Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971


USS Gerald R. Ford..21st Century’s Super ..Aircraft Carrier

The USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) aircraft carrier, with its embarked carrier air wing, is a preeminent asset for maintaining maritime superiority across the oceans. The aircraft carrier, combined with the ships in an accompanying carrier strike group, is capable of carrying out missions across the full spectrum of military operations from military action to humanitarian assistance. Built on the legacy of both today’s Nimitz-class aircraft carriers and the investments the U.S. Navy has made since World War II, the Ford-class carrier is flexible and adaptable and will be the most advanced ship on the sea. 
Ford-class ships will succeed the Nimitz-class carriers that have played the first-responder role in crises and conflicts for over 40-years. These ships deliver lethality, survivability, and joint interoperability, along with unmatched versatility and compatibility with continuing joint-force transformation. Ford class is capable of carrying the Navy’s most advanced aircraft, such as the F-35C Lightning II; F/A-18E/F Super Hornet; E-2D Advanced Hawkeye; EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft; MH-60R/S helicopters and unmanned air vehicles. Adding to its versatility, Ford class can recover and launch various Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft flown by the United States Marine Corps. 
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the first new design for an aircraft carrier since USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and is named to honour the 38th President of the United States, Gerald Ford. The ship is equipped with two newly designed reactors and has 250 per cent more electrical capacity than previous carriers. The improvements will allow the ship to load weapons, launch aircraft faster than ever before, and future integration of manned and unmanned aircraft with minimal ship alterations.
Designed with Futuristic 3-D Product Modelling
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the Navy's first aircraft carrier to be completely designed using a 3-dimensional product model. The shipbuilders of Newport News Shipbuilding utilised the latest and most advanced computer tool capabilities and functionalities for visual integration in design, engineering, planning and construction. Every piece part is created in a 3-D model at a full scale, which includes structure, various equipment, piping systems, machinery, electrical, wire-ways, gauges, pumps, berths, medical and galleys. 
Construction, Planning and Design
USS Gerald R. Ford is the product of years of construction, planning and design with more than 5,000 shipbuilders in Newport News and thousands of suppliers across the United States contributing to its completion. In addition to the complicated warfighting components of launching and retrieving jet aircraft, beneath the surface of Ford is a bustling city with two power plants, food services, medical facilities, waste management systems, and even desalination plants that convert seawater to fresh water. With new software-controlled electromagnetic catapults and weapons elevators, and a redesigned flight deck and island, Ford carriers are truly designed for the 21st century and beyond. The ship has an enhanced flight deck capable of increased aircraft sortie rates, and growth margin for future technologies. 
Each Ford-class ship will operate with a smaller crew than a Nimitz-class carrier and will provide US$4 billion in total ownership cost savings for the Navy. Aircraft carriers provide sovereign, mobile U.S. territory and are a visible symbol of the U.S. power. 
Gerald R. Ford Class Ship Capabilities
In line with advancements in technology, Ford carriers provide the ability to implement future improvements with relative ease. The CVN 78 and its successors will keep pace with the future threats arising in the 21st century, and present increased warfighting capability and enhanced survivability. The island on CVN 78 is smaller and further aft than that of previous carriers, which increases space for flight –deck operations and aircraft maintenance. This allows the ship and air wing to launch more aircraft sorties per day.
The aircraft carrier has replaced legacy steam-powered systems with electric–drive components, which brings in three times the electrical-generation capacity of any previous carrier. Improvements in its hull design, fire-fighting systems and weapons stowage provide improved survivability and longer time between maintenance availabilities allows for increased steaming days over the life of the ship. The Advanced Weapons Elevators provides improved weapon and material handling. Moreover, the Ford class carrier is readily susceptible of future modernisation throughout its 50-year service life.
Ford-class Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) provides for more accurate end-speed control, with a smoother acceleration at both high and low speeds. The system also possesses the necessary energy capacity to support an increased launch envelope and a capability of launching both current and future carrier air wing platforms be it the lightest unmanned aerial vehicles or heavy strike fighters. In addition, the Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system provides Ford-class ships with the ability to recover both current and projected carrier-based, tailhook-equipped aircraft, and is the follow-on system to the Mark-7 system of the Nimitz class. AAG allows for the recovery of a broader range of aircraft, and the architecture includes built-in test and diagnostic technologies. 
Ford-class carriers also include quality of life enhancements, such as improved berthing compartments, better gyms, and more ergonomic workspaces. 
The CVN 78 is designed to operate effectively with almost 700 fewer crew members than a CVN 68-class ship. Improvements in the ship design will also allow the embarked air wing to operate with a smaller crew. Gerald R. Ford is the first aircraft carrier designed with all electric utilities, eliminating steam service lines from the ship, reducing maintenance requirements and improving corrosion control. The new A1B reactor, EMALS, AAG, and Dual Band Radar (DBR) all offer enhanced capability with reduced manning. 
Advanced Weapon’s System
The ship's systems and configuration are optimised to maximise the sortie generation rate (SGR) of attached strike aircraft, resulting in a 33 per cent increase in SGR over the Nimitz- class. The ship's configuration and electrical generating plant are designed to accommodate new systems, including direct energy weapons, during its 50-year service life. The Gerald R. Ford-class builds upon the Navy's legacy of aircraft carrier innovation, stretching back to the first aircraft carrier, USS Langley (CV-1) Gerald R. Ford continues the aircraft carrier history of innovation and adaptability that will enable her to serve the country for decades to come. Weapons systems involve Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, Rolling Airframe Missile and Close-In Weapon System (CIWS). 
Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM): In service on approximately 230 ships of 12 navies, the versatile ESSM is an intermediate range anti-ship cruise missile, which is guided via active radar and midcourse data uplinks. ESSM is a tail-controlled missile that provides critical performance in situations requiring quick reaction capability and improves ship self-defence against low-altitude, high-velocity and advanced manoeuvre anti-ship cruise missiles. ESSM also provides an effective defence against the surface and low-velocity air threats, and is integrated with seven combat systems and four launching systems. 
Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM): A supersonic, lightweight, quick-reaction, fire-and-forget weapon, the RAM system is designed to destroy anti-ship missiles. Its passive radio frequency and infrared guidance design provide high-firepower capability for engaging multiple threats simultaneously. The Block 2 variant, the latest evolution in the development of the RAM missile, has a larger rocket motor, advanced control section and an enhanced RF receiver capable of detecting the quietest of threat emitters. The improvements make the missile two and a half times more manoeuvrable, with one and a half times the effective intercept range. This provides the Block 2 variant with the capability to defeat highly stressing threats, increasing the survivability of the defended ship.
Close-In Weapon System (CIWS): Typically mounted on shipboard in a naval capacity the close-in weapon system is a point-defence weapon system for detecting and destroying short-range incoming missiles and enemy aircraft that have penetrated the outer defences. Nearly all classes of larger modern warships are equipped with either a gun-based CIWS or missile system CIWS. A gun-based CIWS usually consists of a combination of radars, computers, and multiple-barrel, rotary rapid-fire cannons placed on a rotating gun mount. The missile systems on the other hand use infrared, passive radar/ESM or semi-active radar terminal guidance to guide missiles to the targeted enemy aircraft or other threats. 
Dual Band Radar (DBR): Ford Class has a Dual Band Radar, which is the first radar system in the U.S. Navy fleet capable of simultaneously operating over two frequency ranges coordinated by a single resource manager. It combines the functionality of the X-band AN/SPY-3 Multifunction Radar and the S-band Volume Surveillance Radar (VSR). 
Operating at X-band with high accuracy, AN/SPY-3’s narrow beam width and wide frequency bandwidth provide superior coverage and effective discrimination of low-altitude targets.

It also provides target illumination and uplink/downlink capabilities for SM-2 and Evolved SeaSparrow missiles. Whereas, using S-Band, VSR delivers all-weather search capabilities with its high-power aperture and narrow beam enabling it to accurately resolve and track targets. The DBR's ability to utilise a multitude of frequencies in the two different operating bands dramatically mitigates the varied effects environmental phenomena has on SPY-3 and VSR radars.

The separate band radar arrays provide extensive search, track and multiple missile illumination capacities, which is essential in support of multi-target raid engagements. DBR further enhances reliability with its electronically steered phased-array radar systems and 24/7 operational availability. It offers greater than 95 per cent operational availability via multilevel redundancy to ensure continuous operation in the event of component failure. 

The Navy plans to build 10 more Ford-class aircraft carriers, and construction of Ford-class aircraft carriers is projected to continue through 2058. 
Reference Text/Photos:

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