New U.S. Aircraft Carriers Built with Cutting Edge Technology
by Theodore B. Morrison, age 13
The USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)—the first ship in a new class of aircraft supercarriers in the US Navy—is a top-of-its-class ship with cutting-edge technology developed in the modern age. The carrier will advance American naval capability and is expected to be deployed later this year. But what makes this carrier different from the previous Nimitz-class carriers?
Carriers are important to the armed forces because these ships are used in both warfare and humanitarian aid. Being able to deploy large numbers of bombers and fighters in hostile environments can alter the outcome of a battle in a game-changing manner.
Carriers can also serve as a mobile, hard-to-hit, base of operations to plan out a precise strike on an enemy position or to plot out a rescue mission for the survivors of a natural disaster. Carriers can also serve as a transport for troops. These capabilities are important for any nation in possession of such a ship.
The Ford-class carriers’ arsenal of abilities is extensive. The aircraft it holds include manned fighters and bombers, and unmanned air vehicles. These aircraft will be launched using an electromagnetic system instead of the Nimitz-era steam-powered catapults. The new carrier will include an expanded deck, allowing more aircraft to deploy per day.
The Ford-class carriers, in addition to having a wide capability for aircraft deployment, are more durable compared to the Nimitz class. In a recent test, the US Navy deliberately detonated a 40,000-pound bomb next to the USS Gerald R. Ford. Upon inspection, the carrier was unscathed. The Navy plans to detonate two more bombs in closer proximity to the carrier to test the carrier's battle readiness. Other improvements to durability include increased electrical production, use of fiber-optics, better corrosion control, and new lightweight materials.
[Source: US Navy, CBS News]