Navy Seeks $30 Million to Fix Gear That Hobbled Its New Carrier

The Navy is asking Congress to shift $30 million from other accounts to start repairing a damaged gear on the service’s costliest warship, the Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier.

The request for funds to repair the $13 billion carrier is part of a Pentagon package asking congressional approval to shift $4.7 billion in previously approved Army, Air Force and Navy funding into new programs or higher-priority projects. The package must be approved by all four congressional defense committees, where it’s pending.

The $30 million is needed to pay for repairs to the propulsion-system gear while the carrier’s builder, Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., “seeks compensation from the original manufacturer for warranty defects,” Naval Sea Systems spokesman William Couch said in an email.

The Ford was forced to return to port after the failure in January of a “main thrust bearing” that’s a key propulsion system component. It returned to sea after the damage was contained. The defective gear was the result of “machining errors” by a General Electric Co. unit, according to Navy documents. Full repairs will take place during the vessel’s current yearlong shakeout period.

“We continue to work with appropriate stakeholders to support resolution of this situation,” Huntington Ingalls spokeswoman Beci Brenton said in an email. GE spokesman Perry Bradley said in an email that the company “continues to work closely” with Huntington Ingalls and the Navy to resolve the issue.

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