GAO report raises questions about CVN 78 delays

ford upper bowSEPTEMBER 6, 2013 — The GAO released a report yesterday that says that the Navy faces technical, design, and construction challenges to completing the nuclear aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) that have led to significant cost increases and reduced the likelihood that a fully functional ship will be delivered on time. The report also says that the ship won't be designated operationally ready until nearly three years after delivery.

Back in May, Huntington Ingalls Industries announced that the launch of the carrier at Newport News Shipbuilding had been pushed back  from July to November 2013 which would, in turn, delay delivery. A NAVSEA statement at that time said delivery was now scheduled for second quarter FY 2016 (see earlier story).

The GAO report raises questions about how functional the ship will be after delivery. A draft version of the report recommended that the Navy delay the commissioning of the carrier in March 2016. GAO dropped that recommendation after taking account of DOD comments.

"We made the decision to remove this recommendation based on information DOD provided about unintended consequences associated with delaying the commissioning of the ship, including potential issues related to how a noncommissioned ship would operate effectively within the Navy’s chain of command," says GAO

GAO says the intent of the draft recommendation was to highlight the operational limitations that will be associated with the ship when it is commissioned, "but DOD noted in its response that the ship will not be designated operationally ready until testing and trials are completed—an estimated 34 months after delivery. Until the ship is judged operationally ready, it will lack the ability to conduct assigned operations for which it is designed."

Read the report HERE

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