Trump first railed against the “digital” Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS) at the heart of the Navy’s new Ford-class supercarrier months ago, in a confusing interview with Time magazine — “What is digital? And it’s very complicated, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out,” he said. But now, the new system has some major reliability issues, as extensively documented by the Pentagon’s testing and evaluation arm.
Those issues include: “excessive airframe stress” experienced by Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft during launch operations; an inability to electrically isolate the catapult’s complicated power systems in order to conduct maintenance and repairs without halting operations, a critical feature for any vessel underway; and an abysmal “9 percent chance of completing the 4-day surge and a 70 percent chance of completing a day of sustained operations,” according to Pentagon evaluators — sustained operations like the bombing sorties that U.S. personnel downrange have come to rely on in hotspots like Iraq and Syria.
Lawmakers are coming around to Trump’s skepticism. In February, Navy officials urged Secretary of Defense James Mattis to please, for the love of God, don’t shock-test this bad boy just yet — much to the dismay of lawmakers. "Conducting full ship shock trials on CVN-78 will not only improve the design of future carriers,” Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain — the Arizona Republican and former naval aviator — wrote to Mattis, “but also reduce the costs associated with retrofitting engineering changes."
Sure, OK, but shock trials won’t necessarily fix the core problem: USS Gerald Ford is absolutely not ready for action downrange because of that goddamn catapult — an especially concerning problem given foreign militaries’ embrace of the next-gen launching and landing tech. As one retired Navy engineer who worked at Naval Air Systems Command Lakehurst during the development of the EMALS, the system is “an engineering nightmare that will haunt the Navy for decades to come.”
Now here it is, your moment of schadenfreude: Commander in Chief Trump presides over the commissioning of the Ford last year. Well played, sir: You were right, even if you didn’t know it just yet.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
Airman 1st Class Isaiah Edwards has been sentenced to 35 years in prison after a military jury found him guilty of murder in connection with the death of a fellow airman in Guam, Air Force officials announced on Tuesday.
A Russian man got drunk as all hell and tried to hijack an airplane on Tuesday, according to Russian news agencies.
So, pretty much your typical day in Siberia. No seriously: As Reuters notes, "drunken incidents involving passengers on commercial flights in Russia are fairly common, though it is unusual for them to result in flights being diverted."