Fancy $13 Billion US Aircraft Carrier Not So Good at Carrying Aircraft

The USS Gerald R. Ford is very expensive and very fancy—but it's not very good at carrying aircraft

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Aircraft carriers: Are they even viable when fighting a country that can actually defend itself?

USS Gerald R. Ford: "At least it floats"
USS Gerald R. Ford: "At least it floats"

Almost certainly not, but this minor detail hasn't stopped the three-ship, $42 billion Ford-class US carrier program from chugging right along.

The first Ford-class carrier to be produced, the Gerald R. Ford, is the newest and costliest aircraft carrier in recorded human history. With a $13 billion price tag, we can only assume that this carrier has cool exclusive features, like lights that turn on when you clap, and the ability to time travel. 

But unfortunately for the US taxpayer, it appears that the Gerald R. Ford, like the president it's named after, is exceptionally unexceptional. So much so that it actually has problems carrying aircraft, even though it's an aircraft carrier

As Bloomberg reports:

The newest and costliest U.S. aircraft carrier, praised by President Donald Trump and delivered to the Navy on May 31 with fanfare, has been dogged by trouble with fundamentals: launching jets from its deck and catching them when they land.

Now, it turns out that the system used to capture jets landing on the USS Gerald R. Ford ballooned in cost, tripling to $961 million from $301 million, according to Navy documents obtained by Bloomberg News.

The Navy claims that the problem has been mostly resolved, aside from the fact that the carrier is still unable to launch F/A-18 jets "carrying a full complement of fuel tanks under their wings, a handicap that could limit their effectiveness in combat."

Oh well. Sixty-two percent of the US Navy’s F/A-18s are out of service anyway, so most of them probably won't be needing full tanks of fuel. 

And twenty percent of US children live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold, but apparently there's plenty of money for defective, $13 billion aircraft carriers. 


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