Magazine July 6, 2020, Issue

The Aircraft Carrier We Need

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Midway, with assigned Carrier Air Wing 5, entering Subic Bay, Philippines, 1981 (PHCS Steven Harris, USN/U.S. Defense Imagery Photo/VIRIN DN-ST-84-00324)
A strategic design update is due

On April 24 the U.S. Navy announced that a fifth weapons elevator had been certified for use onboard the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). (A weapons elevator lifts munitions, such as bombs and missiles, from the storage area to the flight deck.) Six more elevators remain uncertified, requiring additional testing and modifications before the carrier can be deployed. Originally estimated to cost $10.5 billion to build, the ship was officially “delivered” to the Navy in May 2017, some 18 months behind schedule, at an eye-popping cost of $12.9 billion. However, even those cost numbers and dates are misleading, as the

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