Surpassing Goals of the Ford Aircraft Carrier Using UK Carriers

The main justification for the Gerald Ford Super aircraft carriers was to increase the sortie rate 25% over the Nimitz class and a 25% reduction in manpower required to operate. The Ford carriers are costing over $13 billion each and have numerous problems with landing and launching aircraft, elevators and radar.

The Nimitz Class has demonstrated a sustained sortie generation rate of 120 launches and recoveries over a twelve-hour flight day, sustaining that level of operation for thirty days.

These ships are intended to sustain 160 sorties per day for 30-plus days, with a surge capability of 270 sorties per day. Director of Operational Testing Michael Gilmore has criticized the assumptions used in these forecasts as unrealistic and has indicated sortie rates similar to the 120/240 per day of the Nimitz class would be acceptable.

The Nimitz class has a crew of 6012 and cost $8.5 billion.

The UK has built two HMS Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers for £6.5 billion. This is about $8.8 billion. The initial budget was £4,085m for two ships. The financial crisis led to a decision in December 2008 to slow production, delaying the first ship until May 2016 and the second by two years. This decision alone added £1,560m to the cost. Even with the cost overrun, the US could have three HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers for the price of one Gerald Ford Supercarrier.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier will support joint combat aircraft carrying out up to 420 sorties over five days and be able to conduct day and night time operations. The maximum sortie rate is 110 joint combat aircraft sorties in a 24-hour period.

Three carriers could launch 330 joint combat aircraft sorties in a 24-hour period.

The standard airgroup of 40 aircraft includes the Lockheed Martin F-35B joint strike fighter, the EH101 Merlin helicopter and the maritime surveillance and control aircraft (MASC).

The HMS Queen Elizabeth company is 679, rising to 1,600 when the aircrew is added.

Three carriers would have a crew of 4,800. This would be 20% less than one Nimitz.

SOURCES- wikipedia, youtube
Written By Brian Wang,