Russia Beats USA for Most Incompetent Aircraft Carrier

The USA and Russia started an informal competition for the most incompetent aircraft carrier. The USA entered its first next-generation Gerald Ford carrier and Russia went with its only aircraft carrier (Admiral Kuznetsov).

The Gerald Ford carrier was “delivered” in 2017 but it is not in good shape. The deployment date is now 2024 which is 6 years after the original plan. The Ford Carrier is a failure with huge radar, elevator, launch and landing problems. Only two of out of eleven elevators were working as of October, 2019. The error rate on launches s 40 times too high.

The Russian carrier (Admiral has had a 210 foot hole in its deck from a 70-ton crane dropping on it and now 12006000 square feet (600 square meters) was burning in a fire. In 2012, the Russian carrier Admiral Kuznetsov lost propulsion on the way home and began drifting in the Bay of Biscay off the coast of France and Spain. Tugs then had to go with the carrier wherever it went from about 2012-2016. Oceangoing tugs such as the Chiker regularly accompany large Russian warships abroad, but keep a low profile on foreign visits.

The Russian carrier was completed in 1991. Kutznetsov has completed only six overseas patrols, and the Syrian visit was not the first troublesome one. In 2009, off the coast of Turkey, a problem with the electrical system led to a fire that killed one crewman. A month later, an attempt to refuel the ship at sea led to a giant oil slick off the coast of Ireland.

Ford Problems

The Ford carrier budget cap limiting the spending to just over $13 billion. This is $2.5 billion over the original $10.5 billion budget.

The current error rates for launching and landing means a major failure every time they try to launch or land all the planes. The failures would take at minimum many hours if not days to fix. Launching means you launch maybe 30-80 planes and then shutdown for repairs. Landing means that you are unable to take back all of the planes you launched. In a combat situation, the planes after a landing system failure would have to go a nearby airbase or get ditched into the ocean.

In January 2019, 20 launch and landing failures from Gerald Ford testing were made public.

The major Ford-class’ bugs will make it inferior to a Nimitz until the bugs are fixed.

Out of 747 shipboard launches performed with the EMALS, ten had suffered critical failures. The target reliability average was one critical failure per 4,166 launch cycles. The launch system is over 50 times less reliable than the target failure rate. Every time they try to launch the full complement of airplanes they will have a critical failure.

In October 2019, only two of the eleven elevators are functional. The Navy acquisition chief announced that work on getting the remainder operational would continue during sea trials.

DOT&E reports the $500 million radar was plagued by extraneous false and close-in dual tracks adversely affecting its performance. The Navy plans to switch back to Nimitz style radar by the third Ford Carrier.

SOURCES -Tass, Wikipedia, US Navy, Auditor Report
Written By Brian Wang,

16 thoughts on “Russia Beats USA for Most Incompetent Aircraft Carrier”

  1. What @Mindbreaker said… Don’t overhype “carrier killing missile.” Don’t take them too lightly either, but the fact is, the US Navy has been defending against high speed objects flying straight at their ships, for quite some time. Don’t underestimate the US Navy.

  2. They are called that to sell more missiles. To date, none have sunk a carrier.

    likewise, it takes waves of perhaps 50-60 in a hit grid to even have a prayer of striking a carrier in a battlegroup from all the point and theater defenses. knowing their proximate location isn’t enough for a high hit probability, as they move quite fast for their size, something like 50 knots would not be exaggerating for emergency maneuvers….which, on an unguided hypersonic missle, trying to hit it from 300 miles away, might as well be a mote. likewise, those same defenses can target satellites. So first strike depends on circumstance and well hidden shore batteries which are less easy to hide than something that can hide on 3/4ths of the Earth.

    the only real threat carriers have truly come up short against is submarines, and there are submarines to hunt those submarines and of those, the US navy still has the quietest or farthest reaching, depending on what you want to measure.

  3. based on their demographics and economy.

    I would add based on their geography.
    Russian, unlike the USA, is not inherently a naval power. Maybe a big navy with transoceanic force projection was a reasonable aim for the USSR, but now that the Russians are back down to their current size, which is largely inland (if you don’t count the ice of the Arctic ocean) then they can, and perhaps should, ignore the oceans except for basic coastal defence.

  4. Donald: So, Putin, so sorry to hear about your big carrier fire.

    Putin: Shhh, it’s next week.

    Donald: Oh, I hadn’t realized it was insured.

  5. Are you serious or just trolling? Do you have any idea how much surface area a CBG covers? The wakes of all those ships would be visible with the naked eye from space. OK, I exaggerate but the point stands that basic surveillance satellites would easily track ACs.

    Again, you need to learn a bit more about these new carrier killer missiles. They’re not called those for no reason.

  6. Originally the Navy didn’t want to fit Electromagnetic Catapults and some of the other high tech gear to the Ford. They preferred to work in the new launch and recovery systems over a longer period of time. Donald Rumsfeld vetoed that approach as it wasn’t transformational enough. The ghost of Rumsfeld continues to haunt the Pentagon, since minus the EMALS system the Ford appears to going through trials very well. EMALS should be fixed by the time the Kennedy is put to sea, but transformation for the sake of having the coolest new gear has proven to be a horrible policy.

  7. CATOBAR carriers are always moving for a reason when launching and recovering planes. This is for a good reason, think it through. STOBAR carriers need to be moving as well if launching and recovering conventional aircraft. For STOVL aircraft being a stationary barge works just fine but STOVL aircraft are highly compromised.

  8. You have to be able to target the carrier in order to hit the carrier. Any platform capable of targeting the carrier will die in very short order if the CBG deems it a threat, satellites included. Hypersonic missiles do not have internal terminal guidance for reasons that should be obvious.

  9. I’m not entirely sure that we need aircraft carriers in the modern world. Today’s planes have ranges far greater than in the 2nd World War, and the only nation able to field a large carrier fleet also has airbases all around the world. Besides this, the future is with drones, and I expect the future of warfare will be scaling down in size rather than scaling up. Besides this we now have vertical take off and landing airplanes that don’t require such a large ship.

    Do large aircraft carriers really have a role in future wars other than creating a juicy target for the enemy?

    The military has a tendency to prepare for the last war.

  10. You might wanna research these carrier killer missiles. They travel at several times the speed of sound and can be launched from over 3000kms away.

    As for anti missile capabilities, we saw how well the best US systems worked in Saudi Arabia against a bunch of sandal wearing rebels. 😉

  11. Maybe the russians have a point of tugging aircraft carriers around like a giant barg….thats really all they are is a giant raft for carrying planes around…. way not treat them like the cargo on a truck or a train… you could have one tug and a train of aircraft carrier bargs following close behind…its probably just as good at moving war equipment around..

  12. Nonsense. The carriers have aircraft to shoot anything close enough to launch your “carrier killers”, interceptor missiles from the carrier, and close-in defense systems. And those close-in systems are very effective unless your missile is crazy fast. And the really fast stuff is very limited in range…so the enemy would meet the ship’s aircraft first, and their weapons.

    There simply is no better tool to bring a couple hundred aircraft to a target fully loaded and well fueled.

  13. The Ford’s bugs will get fixed and the next carriers will benefit from that knowledge. Russia probably won’t have an aircraft carrier ever again … based on their demographics and economy.

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