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Most Expensive US Ship Comes With Exploding Generators

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The US Navy’s most expensive ship, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), has a power problem – its turbine generators exploded before the vessel left port for the first time.

Most Expensive US Ship Comes With Exploding Generators

Photo: Wikipedia / US Navy

The USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), the US Navy’s new flagship, worth $12.9 billion, could be obsolete before its maiden voyage, the Japan Times newspaper reported, citing the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, Frank Kendall.

“With the benefit of hindsight, it was clearly premature to include so many unproven technologies [on the warship],” Kendall wrote in a memo.

According to new revelations, there is a possibility that the Ford even will not leave a port due to the power problems.

In June, an electrical explosion occurred in the second main turbine generator (MTG) of the vessel. According to US military officials, there was no fire, and the incident was enough to fling debris into the turbine. However, one month later, a similar explosion took place on the first main turbine generator.

As the Defense News informational website reported, citing Pentagon sources, the cause has been connected with faulty voltage regulators. The price of the repairs is expected to be at least $37 million.

The power problem became the last one in a series of failings that led to a delay in delivery of the USS Gerald R. Ford.

“The current estimated delivery date is in November 2016,” spokesman for the US Navy, Capt. Thurraya Kent, said in July. “If additional issues arise during the remaining shipboard testing, that date may need to be revised,” he added.

Earlier problems included the ship’s munitions movement, runway capabilities, and defense capabilities.

“Unless these issues are resolved, which would likely require redesigning, they will significantly limit the CVN-78’s ability to conduct combat operations,” Michael Gilmore, director of operational test and evaluation of the US Defense Department, wrote in a memo in July.

US lawmakers, including Arizona Senator John McCain, have been angered by the repeated delays.

“The advanced arresting gear cannot recover airplanes. Advanced weapons elevators cannot lift munitions. The dual-band radar cannot integrate two radar bands,” McCain said in a statement. “Even if everything goes according to the Navy’s plan, CVN-78 will be delivered with multiple systems unproven.”

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