Stephen Green, PJ Media: Choppy Seas in the U.S./China Naval Arms Race
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for proponents of naval power, as America’s and China’s two newest aircraft carriers revealed ongoing teething problems.
The U.S. Navy’s first-in-class USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) nuclear-powered supercarrier is the revolutionary successor to the current 10-ship Nimitz-class warships. First laid down in 2008 and commissioned in 2017, the Ford is expected to enter combat service… someday. The Navy hopes to take delivery in October of this year, but delays keep mounting.
The Ford uses modern automation to achieve a much-reduced crew size of about 4,500 men (including aircrews), down from just over 6,000 on its more-conventional predecessors, like the USS Reagan currently on patrol in the South China Sea not far from Hong Kong. Other, perhaps more important advances, include a radical electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) instead of traditional steam catapults, and a high-speed elevator system for moving planes to the flight deck and weapons to the planes.
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WNU Editor: The USS Gerald R. Ford is a new design with new technologies …. so I do expect problems. But I am surprised that the Chinese are having trouble with their new aircraft carrier. They are familiar with the design, and they are good ship builders.