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Carrier Porn: USS Gerald R. Ford’s Stern in Place

Here’s a great shot of the stern section of the USS Gerald R. Ford being put into place at Huntington Ingalls’ Newport News, Va., shipyard. The Ford is the lead ship of the first new class of American supercarrier since the USS Nimitz entered service in 1975.

The new ship, slated for delivery in 2013, will feature a 21st Century nuclear power plant, electro-magnetic catapults and a redesigned flight deck meant to maximize the amount of take-offs and landings that can be performed.  Check out the massive rudders that are waiting to be joined to the hull.

From a Huntington Ingalls announcement on the Ford’s construction:

Gerald R. Ford is being built using modular construction, a process where smaller sections of the ship are welded together to form large structural units called superlifts. The superlifts are pre-outfitted and lifted into the construction dry dock with the shipyard’s 1,050-metric ton crane.

The final superlift of the ship’s aft end includes the steering gear rooms, electrical power distribution room, store rooms and tanks. At 90 feet long, 120 feet wide and 30 feet deep, the superlift was among the largest of the 162 that comprise Gerald R. Ford.

“This is among the top five largest superlifts in terms of dimension,” said Rolf Bartschi, NNS’ vice president of the CVN 78 Program. “What makes this lift especially impressive is that the unit was erected over the rudders already positioned in the dry dock. Precision is of utmost importance in shipbuilding, and our shipbuilders went to great lengths to construct this lift and successfully hoist it into place.”

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

mpower6428 September 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm

"Gerald R. Ford"…. BHWAAAHAHAHA. he's come a long way from getting hit by an space lazer in "Robocop".

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ben September 15, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Im pretty sure that the ironic SDI lasering of a retired president in robocop 2 was meant to be reagan, not ford…
Since he started the program, and the laser hit his home state of california.

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Dr. Grzlickson September 16, 2011 at 11:45 am

How do I not remember this part? Robocop 2 was the one with the drug lord, when did a laser shoot the President?

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Taggart September 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm

It’s in the first Robocop, and it’s just a news segment. No actual footage of ex-presidents being shot with lasers.

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blight September 15, 2011 at 9:35 pm

In contrast, the PRC is refurbing a Soviet carrier. An especially invasive job when you have to skin a vessel to move bulky electronics into and out of a hull, but this is building from the keel up.

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Christopher Bloom September 15, 2011 at 11:12 pm

I believe multiple former presidents died from the SDI mishap and Ford lived in California after leaving the White House.

I know I'm being a nit picker but Regan died in 03 and Ford in 09 so those former presidents were most likely Clinton, Bush W, and Obama since Robo cop takes place in like the mid 2000's

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Anthony September 15, 2011 at 11:45 pm

One more reason why everyone who doubts America's military dominance of the entire planet should rethink their position. Remember…if we ever actually go to war with china or russia it will go nuclear…it will never happen and if it does i sure wont be around to be commenting about it…so being realistic there is nobody out there (aside from the bugs from Battle of LA) who can challenge the United States on a Conventional level.

Here come the thumbs down from all the "military analysts" that think the J-20 or PAK FA are going to somehow threaten our global integrated defense network, or even get a shot off at a Raptor before their whole squad is wiped out from beyond visual range.

When this carrier is finished its 50+ JSF's could wipe a country like Iran off the military map. Recession or not our country is still Number 1. No Questions Asked

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Enrico September 16, 2011 at 6:06 am

I wonder how many Gerald Ford class carriers you can build unless China will keep borrowing you money…

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STemplar September 17, 2011 at 6:32 pm

I wonder how long China can keep their currency artificially depressed unless they keep buying our T bills? The answer is they can't. No danger of them not buying our debt unless they want to shoot their growth rate in the foot and spike the hell out of their inflation.

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dave September 16, 2011 at 6:36 am

Clearly, when they titled this post 'carrier porn', they knew what they were talking about. Need a Kleenex, son?

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norm September 15, 2011 at 11:47 pm

The day of the battleship ended Dec. 7th 1941. The day of the aircraft carrier will end with the advent of supersonic missles.

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Howe September 16, 2011 at 12:10 am

I disagree, supersonic missiles already exist, and China has a supposed "Carrier Killer" missile. What our carriers need is a missile defense system, using solid state lasers.

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Dave September 16, 2011 at 12:22 am

Not necessarily. Despite budget cuts the Navy is still developing the free electron laser and rail gun to possibly protect ships. Both of those weapons would easily defeat supersonic missiles. The only country with possibly with missiles that could threaten our carriers is China (DF-21) and if they ever did fire one off I'm pretty sure that will lead to all out WWIII. I'm also pretty confident that if WWIII ever occurred, our military has a few tricks up its sleeve in the form of advanced weaponry to counter whatever China has. After all no one had any idea a stealth UH-60 existed before the Abbottabad raid. Who knows what else they could have.

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Cataldo September 16, 2011 at 6:39 am

I hope this USA surprises will be more effective of the "stealth" copter crashed ;)

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ProjectThor September 16, 2011 at 8:19 am

You ever fly with the 160th? You ever see what the Night Stalkers can do with a chopper? I have. Talk about something you know about, Pedro.

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blight September 16, 2011 at 3:36 pm

But if I throw in a wink, it implies I am highly knowledgeable.

Here, have a wink.

;)

blight September 16, 2011 at 1:39 pm

What was the effect of the "stealth copter crash"?

Oh, OBL died, and Pakistan was exposed as a chump. Al Qaeda does not deny the death of their leader (and they haven't in the past when they have been killed or not killed).

Worth it in the long run. You use your tech or you lose it…or why did you spend the money on it in the first place? VIP transport?

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anonymouser September 16, 2011 at 9:58 am

"After all no one had any idea a stealth UH-60 existed before the Abbottabad raid."

Actually, the tin-foil-hat crowd have been ranting their heads off wrt "black" helicopters for nigh on 30 years now :D

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PMI September 16, 2011 at 10:58 am

The USSR was deploying supersonic missiles (AS-4 Kitchen etc) in the early 60's.

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Anthony September 16, 2011 at 1:23 am

Supersonic Missile < Laser traveling 180,000 miles per second…We already have a working solid state laser. Wouldn't be that far of a stretch to build a Phalanx 2.0 by the time China deploys this tech.
We are 20 years ahead of whatever the public see's remember that…Don't believe me? Try to drive your car into our base at Groom Lake

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tiger September 27, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Perhaps that is why they will disable your computer systems instead. They are hacking systems all the time. In cyberwar, they have the edge.

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David September 16, 2011 at 10:43 am

As we move further into micro-tech, are super-carriers the way to go? If ships 1/4 the size of the Ford can project as much power as the Reagan, why not build four smaller, but equally powerful, carriers instead of one larger ship. Power projection then is spread over four times as much area.

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Melcyna September 16, 2011 at 11:46 am

just remember that each of the 1/4 ship have comparatively smaller aircraft complement as well which shrinks the size of power each of the ship can project, and possibly a reduction in size and weight of aircraft that can safely land on it.

aside of that there’s also the problem of actually escorting 4 different carriers…

if you intend to spread them, that equals 4 task force worth of ships to escort them.

While i like the idea of smaller more mobile carriers rather than super carriers, they do come with their own limitations…

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blight September 16, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Can't happen. That means the flight deck will be 1/4th the size of a super carrier…so what's going to fly off the deck? Helicopters?

In any case, what does happen when you shrink a super carrier?

The QE2 is ~65ktons vs the Ford's 100ktons. If I read it right, the QE2 will have ~2k crew vs the 4.5k of the Fords, and the Ford is to carry "75+" aircraft against the QE's 40, which in turn has to be subdivided amongst a variety of types, plus helicopters. That's a serious cut to striking power.

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ew-3 September 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Am really unhappy they named it Ford. When there are teething pains, as will inevitably happen, we'll be hearing the old FORD acronym.

Fix
Or
Repair
Daily

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Roland September 16, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Add 6 to 8 multiple missile lunchers on the sides for the carrier defense.

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Lance September 16, 2011 at 3:18 pm

There better be the next CVN-79 must be another Enterprise. It wouldn't be right for the US Navy not to have a USS Enterprise.

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blight September 16, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Enterprise is one of those horrible Royal Navy ship names. Other than Star Trek, I'm not sure why anybody would be invested in the name in particular.

Why we haven't renamed Gerald Ford to the USS America or the USS United States is more perplexing…

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Mastro September 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm

He's a nice guy- but he wasn't even elected and his WWII duty was rather average.

They should have named it America, US, Saratoga- so many good names unused.

Ford has an airport named after him in Grand Rapids ( I flew out of it)- its mural is unintentionally hilarious.

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Blight September 16, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Reagan had mild WW2 duty. As did Nixon. johnson as well. Kennedy and Bush, less so.

Then again, why should military service correlate to a "good" presidency? It's says a lot about our reverence of the military that Franklin and Adams et al take a backseat to Washington and Von Steuben, followed by the rest like Ethan Allen, Gates, etc

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moose September 16, 2011 at 8:11 pm

USS America is taken: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_America_(LHA-6)

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TLAM Strike September 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm

"Enterprise is one of those horrible Royal Navy ship names. Other than Star Trek, I'm not sure why anybody would be invested in the name in particular. "

1st: You got a problem with Star Trek?!?

2nd: People might be invested in the name because of the service of another ship named Enterprise in a little conflict called World War 2, and the exemplary service of her nuclear powered descendent. Plus there were six other Enterprises in the US Navy dating back to the revolution (The Enterprise from 1799 had a very long career and won several important victories).

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moose September 16, 2011 at 8:12 pm

CVN-79 is USS JFK. CVN-80 may be the next Enterprise. There have been gaps between Enterprises before.

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Hunter78 September 17, 2011 at 9:15 am

"When this carrier is finished its 50+ JSF's could wipe a country like Iran off the military map."

The question is not whether we can wipe them out- it's whether they or a smaller power could wipe out this carrier.

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Kski September 17, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Chicoms one. US of A one, plus the 11 others we have proucly built over the years.

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