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Trump Was Right: The Navy’s New Aircraft Catapult Is No Match For ‘Goddamned Steam’
Look, we give President Donald Trump shit for all sorts of reasons: confusion over evening colors, picking fights with the family members of fallen service members, tweeting too much, making service academy graduations about himself, and so on. The purpose of journalism is to challenge the powerful, no matter who they are, but I’ll be the first to admit when the commander-in-chief is right and the rest of the world is totally wrong.
And in the case of the Navy’s next-generation electromagnetic catapult system, Trump was right: “Goddamned steam” is way better than the futuristic system after all.
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.
The U.S. Space Force has a name tape for uniforms now. Get excited people.
In a tweet from its official account, the Space Force said its uniform name tapes have "touched down in the Pentagon," sharing a photo of it on the chest of Gen. John W. Raymond, the newly-minted Chief of Space Operations for the new service branch nested in the Department of the Air Force.
PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump gave a minute-to-minute account of the U.S. drone strikes that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in remarks to a Republican fund-raising dinner on Friday night, according to audio obtained by CNN.
With his typical dramatic flourish, Trump recounted the scene as he monitored the strikes from the White House Situation Room when Soleimani was killed.
The U.S. Navy will name its fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier after Doris Miller, an iconic World War II sailor recognized for his heroism during the Pearl Harbor attack, according to reports in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and U.S. Naval Institute News.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is expected to announce the naming of CVN-81 during a ceremony on Monday in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, according to USNI. Two of Miller's nieces are expected to be there, according to the Star-Advertiser.
Two immigrants, a pastor and an Army sergeant have been convicted of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud as part of an illegal immigration scheme, according to federal prosecutors.
Rajesh Ramcharan, 45; Diann Ramcharan, 37; Sgt. Galima Murry, 31; and the Rev. Ken Harvell, 60, were found guilty Thursday after a nine-day jury trial, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office in Colorado.
The conspiracy involved obtaining immigration benefits for Rajesh Ramcharan, Diann Ramcharan, and one of their minor children, the release said. A married couple in 2007 came to the U.S. from Trinidad and Tobago on visitor visas. They overstayed the visas and settled in Colorado.
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran said on Saturday it was sending to Ukraine the black boxes from a Ukrainian passenger plane that the Iranian military shot down this month, an accident that sparked unrest at home and added to pressure on Tehran from abroad.
Iran's Tasnim news agency also reported the authorities were prepared for experts from France, Canada and the United States to examine information from the data and voice recorders of the Ukraine International Airlines plane that came down on Jan. 8.
The plane disaster, in which all 176 aboard were killed, has added to international pressure on Iran as it grapples with a long running row with the United States over its nuclear program that briefly erupted into open conflict this month.