- The US Navy is pulling parts off a carrier it is still building to get another one ready to deploy.
- The sea service is cannibalizing USS John F. Kennedy for parts to use on USS Gerald R. Ford, USNI News reports.
- The Ford is expected to be ready for operational use sometime next year.
The US Navy is pulling parts off a new aircraft carrier that is still under construction to get the first ship of the service’s new class of carriers ready for deployment, USNI News reported Monday evening.
Shipyard workers are stripping parts from USS John F. Kennedy, the second Ford-class carrier being built at by Huntington Ingalls Industries at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia, to use on USS Gerald R. Ford.
“Examples of parts include HMI screens for stores elevators as well as motor controllers, power supplies, small pumps, limit switches and valve actuators for various systems throughout the ship,” Capt. Clay Doss, a spokesman for Navy acquisitions, told USNI News.
He said that while this practice is not uncommon, it will occur less frequently as naval supply support systems mature.
Doss explained to USNI News that cannibalization “occurred only after confirming the parts or materials were not available in the supply system and/or that alternate sources were not available,” adding that replacement plans were made in each case and “none of the parts transferred to CVN 78 are projected to impact the CVN 79 construction schedule.”
Naval Sea Systems Command told the naval news outlet that “cannibalizations are being used as part of the process to augment readiness of CVN 78.”
After years of costly setbacks and delays, the $13 billion lead ship of the new Ford-class aircraft carriers is expected to be ready for operational use next year, four years after it was first expected.
USS Gerald R. Ford features a variety of new technologies — such as the electromagnetic aircraft launch system, improved arresting gear, and advanced weapons elevators, among others — intended to make it more capable than its Nimitz-class predecessors.
But reliability challenges and technological integration issues have hindered the project time and time again, though the ship does appear to finally be overcoming many of those challenges.
The carrier is currently working through a maintenance period following the successful, though somewhat damaging, completion of explosive shock trials this summer, when the Navy detonated multiple 40,000-pound explosives near the Ford to test its ability to handle the shock of combat.
The Ford is expected to bring a lot of additional combat power to the fleet and help meet the frequent demands for these naval assets.
“Getting the Ford-class out there with its capabilities is basically just going to increase the number of carriers and carrier strike groups that we have available to meet the demands,” Rear Adm. Gregory Huffman, who leads Carrier Strike Group 12, told USNI News, adding that he believes the Ford ” is just going to give us more flexibility.”
Then, he said, “when you couple that with the projected increase in what the Ford should be able to do, that’s going to just provide the combatant commanders and other folks with just more options and more things at their fingertips that they can use.”