USS Ford operational control and command will transfer to the Marine Corps during the fourth quarter of 2020. While the Navy has made extensive progress resolving the Ford’s first-in-class problems, the Navy has acknowledged that some of the Ford’s issues cannot be cost-effectively resolved and has determined that the maximum effective use of the carrier can best be made by the Marines.
Lessons learned from the Ford have already been incorporated into modifications to the follow on Ford class carriers and they will achieve full functionality. (1)
What will the Marines do with a carrier? According to the Commandant’s press release,
USS Ford will be modified to operate an air wing of UAVs in support of the Marine’s sea control distributed operations. The UAVs will range in size from small RQ-21 Blackjacks to large Group 5 UAVs similar to the MQ-9 Reaper which will be designed to operate, optionally, as sensor or strike platforms. The Ford will perform surveillance, targeting and strike operations in support of the Marine’s distributed sea control operations. (2)
Well, there you have it. I admit that I was surprised by the Commandant’s announcement of his plan to radically overhaul the Corps but this development has left me stunned and feeling like a fool.
(1)Department of the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations, Memorandum 1-Apr-2020, “USS Ford Transfer Announcement”
(2)Broken Defense website, “Marines To Acquire Navy’s Newest Carrier”, Phil Mymug, 1-Apr-2020,https://brokendefense/april/fools/post.com