the future deployment of this capability on the Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer Flight III.

“AMDR would provide multi-mission capabilities, simultaneously supporting long-range, exo-atmospheric detection, tracking and discrimination of ballistic missiles, as well as Area and Self Defense against air and surface threats,” the subcommittee states.

However, the subcommittee expressed questions about some aspects of the AMDR development and has asked the Navy for a detailed report to the defense committees on the technology which addresses key requirements for the system.  For example, the subcommittee wants to know more about the “required space, cooling and electrical distribution upgrades necessary to support AMDR on the Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer Flight III.”

Other directives include permitting the Air Force to use multi-year procurement authority for acquisition of multiple variants of the C-130J baseline aircraft for years 2014 to 2018.

Multi-year acquisition contracts allow the government to achieve procurement objectives over a period of several years while lowering costs through larger-quantity buys spread out over a longer period; multi-year contracts also help industry by allowing them to better plan and establish production schedules, supply lines and revenue estimates.

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The Fords are using the newer module-type building process pioneered on the VA’s and the Zumwalts; they were not attempted for the last carrier program (correct me if wrong).

Expect the initial costs for the first platform to be higher than the cliche rosy projections, but the cost to go down per platform. However, you arrest costs by going after construction costs, not by being lazy and cutting build quantity.

“The House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces released its mark-up Tuesday that raises funding allocated for the construction of aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), adjusting the cost cap up from $11.755 billion to $12.9 billion. However, the subcommittee expressed concerns about the costs of the program.”

They’re concerned about the costs of the program, but they then hand out buckets of additional money to a contractor who are blowing the cost targets.

Make no mistake. What Clowngress are interested in is not seapower, but pork. As usual.

When Congress can’t do its job and say NO — failing to hold the Navy and the sole-source contractor accountable — what can we expect will be the result? A more costly military, with substantially fewer (and over-priced) weapons and equipment. But, what the h**l. It’s a jobs program anyway. With special ops growing and handling all those “threats” out ther across 100 nations, we need to cut back on regular “big war” forces as an offset. So, the Navy should expect to replace 2 existing carriers with only 1 new one.

Nimitz class have been made using modular construction (NNS&D call them super lifts) since at least the Roosevelt in the mid-80s. Nothing new in that regard. However, the cost will drop significantly as all the first of class issues like design costs, R&D for things like the catapult, new reactors, all electric auxillaries, and the SPY-3 , and production planning are eliminated in the second ship. However, extending the time to build the ship will increase costs and offset some of the savings. Additionally, the FORDs will have reduced shipyard maintenance compared to a NIMITZ that will allow them to have several years more operating time across their service life. So even at $13billion, it still saves money over the entire service life when compared to the Nimitz.

The rule of thumb for the Nimintz carrier class & Ohio FBM fleet over these entire sole source programs has been about a 20% COR. Due the math. Where’s the $ comin’ from? Higher taxes, fewer other classes of ships, fewer F-22’s.……I got it, we can make the Army Totally Reserve Component.….don’t needem’ anyhow right? makes sense! TQ’s post is within grenade kill range!

This type of construction if not incorrect was started by the Swedes in mid 70’s. It was incorp’d with the 688 & 726 classes. Seawolf & now the Virginia class. The moderater will delete my post if I go any further & then there’s that confid. Agree. I signed. But the cost of the two source modulated method of contsruction with regards to one of the above mentioned my G*d the $$$$$ that is being wasted because of the legacy of one ADM, not to have sole source for one such class

The reason the Fords are costing so much is because the Navy keeps pushing back construction to a later date to save money for that year. However this leads to over all cost increases per ship because it means longer yard times. Ship Yard time = $$$$$$$

Much of this would go down in cost if we didn’t mandate our shipping industry out of existance.

“The committee remains concerned about the continued escalation in costs associated with Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier and the negative consequences associated with this continued escalation on the entirety of the ship construction accounts,

What a farce. This happens with just about every project in the armed forces and no one does anything about it. Meanwhile the manufacturer/supplier companies rub their hands together, Senators and Congressmen smile (after making mindless statements like this) and generals and Admirals end up well employed after they retire. Eisenhower warned against this but what would he know.

Well in my opine 12.9 Billion is a lot of money, regardless of the claim on integrated start up costs, for one as yet unfinished carrier. I ask myself: Do we really need 12 super carriers? I am not convinced we do.…as to the LCS class.…under armed and, I think, no clear strategic purpose. But, hey, what do I know? I’m just a retired old Jarhead who is funding all these toys with my limited tax dollars.

The Jones Act is pretty much what keeps American shipbuilding alive.

N. Ash:
Gen. Ike had the vision & saw the whole incestuous relationship forming before the advent of career politicans & the revolving door with contractors & the General/Flag Officer corps. I think the U-2 over flights of the USSR & intell with the ensuing “bomber gap” gave him the thought premise for it. The ones who get soaked: taxpayers, the ones who get rich: pols/contractors, & the “end user” ends up with a over-priced, not as capable as advertised weapon systems, (In some instances) and of course requiring contractor support to lesson the “cost” of training & using “Military” personnel because of “budgetary pressures”. ha, you can’t make this sheet up!

“The subcommittee praised the radar system currently on board the Littoral Combat Ships USS Independence variant for its ability to detect and track a wide range of targets…“
While everyone else knows these ships haven’t got the armament necessary to kill what they can detect, or defend itself from a serious adversary that detects it.

Hence — the LCS high speed might give it some ability to run away from the first sign of a threat. To paraphrase Monty Python: “when danger reared its ugly head, she (the LCS) boldly turned around and fled…”

1) Did u every find a refernce to the “launch vehicle” used in that missle kinetic warhead test?
2) Even with the “Jones Act” the U.S.shipbuilding Industry (Non-military) is just about dead. We only float off 1% of the large ships produced in the world & make up 5% of large bulk carriers. The only ships produced in any number are for intercoastal or U.S. port to port xport iaw Jones Act.. Seatrain, one of the pioneers of containized shipbuilding, (followed by sea-land) was the slow death of one of the worlds most powerful industries. Seatrain did lease the NYNSY aka Brooklyn Navy Yard & built 4 “T.T. Brooklyn” class ULCC’s, If not mistak. the largest U.S. Flagged Merchantmen!. But when the subsidy was pulled by I think POTUS Carter, it went belly up, could not compete with the Japanese, S.K’s, or PRC= (63%) of ships built. We build a cruise ship or two. Some consider the “Jones Act” a jobs killer becauuse of % of LTS steel requirements on repair jobs. Intresting post script about the MM w/respect to the recent blather of one string of post’s on who did what, Mariners died at a rate of 1 in 24, which was the highest rate of casualties of any service. They weren’t recognized for that sacrifice as veterans until 1988. A national disgrace! Not be labeled sexist, The Women’s Air Forces Service Pilots, who early in the war deliverd aircraft to England & Oz, then later flew manly CONUS newly constructed aircraft were granted vet status in 1977 with 38 fatalities for the whole war!

The 1st FORD is already 10.26% over budget. I agree with you that as more hulls or improved fleets are introduced & constructed, the unit cost’d SHOULD be reduced & construction time drops because the construction learning curve rises. But with this dual source design opns plan in place, I hope your right. The FORD’s are awesome platforms, but they also have the potential to turn into pork laiden with design-changes”, re-work, re-design post construction changes..etc. I saw that 1st hand, it ain’t pretty, but can’t discuss it on this forum. I hope ur right, because if not, we ALL loose $$$ for opns & procurement.

Dual Source Operations Plan?

maybe not the proper forum , but I though I read in the Arm. For. Jour. or Def. News etc, that the new class dosen’t have the “traditional aircraft launch sys, spot on, or off grid? KC…OUT

Ford class is designed to use electromagnetic catapults as opposed to the Steam catapults that have been used for many many years. Steam cats are a maintenance problem as well as an operating problem due to the need for large amounts of steam at somewhat irregual intervals. The electromagnetic cats are a better solution but they are a new design and there are likely to be growing pains.


Can u launch a C-27J w/that sys?

Aircraft Carriers are not dual sourced, EB has no part in building them.

That is a question for the engineers on both the aircraft and the ship. Lots of people on this site will freestyle their comments but I will not. There are literally hundreds of pertinant issues that apply but the key issues in my estimation are:
a. Is there a “strong point” that can handle the force of the catapult and situated where the catapult “bridle” and holdback can attach
b. Does the landing gear have sufficient strength to handle the “bump” of a carrier landing
c. Does the aircraft have appropriate strength in the right place to install a retractable tailhook
d. Can C-27 burn JP-5? JP-8 is not available aboard ship.

a. Are there appropriate clearances and sizes (Jet Blast Deflectors, etc) to allow the C-27 to be handled aboard ship.
b. Is the “Yellow Gear” handling equipment able to handle the C-27?
c. Can the arresting gear, barrier and other landing equipment handle the weight/force of C-27

Those are just the tip of the iceberg

Not sure about C-27J, but something similar was done in 1963 when a KC-130F (BuNo 149798) modified with installation of a smaller nose-landing gear orifice, an improved anti-skid braking system, and removal of the underwing refueling pods) executed 29 touch-and-go landings, 21 unarrested full-stop landings, and 21 unassisted takeoffs at gross weights of 85,000 pounds up to 121,000 pounds, on/off the flight deck of U.S.S. Forrestal (CVA-59).

Yes, I am very aware of the C-130 trials that were done and flown by then LT Jimmy Flatley. It was really more of a stunt than a move to operate C-130s from ships for the long haul for a number of reasons. First and foremost is that the relative size of the C-130 to the ship meant that when the C-130 was on deck, the ship could essentially do not other real air operations. Whats more, the ship had to move any other aircraft that were normally parked on deck to either the hangar bays or off the ship just to be able to have the 130 “fit” on deck and move from landing to launch.

In the next several decades a carrier strike group’s air and missile defense will be facing faster and/or stealthier threats, will need larger aperture radar to detect those threats at adequate range to allow time to counter those threats. Larger aperture radar will require support from a larger ship with wider beam and larger displacement.

The big powerful radar cannot be placed on the CVN because of close proximity to aircraft, would need to be placed on another ship, a new large cruiser for air and missile defense, with a large quantity of missiles in VLS to defend against combined swarmed attacks from manned aircraft, UAV, missiles, and surface threats. The bigger ship will require more propulsive power to move at speeds to match the CVN, and more electric power the big radar, lasers and rail guns.

That points to a new large fast CGN, one paired to each CVN, to provide the big radar, AMD, and flagship C2 in the CSG. That will be necessary to protect the CVN against peer level adversary in coming decades and enable the CSG to remain a viable means of projecting force within range of a peer-level adversary’s land based aircraft and anti-ship missiles.


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