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The Navy's $13 billion supercarrier is still having major problems
The U.S. Navy's new supercarrier continues to face major problems that will delay its delivery to the fleet for three months as the service bets big on this troubled ship, Navy officials revealed Tuesday.
Following testing and evaluation with the fleet, the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford began a yearlong maintenance and upgrade process at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia last July, with expectations that the carrier would return to the fleet this summer.
The Ford is now slated to spend at least another three months in dry dock due to unforeseen problems with the ship's nuclear power plant, the weapons elevators, and other areas, USNI News reported Tuesday, citing recent testimony by Navy officials before the House Armed Services Committee seapower and projection subcommittee.
"October right now is our best estimate," James Geurts, the assistant secretary of the Navy for research development and acquisition, told the committee.
The weapons elevators, of which the Ford only has two of the necessary 11, have long been an issue, but the propulsion problem is reportedly less understood.
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is maneuvered by tugboats in the James River during Ford's turn ship evolution. Ford is currently undergoing its post-shakedown availability at Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding (U.S. Navy/Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Seelbach)
The problems with the ship's main turbine generators appear more serious than initially indicated when they were discovered during sea trials.
The main turbine generators use steam from the ship's two onboard nuclear reactors to generate electricity for the ship's four propeller shafts, USNI News reports, adding that sources familiar with the repairs say that two of the turbine generators need "unanticipated and extensive overhauls."
The issue first appeared in May of last year, when the ship was forced to return to port early. "The ship experienced a propulsion system issue associated with a recent design change, requiring a return to homeport for adjustments before resuming at sea testing," the service told Navy Times.
As The War Zone notes, the $13 billion Ford has experienced numerous problems affecting everything from the arresting gear and catapults to its radar systems, yet the Navy is pushing ahead with purchases of this new class of carrier while proposing early retirement for an operational Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.
In its fiscal year 2020 budget proposal, the Navy announced plans to retire the USS Harry S. Truman two decades early rather refuel the ship's nuclear cores to power it for another quarter century. The move will reportedly to free up billions for a block buy of two Ford-class carriers and investment in unproven and untested unmanned systems the service has determined will be necessary for future combat.
The Ford continues to face developmental challenges as the service is moving forward on future Ford-class carriers — the USS John F. Kennedy, the USS Enterprise, and a yet to be named carrier identified only as CVN-81.
The embattled flagships are expected to play a crucial role in power projection, but setbacks have raised questions about when exactly it will be ready to play that part.
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SEE ALSO: The Navy's Newest Carrier Finally Has The Critical Weapons System That The Navy Secretary Staked His Job On — And It Actually Works
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'What happens after that is out of their control' — Former military leaders and lawyers react to Trump's war crimes pardons
On Friday, President Donald Trump intervened in the cases of three U.S. service members accused of war crimes, granting pardons to two Army soldiers accused of murder in Afghanistan and restoring the rank of a Navy SEAL found guilty of wrongdoing in Iraq.
While the statements coming out of the Pentagon regarding Trump's actions have been understandably measured, comments from former military leaders and other knowledgable veterans help paint a picture as to why the president's Friday actions are so controversial.
Raccoon infestations and extreme rust didn’t stop an anonymous buyer from nabbing this Soviet-era submarine
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The 48-year-old Russian Foxtrot-class submarine, known as the Scorpion, had hosted paying visitors for 17 years before it fell into such disrepair that it became infested with raccoons and was closed to the public in 2015.
Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.
The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.
During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.
"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."
"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."
Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.
Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.
A U.S. Air Force combat controller will receive the nation's third highest award for valor this week for playing an essential role in two intense firefight missions against the Taliban in Afghanistan last year.
Tech. Sgt. Cody Smith, an airman with the 26th Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing at Air Force Special Operations Command, will receive the Silver Star at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico on Nov. 22, the service announced Monday.