The crash tests were successful, with no major flooding, fire or equipment failure, despite the best efforts of 40,000 pounds of explosives detonated in the water around the ship. Huffman said the radar, EMALS and AAG performed well during the crash tests, all still functioning “immediately after each of the shocks.”
Besides the introduction of new technologies, the fact that the USS Gerald R. Ford will add another carrier to the Navy is important in itself. In recent years, the naval air force has come under intense pressure, which has led to extended periods at sea as well as so-called dual-pump deployments in which operational cruises are conducted back-to-back. This was driven by a dramatic increase in demand for carriers to support U.S. military operations and foreign policy objectives around the world, combined with a significant number of flattops under maintenance and major overhauls. The whole situation has been declared to be unsustainable by some.
With few signs that the demand for carriers will decrease, the arrival of the USS Gerald R. Ford – followed by other members of his class – should provide much needed respite for the transport force.
USS Gerald R. Ford should help ease the pressure on other aircraft carriers and crews, not only by introducing a new hull to the fleet, but perhaps due to its supposed ability to generate more sorties than a Nimitz class ship during the same period.
The Ford The class brings together a range of features – EMALS, AAGs, revamped maintenance spaces, a new cockpit setup, and advanced ammo elevators – with the goal of increasing the output generation rate by approximately 30%. .
However, that promise has yet to be properly explored, with a full air squadron still operational aboard the new carrier. As Carrier Air Wing 8 (CVW-8) embarked, most recently in the spring of this year, it was a downsized composition that practiced integrated carrier strike group operations. Embarking a full-size Air Wing is clearly a priority now, to explore how the carrier and its subsystems actually operate in a fully representative, sustained, cruising operating environment.