America’s New Aircraft Carrier Struggled To Certify Pilots Before 2022 Deployment

If the fiscal year 2022 weapons system report from the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) is any guide, America’s $13.3 billion, 5.7-year-old USS. Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), was struggling to achieve carrier qualification before the 2022 start.

The Pentagon report is a grim, fact-filled contrast to the Navy’s merciless “cheer and clap louder” sign. Ford Strengthening the class. According to DOT&E, “the reliability of CVN 78’s catapults, braking equipment, and jet deflectors continues to adversely affect flight generation and the effectiveness of flight operations.” Original Ford The business hull of the class was designed with approximately 30% higher flight generation speed than the legacy Nimitz class aircraft carriers.

The carrier itself is currently still recovering from a 53-day mob deployment late last year. According to carrier tracking websites, the USS Ford has spent 59 days in dock so far for ongoing maintenance for deployment in 2023. end or more likely sometime in 2024

U.S.S Ford has a long way to go against the upcoming American fleet of at least four Ford Class carriers can be considered more than a huge military liability.

The USS apparently failed to reliably enter and exit the cockpit during training. Ford is simply not ready for major combat operations and will likely struggle to defend against even the most modest of threats.

Frankly, the USS Ford remains a floating bundle of scientific experiments. For an aircraft carrier to be more than a weak fighter, the Navy needs to stop the happy talk, publicly acknowledge the flight deck problems, and then publicly take steps to correct deficiencies and establish institutional accountability when critical milestones are missed. This approach worked for USS Fords long-suffering electromagnetic gun elevators, and the same method will work as well Ford malfunctioning flight deck systems.

There is nothing wrong with admitting problems and dealing with them. Anything less, at a time of rising tensions in both Europe and Asia, is a disservice to both the Navy and the nation.

Get the facts: Ford Is weak:

On board the USS Ford, the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) continues to disappoint. On average, an electromagnetic catapult fails every 614 cycles—about fifteen percent of the Navy’s target of 4,166 aircraft launches, or “mean cycles between operational mission failures (MCBOMF).”

There are indications that EMALS will fail to achieve even this low level of performance. in 2022 during its first Initial Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) in September, “reliability regressed,” significantly slowing the carrier’s qualification on two of the ten days available for flights.

The Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) aircraft recovery system performs even worse than EMALS.

Until 2022 in June The AAG could only sustain an average of 460 cycles (aircraft landings) before failing. That doesn’t even exceed the Navy’s three percent requirement of 16,500 “average cycles between operational mission failure” — and again, as with the EMALS system, “AAG reliability regressed” during the first initial test. and evaluation (IOT&E) process causing “adverse operational impact on three out of ten carrier qualification days.”

The jet deflectors failed, and worse, there are indications that the Navy is still troubleshooting this key piece of flight deck equipment. “A number of modifications were implemented” during the carrier’s six-month “planned phased maintenance period” (aka the 2021-2022 redesign), but within five months of leaving the shipyard, all four jet deflectors failed, resulting in a failure. “for the ship to cancel the remaining carrier qualification and return early.

It’s time for the Department of Defense to stop talking about carrier flight numbers and start wondering if the USS Ford– or whatever Ford Class Carrier – Will be reliable enough to train and certify Navy pilots on schedule, not to mention launch and recover in a time-critical combat situation.

Stop kidding and fix Ford:

The Navy knows the USS Ford limitations. From the moment of USS Ford in 2022 left the shipyard in the early days, the Navy began lowering expectations, suggesting the carrier would cruise with a smaller-than-average airfoil. But instead of blaming the carrier itself for the unprecedented shortfall, the Navy has consistently deflected, pointing to the Global Force Management System — a classified process used to prepare and generate forces for combatant commanders — as the reason for the air wing’s shortfall. .

in 2022 at the end of September, a few days before Ford Vice Admiral Daniel Dwyer, commander of the US Second Fleet, said the air wing “will not be a complete package, but it will be almost a complete air wing”. He continued: “It is not because there is a lack of capacity on board Fordbut only where the air wing is in the global force management process.

The Admiral’s statement was technically correct. Pilot training and pilot carrier qualification, a rigid day and night take-off and landing process, are part of the global force management process. As an aircraft carrier, the USS Ford certainly has the capacity to qualify pilots, but in 2022 due to the limited time available for the carrier qualification process due to disruptions, the number of carrier-certified pilots available to assist was likely limited Ford initial shakedown installation.

The Ford The struggle to qualify pilots on schedule is a serious matter, reverberating throughout the fleet and possibly into Ford own air wing, Air Wing Eight.

Decomposition rate Ford flight deck systems—obvious to DOT&E observers Ford short sea swims in August and September are another serious problem.

For a carrier that is rarely at sea for more than two weeks, a marked deterioration in system performance outside of a test can be fatal. Given the number of cockpit malfunctions, any assumption that a troubled aircraft carrier can remain operational during a standard months-long carrier deployment is unrealistic. Endurance failure, where key systems cannot withstand prolonged use during a deployment, can harm sailors.

The Navy owes it to both the sailors assigned to the USS Ford and the U.S. taxpayer to find out how EMALS and AAG fared during the ship’s miniaturization in 2022. a true, combat-ready deployment—an inconspicuous deployment covering large and continuous stretches of sea time.

DOT&E again warned that America Ford the class carrier program has real problems. The Secretary of the Navy or, failing that, the Secretary of Defense must take action Ford in hand and as the Office did with Ford troublesome elevators of electromagnetic weapons, get to fixing Ford flight deck systems not ready.


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