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,