The Pentagon’s most expensive warship, the $13 billion USS Ford (CVN-78) has seen multiple delivery deadlines come and go. Already $2 billion over its initial budget, officials promised that the vessel would be complete by November of this year.
Capt. Thurraya Kent, a spokeswoman for the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, said that delivery of CVN-78 will not be viable until after November, largely due to engine problems on the ship.
"We continue to look for opportunities to get Gerald R. Ford to sea as soon as possible," Kent said in a statement, according to Military.com. "The Navy is evaluating the most cost-effective and efficient schedule to complete sea trials and ship delivery."
She added that it "wouldn’t be prudent" to provide a new delivery date estimate.
It came to light last month that the USS Ford’s main turbine generators had been damaged in electrical explosions during trials. The cause was traced to faulty voltage regulators. The ship requires some $37 million worth of repairs.
Other technical errors have also caused setbacks for CVN-78. Earlier problems involved the ship’s runway capabilities, munitions movement, and defense capabilities.
"Steady progress is being made to retire technical issues," Kent said in July.
"EMALS [electromagnetic aircraft launch system] testing was successfully completed in May 2016 and testing of DBR [dual band radar] and AAG [advanced-arresting gear] are projected to complete in time to support upcoming sea trials and first aircraft operations scheduled for early next year."
Not only have these issues led to delays, they’ve also resulted in military officials’ lack of confidence in the new vessel.
"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, DoD director of operational test and evaluation, wrote in a memo in July.
US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has been vocal about his frustrations with the USS Ford’s development.
"The advanced arresting gear cannot recover airplanes. Advanced weapons elevators cannot lift munitions. The dual-band radar cannot integrate two radar bands," he said in a statement.
"Even if everything goes according to the Navy’s plan, CVN-78 will be delivered with multiple systems unproven."