Brand-new Navy aircraft carrier and floating catastrophe USS Gerald R. Ford was forced to return to Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia after encountering issues with its propulsion train, Navy Times reports — the second critical failure in the propulsion system to roil the next-generation supercarrier, after a previously undisclosed failure was initially discovered months ago.
The engines don't work. Well, sort of: According to Navy Times, problems "reside in the mechanical components associated in turning steam created by the nuclear plant into spinning screws that power the ship through the water," although Naval Sea Systems Command spokesman Bill Couch asserted that the new problem was different from an earlier problem identified by the crew in January and publicly disclosed this month. NAVSEA told Bloomberg that shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls identified the issue as a "manufacturing defect" rather than an overall design flaw.
This is what testing is supposed to accomplish. Sure, headlines make the Ford sound like the spiritual ancestor to the USS Shitty Kitty, but naval warfare reporter Chris Cavas rightfully points out that these errors turn up all the time in pre-service shakedown; indeed, the Associated Press notes that the Ford was expected to steam to the Newport News in July to fix any existing technical issues, of which there are many.“Ford has been tasked with conducting critical test and evaluation operations that identify construction and design issues,” NAVSEA spokesman Colleen O’Rourke told Navy Times. “As a continuation of that testing and evaluation process, Ford got underway to conduct an independent steaming event that would allow the ship and its crew to continue testing its systems and procedures.”
Yet another issue... News of the Ford's propulsion issues comes months after an intensive assessment, conducted by the Office of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation and published in January, revealed a slew of technical problems plaguing the Pentagon's first new carrier design in nearly four decades. Those problems included “poor or unknown reliability” among critical systems and, most embarrassingly, inconsistencies with that brand-new "digital” Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS) that President Donald Trump railed against last year.
... and bad timing: Even if the Ford's myriad issues are worked out through the Navy's standard testing evaluation protocol, news of the propulsion issues couldn't have emerged at a worse time for the service. NAVSEA announced on May 11 that the Navy would have to shell out an additional $120 million for the carrier, bringing its total cost to around $13.03 billion — well above the $12.9 billion cap set by Congress back in April. It doesn't help that the Navy is currently pushing lawmakers to expedite the purchase of a fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier.
Aircraft carriers: They're just like us! By which I mean broken and expensive. Are you reading this, boss? I need a raise and some vacation. Thanks.
An Oregon Air National Guard F-15C Eagle that made an emergency landing on Wednesday ditched its entire arsenal of live air-to-air missiles before touching down at Portland International Airport, The War Zone reports.
President Donald Trump announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but Sen. Lindsey Graham has since made a strong push to keep a small residual force along the Turkish border along with troops from European allies.
The former Navy SEAL among a group of eight men arrested earlier this week in Port-au-Prince on weapons charges says he was providing security work "for people who are directly connected to the current President" of Haiti.
"We were being used as pawns in a public fight between him and the current Prime Minister of Haiti," said Chris Osman, 44, in a post on Instagram Friday. "We were not released we were in fact rescued."
It's a photo for the ages: a Marine NCO, a Greek god in his dress blues, catches the eye of a lovely young woman as her boyfriend urges her on in distress. It's the photographic ancestor of the much-loved "distracted boyfriend" stock photo meme, made even sweeter by the fact that this is clearly a sailor about to lose his girl to a Devil Dog.
Well, this photo and the Marine in it, which hopscotched around Marine Corps Facebook and Instagram pages before skyrocketing to the front page of Reddit on Thursday, are very real.
The photo shows then-Staff Sgt. Louis A. Capozzoli — and he is absolutely not on his way to steal your girl.