Try to imagine 4.5 thousand. townspeople. They have not only their own hospital, but also two nuclear reactors, capable of producing almost a quarter of a thousand megawatts of power. And armed to the teeth. And to spark imagination, too – the city can … move. At a speed of more than 50 km / h! This is how the aircraft carrier “Gerald R. Ford” can be described in a nutshell. The cost of its construction (started in 2009 and ended in 2017) is $13 billion.
Ford went to sea. It will participate in maneuvers lasting several weeks, in which the fleets of several allied countries, including Canada and France, will participate. In the Atlantic, exercises will be held, during which the capabilities in anti-aircraft defense, submarine warfare and anti-mine measures will be tested.
As Admiral Daryl Cuddell, commander of the US Naval Forces Command, said, the entire “Ford” strike group will go to the Atlantic. It is to integrate with allies and the United States and “demonstrate multi-domain lethal capabilities”. The goal, the admiral said, is to increase capabilities and build relationships and trust among allies.
The strike group, in addition to the carrier itself, consists of protection ships such as missile cruisers, destroyers and frigates. In addition to submarines providing undersea protection, as well as logistic ships and support units. The striking power of such a team is enormous.
The ship will certainly stand out among other units involved in the maneuver. 335 meters long, 78 at its widest point (landing surface), with a displacement of 100,000 cubic metres. Ton – a new quality “Ford” in the US armed forces. This can be expected after the announcement of the so-called IOC (Initial Operational Capacity), the ship will now be certified. The goal is to have FOC – full operational capability.
This is the first supercarrier with electromagnetic slingshots (Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System – EMALS), which is assumed to be 25 percent. Commander Wiesław Goździewicz, an expert on the legal aspects of NATO operations at the operational and strategic levels, says O2.pl.
He adds that the use of EMALS reduces the need for pressurized steam tanks. Thanks to this, it was possible to find additional space under the deck for hangars / armories. Fujian – the newest of the three tankers of the Chinese Navy – will also be equipped with a similar system.
In addition to saving space, it also increases the capabilities of the ship and the machinery based on it. How Described by Wirtualna PolskaThe use of modern technological solutions and systems allows up to 240 flights per day from the ship. For comparison, with the older generation of Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, a maximum of 160 flights per day could be made.
“Ford” will also have a strong offensive power. Even an entire air wing can be deployed aboard an aircraft carrier. In greatest development – up to 90 machines, including, as Cdr Goździewicz explains, four squadrons of multi-role fighters F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, and one squadron F/A/18G Growler (wireless electronic warfare version) . In practice, this means that there may be more attack aircraft on board the Ford than the entire Polish air force.
Ultimately, the F-35C’s fifth-generation fighters are slated to replace the Super Hornets. These are machines in the on-board version that will only be used by the USA. It has the highest lift capacity and the widest internal weapons chambers of all versions of the F-35. Added to this are the ship’s missile defense systems and the famous Phalanx CIWS robotic system, designed to destroy missiles and aircraft at short distances.
In short, the “Gerald Ford” is a mobile “small army”, but it is better equipped than many full-fledged air forces. The Americans plan to build ten such units. According to o2.pl, naval journalist Wojciech Budziłło, two more are under construction (USS John Fitzgerald Kennedy and USS Enterpise), the name of the fourth ship has already been chosen. It is to be called the USS Doris Miller – in honor of the first black American sailor from World War II, decorated with a Navy cross.
See also: The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower passed through the Suez Canal
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