Huntington Ingalls Industries has announced completion of installation of more than 14 million feet of electrical and fibre-optic cable on the US Navy’s first Ford-class aircraft carrier, Gerald R Ford (CVN 78).
Installed at its Newport News Shipbuilding division, the cables are reported to be long enough to traverse from Earth to the International Space Station more than ten times.
The electrical cable, measuring more than ten million feet, and the fibre-optic cable, measuring feet million feet, has replaced the carrier’s traditional steam-powered systems onboard.
Newport News Shipbuilding vice-president of CVN 78 carrier construction Rolf Bartschi said: "The Ford-class aircraft carrier establishes the most capable, lethal and flexible platform for the navy to incorporate the latest technologies.
"This platform equips the warfighter with the best weaponry, communications and operating systems that our nation has today.
"Electrical systems take less manpower to operate and maintain, so in terms of costs, the shift toward electrical not only improves the flexibility of the ship’s technologies, it also reduces operating and maintenance costs during the carrier’s 50-year service life."
The cables form the ship’s electrical distribution system which has the capacity to provide the ship with more than 250% electricity more than previous carriers.
The electrical capacity will enable the ship to load weapons and speed up launching of aircraft as compared to the older carriers.
An increase in Gerald R Ford’s fibre-optic cables has also enhanced the automations systems and data networks used by sailors onboard, and the shift from steam to electrical power includes the carrier’s electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS), which contributes to a 33% increase in sortie generation rate compared to Nimitz-class carriers and steam catapults.
In July, Huntington was awarded a $106m contract to deliver submarine engineering and industrial works for the US Navy.
Image: An artist’s impression of a CVN-78 carrier. Photo: courtesy of U.S. Navy graphic.