To the shock of some financial observers, the U.S. Navy has agreed to terms for a second Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier from Huntington Ingalls. The contractor is the Navy’s only source for nuclear-powered carriers.
The construction of the first ship (in a planned four-ship series) has ballooned in costs beyond congressional expectations. Total price tags have been estimated at around $14 billion. This second ship, to be named the USS John F. Kennedy, has been commissioned with contracts totaling $4.3 billion. The price tag will grow, but Navy leadership stands by a current estimate of $11.5 billion or less.
High Costs to Keep Navy’s Aircraft Carriers Afloat
The Department of Defense has already spent nearly $5 billion on R&D for the Ford class. With the design and planning largely taken care of, the Navy decided to forge ahead with the additional carriers.
The Navy has been operating with fewer than the congressionally mandated 11 aircraft carriers it must employ. Despite calls for smaller or fewer carriers, military leadership has decided to go the current route — enormous, nuclear-powered carriers with a variety of advanced features. Following the retirement of a carrier in 2014, the two new Ford-class ships will bring the Navy’s total number of carriers back to 11.
The Navy can employ GSA-approved equipment to help streamline operations on aircraft carriers. Military and DoD truck and trailer moving vehicles can help move and relocate aircraft, transport maintenance carts, and haul heavy tanks of jet fuel around an aircraft carrier.
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