Technical glitches delay US Navy’s Ford aircraft carrier

28 March 2019 (Last Updated March 28th, 2019 12:34)

Delivery of the US Navy's nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) to the fleet is being delayed for three months than originally expected due to faulty nuclear propulsion and elevators.

Technical glitches delay US Navy’s Ford aircraft carrier
Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is being delayed for three months. Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni

Delivery of the US Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN-78),  to the fleet is being delayed for three months than originally expected due to faulty nuclear propulsion and elevators.

Navy officials told a House Armed Services Subcommittee that the Ford will not join the fleet until October this year.

Last July, the new supercarrier began undergoing its 12-month post-shakedown availability (PSA) process at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. It was initially expected to complete its 12-month review after sea trials in July this year.

The technical glitches to were detected during sea trials that part of a PSA.

“All three of those causal factors are all trending about the same time. So, October right now is our best estimate.”

Navy acquisition chief James Geurts was quoted by USNI News as saying to the seapower and projection forces subcommittee, “All three of those causal factors, making the adjustments to the nuclear power plant that we noted during sea trials, fitting in all of the post-shakedown availability workload, and finishing up the elevators, they’re all trending about the same time. So, October right now is our best estimate.”

Repairs to the turbine generator may be associated to previous propulsion issues as a result of a design change which compelled the vessel to return to port last May.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is considered to be an expensive warship in the US, carrying a price tag of $13bn.

Ford is the first of a new generation of aircraft carriers to replace the Nimitz-class carriers.

Media sources reported the US Navy’s plan to retire the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman earlier than scheduled.

CVN 78 is the first new aircraft carrier design in four decades in the US.