Monday, March 23, 2020

Ford Design Considerations

Reader ‘Joe Taxpayer’ brought to my attention a fascinating YouTube video showing a presentation by Capt. Tal Manvel, USN (Ret),  the program manager of the Ford during the design period.  He provides an accounting of the design process and the reasoning behind the various decisions.  His presentation is quite informative and, within limits, brutally honest.  I say, ‘within limits’ because he clearly has enormous bias that prevents him from seeing some of the glaring conceptual problems with the Ford.  On the other hand, he is quite candid about some mistakes that he made. 

Here’s some of the interesting points that were presented.  All quotes are taken from the video presentation noted in reference 1.

The Ford design (the Future Carrier, at that point) began with a ‘core/critical capability’ statement.  Manvel believes this is what enabled the Ford to succeed (succeed???? see … bias!) as opposed to the LCS which never had that and that’s why the LCS has problems, in his opinion.

I would say this is a point of departure.  LCS never had this and that’s why it’s the problem that it is.

Manvel stated that the E-2 Hawkeye was the key to the air wing and the carrier’s effectiveness and it can scan and control a 250 mile diameter area.  This point has come up frequently in our discussions with some commenters believing that airborne radars have ridiculously large and precise coverage areas.  We see from this that the coverage area is actually fairly limited.

USS Ford - Flawed Design Process

The original Analysis Of Alternatives (AOA) looked at small, medium, and large carriers with air wings of 40, 60, and 80 aircraft (types and numbers were not specified).

Initially, very serious consideration was given to a STOVL carrier design.  STOVL was ultimately dropped from consideration for two reasons:
  • The lack of E-2 airborne command and control (again emphasizing the importance that is placed on the E-2; this should be a warning to the UK and other small/light carrier schemes!)
  • The F-35B was determined to have half the range and half the payload
We threw out STOVL only for two reasons:  no E-2 … and also this - and this is what I learned about STOVL – STOVL [has] half the range, half the payload.  Remember that about STOVL and [when] you see your next Marine Corps aviator, remind him of that.

This should be an informative piece of data for all the F-35B and ‘light carrier’ proponents out there.  While manufacturer’s claims for the F-35B are grandiose the reality is that under actual operational conditions the F-35B is a severely ‘crippled’ aircraft and the light carrier concept is extremely limited in capability.

Referring to carrier design, Mr. Manvel noted that flight deck design was paramount.

That’s where you start with aircraft carriers – making sure you can land all that you launch.

Air wing size was predicated on defensive aircraft needs.  In a high threat environment (high Battle Space Dominance, BSD – why does the Navy always feel the need to make up fancy terms for simple concepts?), like a conflict with China, it was determined that 20 F/A aircraft in fighter configuration were required for defensive needs.  A medium threat environment, like the British encountered in the Falklands, required 14 aircraft.  Of course, tankers, EW, and AEW are also required.  This defensive needs analysis eliminated the 40-aircraft air wing because it didn’t have the resources for strike operations AND defensive needs.  Again, this eliminates the ever popular light carriers from consideration.

The program used a Desert Storm operations model to evaluate and compare medium and large carriers and based the conclusions strictly on sortie rates.  This is a completely invalid approach since this is not even remotely how carriers will fight in a peer war.  This smacks of a pre-ordained conclusion and a search to find a model that would support that conclusion.  This also illustrates the program’s obsession with sortie rate, for unknown reasons.  No one who has studied carrier combat operations would consider sortie rate to be a very important factor and yet it was the overriding factor in the Ford decision making.  This demonstrates that the people involved in the decision making, and Navy leadership in general, have no clue about actual combat requirements.  Baffling.

Note:  GAO has demonstrated that Ford’s sortie generation rate claim is invalid and fraudulent because of the unrealistic assumptions used to calculate the rate.

Manvel claimed only an 8% difference in cost between medium and large carriers and only 13% difference if the air wing is included.  This seems highly suspect and it should be noted that the medium carrier that was used for comparison was also nuclear powered which is not how anyone else compares large carriers to smaller carriers.  In such comparisons, the smaller carriers are, inevitably, conventionally powered.  Again, this seems like data being manipulated to support a pre-ordained conclusion.

The minimal cost differential was explained by noting that all the ancillary equipment (catapults, arresting gear, radars, maintenance shops, etc. were identical and, therefore, cost the same.  This is why ComNavOps’ ‘smaller’ carrier design sacrifices some equipment like elevators, catapults, and radars – and a nuclear reactor!

From other data sets that were presented, it was noted that the cost differential between the large nuclear carrier and a medium conventional carrier was 36% - a much more substantial difference even without any sacrificed equipment.

The choice of nuclear power for the Ford was based on two factors: unrefueled range and a claimed 3x increase in generated electrical power for nuclear.

Manning was identified as far and away the largest factor in the 50 year life cycle cost estimate.  In light of the recent manning post that I did, someone is going to have to explain how that statement can be true.  Interestingly, manning costs are broken down into direct and indirect costs, whatever those are, and each contributes around half the total cost.  Clearly, someone is playing accounting games.

The Ford’s 50 year life cycle cost in FY99 dollars was estimated to be $27B.

Nuclear manning was determined per the following (which should inform some recent discussions about a the nuclear ‘penalty’ in extra manning!):
  • Enterprise had 8 reactors and required >180 watchstanders.
  • Nimitz has 2 reactors and requires >100 watchstanders.
  • Ford has 2 reactors and requires <25 watchstanders.
Clearly, there is no great manning penalty for today’s nuclear plants.

Mr. Manvel acknowledged that he made a mistake by consolidating and eliminating radars and replacing them with the Dual Band Radar.  It created a software system that was simply too complex and unnecessarily capable and, indeed, the Navy has now abandoned it.  He acknowledges a $1B overrun due to this mistake.

“The ship’s radar is too robust.”

This is what ComNavOps said from day one.  A carrier, surrounded by several Aegis escorts as well as E-2 Hawkeyes and with only fairly short range defensive weapons, just doesn’t need a highly capable radar.  In fact, in combat the carrier will generally operate under EMCON and not use any radar.  Therefore, any basic radar will do!

Manvel acknowledges,

The radar on the ship, on an aircraft carrier, isn’t the most important one, it’s that [radar] in the E-2.”

For the Marine Corps LHA ‘light carrier’ proponents, Manvel had this to say.

“This idea that an amphibious assault ship can replace carriers is nonsense.”

The very large port side, aft sponson is for a plasma arc trash disposal unit.  ????

A stealthy carrier design was developed but it contained several severe operational problems imposed by the stealth requirements.  He presented a small scale model of the concept.  This was incredibly fascinating all by itself.

Manvel did not want the Advanced Arresting Gear but NavAir forced it into the design.

In summary, as I noted, the entire design effort seemed pre-ordained and designed to produce the pre-ordained result.  It seems as if the Navy wanted a bigger carrier going into the design process and made sure that every comparison and analysis supported that desire. 

There was no relevant operational analysis performed and when the only factor considered was sortie rate, obviously the bigger carrier comes out on top – but that’s not how carriers fight.  I’ve wondered from the start how any analysis could conclude that shrinking air wings (nearing half the size of early Nimitz wings!) leads to a larger carrier.  Well, this fixation on sortie rate would appear to be the explanation.  It’s telling, and quite disturbing, that the only operational analysis – flawed as it was – was for the carrier, itself.  None was performed for the air wing and the types of missions it would need to perform in war.  Had that been done, the entire Ford program would, presumably, have come to a crashing halt when it was realized that neither the F-18 nor F-35 were capable of performing future peer war combat missions (both lack the range, endurance, and payload).  The entire value of a carrier is its air wing.  To fail to analyze and account for that air wing is professional malpractice.

Capt. Manvel’s biases are on full display in the presentation.  Of course, bias, alone, does not mean the holder of the bias is necessarily wrong, it just means that the holder is blind to alternatives.  In this case, some of Manvel’s biases are correct but some are wrong – badly wrong.  That he considers the Ford to be a success demonstrates the depth and scope of his biases!

Regardless of the above, the presentation is fascinating and informative.  It sheds a great deal of light on some of the baffling Ford design decisions.  I urge you to view the presentation for yourself.


(1)CAPT Tal Manvel, USN (Ret), the first Navy Program Manager for Future Carriers, discusses designing the Ford-class aircraft carrier on 7 January 2015 at the US Naval Academy Museum's Shifley Lecture Series


  1. I wonder how much it would cost to build updated conventional Kitty Hawks?

    How capable would they be?

  2. "Manvel claimed only an 8% difference in cost between medium and large carriers and only 13% difference if the air wing is included. This seems highly suspect and it should be noted that the medium carrier that was used for comparison was also nuclear powered which is not how anyone else compares large carriers to smaller carriers. In such comparisons, the smaller carriers are, inevitably, conventionally powered. Again, this seems like data being manipulated to support a pre-ordained conclusion."

    I'm reminded of the Aircraft Carrier Medium during the Ford and Carter eras, where the CVV was supposed to be smaller and cheaper than the Nimitz-class CVNs, but according to the USNs studies would have cost 1.5 billion dollars, while a repeaat JFK would larger and more capable while only costing 100 million dollars more. Or so the story goes, anyhow.

  3. I think you are talking about the same video that I have referenced here before.

    One thing that I thought was very interesting was that the sortie rate argument was used to compare what you got with a single Ford to another carrier, or multiple Fords to the same number of Nimitzes or other carriers. This ignores what I think is a very significant consideration. At the cost of a Ford, we just can't build as many of them as you can of something else. So if you're even going to do the sortie rate comparison, maybe it ought to be two Fords versus three Nimitzes, or a Ford and two Kitty Hawks, because those are about the dollar tradeoffs. Also given the cost of the Fords, how likely is it that we are ever going to have enough to be able to have two or more of them in close enough proximity to conduct coordinated operations?

    1. "I think you are talking about the same video that I have referenced here before."

      If so, I apologize for not having viewed it. Hopefully, you'll understand that I get dozens of recommendations for videos and reports and books every week and I have a finite supply of time! Sometimes, what I look at or read has to do with whether I've got spare time at that particular moment! All I can say is, better late than never?

      This is also why I discourage people from simply posting links with no analysis. If people add some commentary or analysis to go with a link, I'm much more likely to view/read it.

      Again, sorry!

    2. No worries. I thought I gave a link when I mentioned it before, but maybe I didn’t. Anyway, you’ve seen it now and posted a link so others can see it and discuss. It at least explained some of the thinking behind the decisions they made. I don’t agree with all of it, but at least we kind of know why they did what they did.

    3. "at least we kind of know why they did what they did. "

      Yeah, it's kind of like understanding why a bank robber decided to commit a crime. You may learn his reasoning but, in the end, he still committed a crime!

    4. Agree. It was useful to understand what they were thinking, but it raises questions about why they were thinking it.

    5. "raises questions about why they were thinking it."

      I think that's fairly obvious. We have no serving naval person who has ever participated in a naval war/battle OR A REALISTIC EXERCISE. Thus, no one in the Navy has any idea what characteristics make for a good ship design! Worse - and this is the truly disappointing part - none seem to have studied history. I haven't participated in a naval battle, either, but I've studied history and learned the lessons from those who did. Why the navy refuses to study its own history is a mystery to me.

      So, if you have no experience or study for lessons to draw on then you'll design for all kinds of non-combat reasons - which is exactly what they did.

  4. CNO, one thing that I would like you to clarify if you could please. You note, as above, that a single relatively small carrier (compared to Nimitz/Ford), which in previous discussions has included vessels the size of the RN QE class (assume cats and traps), is severely lacking in aircraft capacity, and capability more generally.

    However, you have also noted that in wartime it is extremely unlikely that a carrier would operate on its own, instead operating in a carrier group bringing together multiple vessels.

    As such, where is the crossover point for useful size/capability when aircraft carriers are operating as a unified task force? Or is this not a useful question?

    I ask because a lot of the capability/size discussion seems predicated on the assumption of single carrier operations, which is not unreasonable for what are functionally colonial wars undertaken by a fleet deploying on predictable schedules intended to maximize predictable useful lifetime of a limited size asset.


    1. You ask a good question. Here's some thoughts:

      - A ski jump carrier (QE, for example) is incapable of operating effective AEW aircraft. Such carriers generally also lack EW, ASW, and tanker aircraft. That makes such carriers ineffective in combat.

      - Yes, carriers will operate in groups. In theory, a smaller, limited carrier could still contribute to a group's combat effectiveness enough to be worthwhile. HOWEVER, as you noted in the post, STOVL aircraft (including the F-35B) have half the range and half the half the payload. That doesn't contribute much that's useful in high end combat. Thus, a smaller carrier brings little to the group and may wind up being a detriment because of the need to protect it, refuel it, and rearm it.

      - If a smaller carrier could bring useful aircraft in reasonable numbers (like my proposed 'small' carrier) then a smaller carrier would be a positive contributor to the group. It would have to bring the same aircraft that the large carriers have (F-18 and F-35C). None of the 'light' carrier designs do this.

      Does that answer your question?

    2. Whats the USN current 'effective ASW' aircraft ?
      Isnt that left to the helicopters , just like on destroyers and small carriers

      As for LR ASW, arent we back to WW2 but with the P-8 instead of the Catalina

    3. "HOWEVER, as you noted in the post, STOVL aircraft (including the F-35B) have half the range and half the half the payload. That doesn't contribute much that's useful in high end combat. Thus, a smaller carrier brings little to the group and may wind up being a detriment because of the need to protect it, refuel it, and rearm it."

      @ComNavOps: Back in 2016, CSBA's study of the Navy's Future Force Assessment suggested using a light carrier with 20 F-35Bs (which is the number that Manvel offers for defensive needs in a high threat environment) as an augment to the CVN: the F-35Bs would provide defensive BARCAP while the CVN's air wing (F-35Cs, UAVs, Super Hornets) would be used for offensive tasks. The argument was that in the air, the F-35B has kinematic parity with the F-35C, and the range and payload limitations were less of an issue given that air-to-air missile loads are much lighter than strike loads, and that the F-35Bs would be operating within range of CVN-based tanker support in the BARCAP mission.

      Now, your mileage may vary with how well thought out CSBA's proposal is, but it occurs to me that this might be a niche that could be filled by allies operating in concert with the US, such as Japan or South Korea, which are working up their own light carriers with double-digit air wings (although I suspect that Japan is using Izumo and Kaga as stepping stones to proper CATOBAR carriers of their own, perhaps something in the Midway size).

    4. "CSBA's study … suggested using a light carrier with 20 F-35Bs"

      Unless CSBA has access to classified/restricted data about actual operational F-35B loads, they're guessing right along with the rest of us! A 'light' carrier is still going to cost several billion dollars unless it's configured and built as I've suggested which I'm sure CSBA isn't proposing. Therefore, you'll have a $8B(?) carrier to operate 20 aircraft. Does that seem even remotely cost effective?

      20 defensive aircraft was the requirement to defend a SINGLE carrier, not a group. The Ford process only ever considered a single carrier operation. If even one of the light carrier's aircraft are lost or just down for maintenance, they fall below the minimum.

      The Ford assessment of 20 defensive aircraft did not appear to consider actual defensive tactics. You'll recall that the F-14 Tomcat was part of a very wide ranging, layered defense where the F-14 would operate at many hundreds of miles from the carrier. The F-35B simply doesn't have the endurance or legs to fill that role.

      Lacking any support aircraft, a light carrier would have to draw scarce and valuable EW, AEW, and tanker aircraft from the rest of the group, thus lessening the resources available for the strike actions of the group. The light carrier becomes a drain on the group instead of an asset.

      And the problems go on ...

    5. "Lacking any support aircraft, a light carrier would have to draw scarce and valuable EW, AEW, and tanker aircraft from the rest of the group, thus lessening the resources available for the strike actions of the group. The light carrier becomes a drain on the group instead of an asset."

      Having read CSBA's study, the suggestion was to use an America-class LHA as the light carrier, which, at the time of the study, was 3.4 billion USD in FY15 dollars. The rationale is that the CVL would be operating with the CVN, and thus would use the AEW and tanking provided by the CVN while the CVN would dedicate its entire air wing to the strike.

      While you make a valid point that the CVL's defensive BARCAP force would draw these assets away from the strike action, if the CVN was maintaining an organic BARCAP force, it would still have to allocate AEW and tanking support that force - that drain on resources would still happen anyway.

      With all that said, I disagree with CSBA: I think if there was a need for some additional 20-odd fighters, it'd make more sense to carry them on the CVN, rather than on a CVL escorting the CVN - if for no other reason than command and control, because trying to coordinate a CVN and a CVL dozens of miles apart means radio, which means emissions, even with burst transmissions and other measures. Can't beat pulling the squadron commanders into the same briefing room for emissions control!

  5. Hi CNO,
    Given the recent post & interesting discussion of the Marines, it may be interesting to re-visit that in light of recent comments ( - its hardly a drastic cut-back in numbers, but it does align with a few comments that were made in this forum.
    My take on it is that they at least express a CONOPS clearly-ish: "developing the ability to hop from island to island in the western Pacific to bottle up the Chinese fleet".
    Its not much, but that would rationalise them ditching the equipment with large logistical footprints like tanks, planes & going to more people-on-the-ground. I dont know if this would be a successful doctrine, but I think I understand the logic.
    Still leaves the question as to how those people get to the island and how they survive being on a small stationary target long enough to be useful.

    1. You're quite right that the logic is consistent with the apparent concept. What's missing is any supporting evidence that the concept can work. I get the feeling that no one has wargamed this out in any realistic way.

      The Commandant seems to have a very clear idea of what he wants. The question is whether what he wants is doable. I don't think it is.

      I've got a relevant post coming tomorrow that you might find interesting.

  6. The biggest conceptual problem in the design of the Ford's is that the put the cart before the horse. They assumed sea control and skipped ahead to the exploitation phase. When you own the sea the main issue is putting ordinance (sorties for air wingers)on land.

  7. Does the Ford even work? Last year I was happy to hear the new SecNav state the Ford would go to sea in January 2020 to validate EMALS and the new arresting gear was finally working. I expected a full CAW to embark for a month or more, but they just sent out a few test aircraft.

    No news of fully loaded aircraft launches either (with bombs and full fuel). Then in March the SecNav says the Ford class will end with the Ford and the three under construction. Did EMALS fail yet again?

    1. In my opinion, that's just ass covering talk by saying that they're not sure what the needs of the future 2030s carrier will be, or what it will look like. I would be very surprised though, if the form factor changes much from the Fords.

    2. I read that they have 1000+ launches now. The question is whether the amount of failures ever dropped to an acceptable level. As far as stopping the Fords at three... Its painfully obvious that its just unaffordable, especially when its not functional. Whether theres a sweeping change in platforms or just a Nimitz restart or (??) is anyone's guess. I dint even think the Navy has a clue right now...

    3. DOT&E noted that the Navy has stopped providing launch/arrestment data to DOT&E.

  8. "Mr. Manvel acknowledged that he made a mistake by consolidating and eliminating radars and replacing them with the Dual Band Radar.  It created a software system that was simply too complex and unnecessarily capable and, indeed, the Navy has now abandoned it.  He acknowledges a $1B overrun due to this mistake."
    “The ship’s radar is too robust.”

    Not sure if interpreting correctly but implies that Navy incurred an overspend $1 billion on Raytheon's software/hardware for Ford's SSDS, Ship Self-Defense System, combat management system to interface with Ford's Dual Band Radars, SPY-3 and SPY-4, the DBR radars funded out of the Zumwalt budget which uses a new oddball combat management system, the Raytheon TSCE, Total Ship Computing Environment, instead of Aegis. Understood Navy specified the use of the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) middleware software with the TSCE, it would appear from cost of Ford's SSDS that Raytheon was unable to re-use CORBA software? Its said CORBA has scope and flexibility but its slow and bloated, now more common to use SOAP and REST/JSON as good enough.

    Raytheon last year lost the Navy support contract for SSDS to Lockheed, possible $600+ million plus, Raytheon lodged a protest and contract on hold.

    DOT&E Jan report on the Ship Self Defense for DDG 1000, that TSCE and SPY-3 under testing with SDTS trials ship resulted in unacceptably low performance in controlling SM-2s and ESSM missiles.

  9. "Interestingly, manning costs are broken down into direct and indirect costs, whatever those are"

    Sorry kinda busy did not read comments if any one else answered. The Navy seems to call manpower - Direct, Indirect and Overhead.

    Re CBO: Here

    1. This is analogous to saying that it requires 17,000 people to operate one automobile. The 17,000 people are mechanics, gas station operators, gas refinery employees, oil drillers, police that direct traffic and enforce traffic laws, road maintenance personnel, and so on. It's true, in a certain sense, but not what any common sense person would consider relevant to the manning needed to run a car - the driver.

      The Navy seems to be, in essence, taking all of its costs and dividing by the number of ships. That's correct in a very specific and limited sense but not really relevant to discussing operating costs of a ship in any useful sense.

      The Navy is clearly playing accounting games with manning discussions for their own purposes. Not surprising given the accounting games they play with every other aspect of the Navy.

    2. Looking at those manpower numbers from the force structure analysis prompts two questions on my part:

      1) Could we cut the overhead in hslf, and maybe transfer part of the savings to combat (and maybe some to support too)? ComNavOps, there are your excess admirals and excess staffs.

      2) How many of the active duty slots could we transfer to reserve slots That cost about 1/4 to 1/3 as much?

      If we could do those two things, I think we can get far more bang for far less buck.

  10. edit quickly not sure if that is all employees and discriminates between uniforms and civil service bound by oath or includes contractors (who might be overhead?)

  11. CAPT Manvel really disses the small carrier idea.

    ComNavOps, I know you and I have disagreed on the Lightning Carrier issue, but here’s where I’m coming from.

    We’ve got these big LHAs/LHDs that cost us $3 billion plus to build, and that are basically useless as amphibs. There is no viable amphib CONOPS that starts 25-50 miles out at sea, and we are not going to risk bringing them in closer. You can’t get the heavy stuff in by air, boats take too long, and the attrition rate would kill you—all of which you’ve pointed out. If they have some positive value in a CVL/CVE role, and the CSBA study suggests one viable role for them, then that’s better than what they are now. And they and their sunk costs and operating costs are going to be around for a while.

    If we want to maintain an amphib lift capability, go back to a conventional amphib squadron—LPA/LKA, LST, LPD/LSD, LPH, and maybe a smaller and cheaper LHA/LHD like the Spanish Juan Carlos. The five of them cost about what a US LHA/LHD costs these days, and much less than an LHA/LHD and LPD combo that would carry about the same troops and cargo. They have multiple ways to get troops and equipment ashore, and they could be operated to execute a more conventional amphib CONOPS. That also gets rid of the current LPDs, which I would propose converting to the ABM ships the HII has proposed for that hull, and that would make use of the existing hulls.

    I realize that the converted LHA/LHD capabilities as a jump carrier are very much limited. But I wonder if there’s some way to give them an angled deck and cats and traps. If we compare Makin Island to HMS Ark Royal (the one from the 50s through 70s):

    Displacement: MI 40,500T, AR 36,800T as built, 53,950 as modified
    Length: MI 843 ft, AR 804 ft
    Beam: MI 104 ft, AR 112 ft.
    Draft: MI 27 ft, AR 33 ft
    Propulsion: MI CODLAG 70,000 shp, AR Steam 152,000 shp
    Top speed: MI 28 kt, AR 31.5

    As modified, AR had an 8.5 degree angled deck, 2 cats, and carried 38 aircraft, up to F-4 and Blackburn Buccaneer size (60,000 pounds).

    I don't pretend to be a naval engineer, so I have no idea about the feasibility or expense (which I think would be considerable) of this idea. I would presume that adding an angled deck would add weight to the LHA/LHD, just as it did for AR, and that would slow it down considerably. I’m not sure what could be done, at what cost, to upgrade the power plants to offset this. And without steam power plants (at least on the newer ones) the cats would probably have to me EMALS. At the end of the day, you might be better off building your Midway-sized small carrier. But what do we do with the LHAs/LHDs if we go that route?

    One place where I think CAPT Manvel and the Ford conceptual design process got it wrong was making all their comparisons based on one Ford versus one something else. But if the something else costs half has much, it would seem that the comparison should be one Ford to two of something else—or three if a third as much. As far as the lifecycle cost numbers, I would not put a lot of faith in their reliability. The Navy has never been very good at coming up with those kinds of numbers accurately. I also question the use of sortie rates as the defining variable. As you note, carriers don’t fight that way. Moreover, his target range of 120-160 sorties per day is way higher than any of 6 carriers (2 in Red Sea, 4 in the Arabian Gulf/Sea) were able to obtain in Desert Storm (ranging from 71.9 to 106.4) per the RAND study of future carrier options at

    1. " You can’t get the heavy stuff in by air, boats take too long,..."
      The LCAC can carry 60 t and at reduced payload can do 70 kts and travel over the beach/estuary to an inland location. The idea of dropping off troops and equipment at the waters edge isnt viable

    2. " his target range of 120-160 sorties per day is way higher than any of 6 carriers ... were able to obtain in Desert Storm"

      The carriers in DS were NOT trying to attain maximum sortie rates. They were just slotted into the daily air tasking order that was distributed to every air-capable base in the region. Their sorties were limited by air space deconfliction, politics (the AF didn't particularly want any Navy aviation contribution!), coalition tanker availability, distance to targets, etc. It was NOT a max sortie effort.

      The Ford-DS sortie rate comparison was like comparing a sprinter to some guys out for a good effort jog when the joggers aren't trying to run their fastest.

    3. "If they have some positive value in a CVL/CVE role"

      'Some positive value' is not the right criteria. The real question is not whether they have one iota more positive than negative value, it's whether the crew (a thousand), fuel, supplies, aircraft, required escorts, and required logistic support could be put to better use in some other form. The answer is that I can think of much better ways to use all those things than in the form of a pseudo-carrier that, at best, is a very slight positive for a group.

    4. "The LCAC can carry 60 t"

      Only in an uncontested scenario. This isn't my opinion, this is Navy/Marine doctrine. The LCAC has been deemed non-survivable and relegated to follow on logistic support. If the assault is secure enough for the LCAC to operate, then you probably don't need 'heavy stuff'.

  12. Interesting apparently even the toilets on the Ford don't work.

  13. Add apparently from this GAO report.

    Why aircraft style toilets anyway?

  14. To add why? I was on the Q marry 2 across the Atlantic and it had no problem supplying water for regular toilets and exceeding the discharge regulations of of both the UK and US for waste... I can see airplane toilets in a corvette but in Nuclear powered Aircraft carrier.

  15. @CNO "The very large port side, aft sponson is for a plasma arc trash disposal unit. ????"

    Here you go. High tech waste disposal. Break down the waste to simple molecules and discharge the vapor. I'm guessing it is easier than compacting the waste and waiting till you are in port to dispose of the waste. It might save on space on the ship devoted to waste storage.

    The solution to pollution (sewage) used to be dilution but that is frowned upon now and the US Navy doesn't want anyone to say they aren't the most environmentally woke navy on the planet.

    The solution to the toilet problem is fairly straight forward if the problem is accurately described in the Bloomberg article. There appears to be a maximum number of toilets that can be flushed at any one time without causing waste to hang up in the pipes. The switches to control the flushing of the toilets need to be networked and only flush toilets if there is sufficient suction in the system to clear the pipes fully. The toilets would flush on their own accord after use. It would hopefully save $400,000 a pop.

  16. How could the Ford Flush Fiasco been avoided? Take a page from professional sports and do a test. Design the layout and flush a bunch of toilets.

  17. Evolutions in U.S. Navy shipboard Sewage and Graywater programs.

    It appears the vacuum systems are used to minimize the volume of the holding tanks needed while operating within 3 miles of the shore. The paper also talks about some future possibilities for the graywater treatment.

    There is an interesting tidbit in the paper about waterless/no flush urinals being better for ships because the scale that develops in the pipes can be removed with a water flush.
    The fact that the Ford class is designed with no urinals prevents the use of this technology. The lack of urinals may also be a contributing factor to the lack of sufficient vacuum problem. Every micturition is handled the same as defecation and is increasing the demand on the vacuum system.


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