WASHINGTON – After the disastrous F-35 project, which has cost the US $400 billion up till now and is expected to cost $8.3 billion more in 2017, the $13bn aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) has been deemed “not ready for combat” by the Pentagon’s top weapon tester.
USS Gerald Ford is the first of the three Ford-class carriers ordered by the US Navy at a combined cost of $42 billion.
The 1,100- foot carrier, the most expansive aircraft carrier in history, was expected to join US Navy fleet in September 2014 but could be delayed till 2017 due to technical problems.
Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has slammed the latest delays as ‘unacceptable’ and ‘unavoidable’. He said that taxpayers deserved to know when the CVN-78 will be operational and who was accountable for the delays.
A report by Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s director of operational testing and evaluation, showed that the aircraft was still struggling with launching and recovering aircraft, moving on-board munitions, conducting air traffic control and defending itself.
In total, the US Navy hopes to spend $81.3 billion to build 38 new warships replacing some aging submarines and surface ships.