Here’s an update on the Ford’s continuing problems as documented in the DOT&E 2017 Annual Report. Some of these problems are stunning and strongly suggest that the Ford is not even capable of routine operations.
· “As of June 2017, the program estimates that EMALS has approximately 455 Mean Cycles Between Critical Failures (MCBCF) in the shipboard configuration, where a cycle represents the launch of one aircraft. While this estimate is above the rebaselined reliability growth curve, the rebaselined curve is well below the requirement of 4,166 MCBCF. At the current reliability, EMALS has a 9 percent chance of completing the 4-day surge and a 70 percent chance of completing a day of sustained operations as defined in the design reference mission without a critical failure.” - This means that the Ford is currently unable to conduct high intensity – meaning war – operations.
· “The reliability concerns are exacerbated by the fact that the crew cannot readily electrically isolate EMALS components during flight operations due to the shared nature of the Energy Storage Groups and Power Conversion Subsystem inverters onboard CVN 78. The process for electrically isolating equipment is time-consuming; spinning down the EMALS motor/generators takes 1.5 hours by itself. The inability to readily electrically isolate equipment precludes EMALS maintenance during flight operations, reducing the system operational availability.” - EMALS doesn’t work reliably and can’t be readily fixed. That’s a disturbing combination. How did a system that can’t be isolated and repaired on the fly ever get past the first conceptual design meeting? This is Navy engineering design incompetence on an almost unimaginable scale. Yes, I understand that the Navy didn’t design the EMALS but they did review it and failed utterly to spot a major, major flaw.
· “In June 2017, the Program Office estimated that the redesigned AAG had a reliability of approximately 19 Mean Cycles Between Operational
Mission Failures (MCBOMF) in the shipboard configuration, where a cycle
represents the recovery of one aircraft. This reliability estimate is well
below the rebaselined reliability growth curve and well below the 16,500 MCBOMF
specified in the requirements documents. In its current design, AAG is unlikely
to support routine flight operations. At the current reliability, AAG has less
than a 0.001 percent chance of completing the 4-day surge and less than a 0.200
percent chance of completing a day of sustained operations as defined in the design
reference mission. For routine operations, AAG would only have a 53 percent
chance of completing a single 12 aircraft recovery cycle and a 1 percent chance
of completing a typical 84 aircraft recovery day.” - Are you kidding me?! A zero
percent chance of conducting war operations and only a fifty/fifty chance of
recovering 12 aircraft???? Who let
this abomination get this far? This,
alone, renders the Ford non-operational even for routine operations.
· “[Dual Band Radar] Current test results reveal problems with tracking and supporting missiles in flight, excessive numbers of clutter/ false tracks, and track continuity concerns. … In limited at-sea operations, DBR exhibited frequent uncommanded system resets, and has had problems with the power supply system.”
There’s a common theme to all these problems and that is concurrency. The Navy, despite every previous failed attempt at concurrent production and development, has stubbornly and stupidly insisted on pushing ahead with concurrent development and production and the results, predictably, are distressing. We now have a commissioned warship that is not only utterly incapable of combat but can’t even conduct routine peacetime flight operations. Some of these problems, like the AAG reliability, are not just slight deviations from specifications – they’re huge! The AAG is, for all practical purposes, non-functional.
The Ford may wind up being less of a warship than the LCS or Zumwalt !