World’s Biggest Aircraft Carrier USS Gerald R Ford Takes Over Mediterranean With Greek Navy

A recent Navy photo of the USS Ford in the Mediterranean refers to the vessel as the largest carrier in the world; a statement arguably well-captures the sought-after sentiment of the Navy that the Ford class is going to usher in a new era in the modern maritime warfare.

The image shows the large-deck USS Ford that some have enthusiastically referred to as a “supercarrier,” as the vessel enables a 33% increase in the aircraft sortie rate by having a larger deck area as well as reconfigured island. By steaming via the Mediterranean with the Hellenic warships, USS Ford, not only sends a message of NATO interoperability and capacity but signals the world that the Ford-class carriers of the US Navy are “here.”

USS Gerald R Ford

The USS Ford has been operating on deployment in support of the US Navy’s Sixth-Fleet Command, a division that oversees the US Naval activities in several parts of Europe. Interestingly enough, however, by operating in Mediterranean waters close to Greece, the USS Ford places it with the ability to project power into crucial parts of the Black and the Middle East.

The operational arrival of the USS Ford is not a moment too soon, as the Navy process was tedious, challenged by unforeseen delays, and criticized significantly by the members of Congress as it was over cost. However, despite vicissitudes and the struggles associated with its development, the Ford is operational with an unexpected measure of next-gen maritime warfare techs.

Years back, the Navy developers of the Ford described its vigorous efforts to lower costs and accommodate schedule needs, while explaining that as a next-gen carrier of a new platform, the Ford is going to incorporate non-recurring engineering as well as developmental costs. The Navy further stressed that bolstered computer automation means that the carrier is able to operate with 900 lesser crew members than Nimitz carriers and use tech advancements for saving up as much as $4 billion for each vessel over the service life of the Ford carriers.

This is to a large extent made possible by several breakthroughs in computing that enable mechanical systems to be regulated, monitored, and maintained via critical metrics gathered and automatically analyzed through advanced computer algorithms.

The reduction in manpower via automation to monitor and maintain vessel systems enables the service to save more money.

There were delays with Ford’s path-breaking electronic elevators, systems that are fully operational and fully functional now. The presence of such a technology is defining, as it enables significant, fast re-arming, as well as re-fueling of fighter jets, reducing downtime in between air attack missions. Such a technical step forward supports the faster, higher, sortie rate and the op-tempo enabled by the bigger flight deck.

All the support is for arguably the greatest technological step toward the USS Ford, and that is the Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System (abbreviated EMALS).

In development for several years and finally operational now, the EMALS recently launched an aircraft by utilizing a rolling magnetic field for propelling the fighter from the flight deck, yet steadier and smoother than the steam catapults. There are several advantages to electromagnetic catapult as it enables a smoother take-off, causing a lot less wear and tear on airframes, something that extends service life.

EMALS is also significantly faster, meaning multiple aircraft can take off in rapid succession, something which supports the USS Ford’s high-op tempo and enhanced the sortie rate. The system is empowered by four onboard megawatt generators that power the whole vessel with several new levels of advancements.


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