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US Navy’s New $13B Aircraft Carrier USS Gerald R. Ford Can’t Fight

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The US has once again postponed the commissioning of the most expensive warship in the history. The $13-billion USS Gerald R. Ford did not pass the tests of readiness for combat operations.

US Navy’s New $13B Aircraft Carrier USS Gerald R. Ford Can't Fight

Photo: US Navy / Aidan P. Campbell

The commissioning of the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) may be postponed for 2017, a US Navy official told CNN. The aircraft carrier couldn’t pass all the tests of readiness for combat operations. Initially, the $13-billion warship that CNN calls the most expensive one in history, was expected to join the fleet in September 2014.

According to a June 28 memo obtained by CNN, Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation, said the most expensive warship in history continues to struggle launching and recovering aircraft, moving onboard munitions, conducting air traffic control and with ship self-defense.

“These four systems affect major areas of flight operations. Unless these issues are resolved … they will significantly limit CVN-78’s ability to conduct combat operations,” Gilmore wrote in his report to Pentagon and Navy weapons buyers Frank Kendall and Sean Stackley.

According to Gilmore, fixing these problems would likely require redesigning the carrier’s aircraft launch and recovery systems. This process could result in another delay for the commissioning of the warship. The US Navy suggested that the aircraft carrier may be delivered by September 2014. Then this date was moved for September 2016 and then for November 2016.

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