Skip to comments.Why China and Russia Fear America's New Ford-Class Aircraft Carriers
Posted on 01/29/2017 11:01:20 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
In 2009, the U.S. Navy finally began construction of the first new type of aircraft carrier in nearly thirty-five years. Named after former president and naval aviator Gerald R. Ford, the USS Ford fully takes the nuclear supercarrier into the twenty-first century. The technological innovations built into the new ship, while causing the inevitable delays involved in building a first-in-class vessel, will keep the Navys unique fleet of super flattops the largest and most advanced in the world for the foreseeable future.
USS Ford follows in the steps of the highly successful Nimitz-class carriers. Construction began in 2009 at Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News, Virginiathe same location where the Fords predecessors were built. Indeed, the Ford class resembles the Nimitz ships in many ways: they measure 1,106 feet long versus the Nimitzs 1,092 feet. Both classes weigh the same: approximately one hundred thousand tons fully loaded. Layout is similar, too, with an island on the starboard side, four catapults and an angled flight deck.
The ship is powered by two new-design AB1 nuclear reactors. The reactors are manufactured by Bechtel, which beat out longtime naval reactor giants General Electric and Westinghouse for the reactor contract. Together, the two reactors create six hundred megawatts of electricity, triple the two hundred megawatts of the Nimitz class. Thats enough electricity to power every home in Hampton, Virginia; Pasadena, California; or Syracuse, New York.
Ford is going to need that power, not only to reach its estimated top speed of thirty-plus knots but also the new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), which uses electric currents to generate strong magnetic fields that can quickly accelerate an aircraft to takeoff speeds....
(Excerpt) Read more at nationalinterest.org ...
Two nuclear reactors? Love it! Double down on the political incorrectness.
Is it the catapult that doesn’t work, the fact that all it carries is Hornets and F-35 moonpigs, or the amazing separate quarters for the female crew?
Super carriers, even those marvelous new but hugely expensive Ford class carriers, are less and less useful against a world-class power such as China as they are increasingly forced farther offshore as missile technology advances. It is becoming increasingly questionable whether our planes have adequate range against a superpower like China, even if refueled, because they are necessarily launched from so far offshore. Recent sudden and unwelcome appearances of submarines within striking distance have, according to reports, suggested a greater vulnerability that had been believed.
Of course, defensive antimissile systems have been advanced as well but the threat is not always precisely known. It is the unknown which must give a president pause before he sends this emblem of American power in harms way. The diplomatic, strategic, and psychological impact of losing a super carrier cannot be dismissed. If a president cannot be perfectly certain that his carrier will survive incursions into the South China Sea, dare he venture?
If the super carrier is not a safe tool to use against China, what value is it?
A carrier retains its wonderful ability to project power against third world countries who cannot mount a serious missile or submarine threat. But do we need a super carrier to perform what is essentially an 19th century British gunboat mission? Can we afford it 11 times?
Will we be waging war, or better deterring war, with new weapons in space and in cyberspace, with drones and lasers and satellites? Where will the super carrier with its enormous expense and vulnerabilities fit in?
Military craft are constructed so as to routinely venture into harm's way. What kind of leader would someone be if they allowed the mere possibility of an attack to dissuade them from completing a mission?
While it's obviously unwise to be needlessly provocative, it's also the case that the liberty to "sail the ocean blue" is a critical adjunct of free civilization. If China threatens to create Tyranny on the high seas, they should be challenged by any nation with the wherewithal to do so...
Absolutely correct. A carrier is a formidable weapon for projecting power against a non sophisticated enemy. Against a sophisticated enemy it is very simple, if they see it, it dies. Yes we do need carriers but they are of little use against a nation such as China. They may launch their aircraft but it is a one way mission. The carrier will be sunk quickly.
The electric catapaults are based on a desgn the Disney company invented to launch roller coasters without a starter hill.
The only argument I can think of for scaled up SuperCarriers is that in reality, they are not so much “gunboats” for “diplomacy” as they are mobile island airbases, and the size increase reflects that theory.
My big question is do we have the reach in aviation and maritime stealth technology to use them in that such a legitimizing role?
I've always wondered: what is the competitive advantage of deploying these new catapult systems?
Enterprise had 8, and the Nimitz class had four I believe.
hmmm. if the chinese don’t believe in the effectiveness of the super carrier, why are they building them?
More streamlined. Existing designs use steam pressure, which was no big deal when ships were coal or oil fired. Now that they’re nuclear, a separate internal structure supporting steam production has to be maintained. Magnetic launchers are less maintenance intensive and take up less space.
In the face of that crisis President Trump is taking a huge gamble. For the record, I endorse the gamble as the only viable hope to negotiate the reckoning to come but that does not mean that I think success is assured, or even likely. Nor does it mean that I think that Trump is entirely correct in some particulars.
The president is gambling that he can revive the economy before the reckoning by stimulating it with tax cuts and invigorating it with trade reform and protecting it by very marginal and mostly insignificant cuts. Unfortunately, he shows no disposition to address entitlements which is the only way that our debt crisis can be avoided, especially if GDP growth at about the rate of at least 4% (probably 6% to 7% will be required) is not attained. He is doing this for purely political reasons. Worse, he has campaigned on creating a new entitlement which, no matter how camouflaged as tax credits, is still an entitlement.
In addition to cutting taxes, keeping expensive provisions of Obama Care, he intends to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure. Finally, he wants to spend what it takes to revive our military from the grossly ill-conceived administration of Barack Obama. Every one of these expenditures, when coupled with the tax cut, at least in the short term creates larger deficits, enhances the debt and increases the need for Mr. Trump to win his gamble even while it lowers the odds that he will succeed.
When we talk about rebuilding our military is is essential that we talk about establishing priorities. Priorities do not come wholly formed, sprung from the brain of some great thinker, they come from assessing the nations strategic needs. The weapon systems should be created to serve those needs and that raises the question whether super carriers times 11 are the most efficient way to maintain the freedom of the seas, to protect our allies (if that is our mission-which is questionable) in Asian waters or even to maintain trade routes safe for China trade?
In making these assessments we should at least have the prudence to admit that our resources are limited, that are chances to correct mistakes are diminishing, that our adversaries are waxing in strength, that we dare not get this wrong.
I see the sequence for American security as follows: (1) restore the economy; (2) cut spending by reforming entitlements; (3) rebuild the military. Without (1) and (2) we will never have a long-lasting military. Indeed, if we get the military part wrong, if we overspend, if we misconceive our strategic goals and weapons needs we can actually impede obtaining a restored economy.
There is much to be considered before we wave the flag and conclude that we will sail into harms way with the Navy band playing Anchors Away
Bechtel used to be packed with Ex-politicians and some of the more important aides and councils of the Democratic party. Probably has deep CIA connections.
It's one of those companies you never hear about, but once you start hearing and reading things you know the money and influence runs deep.
Naval design seems to be focusing on building ships that can generate as much electricity as possible, and with good reason.
Laser bursts will cost less than a dollar each compared to $10,000 to $1 million for various missiles, which require storage and have explosive risk.
Railguns do not use explosive shells, which means more projectiles can be stored on board with no risk of explosion.
Thanks for the info!
Gerald Ford was not a Naval Aviator.
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