January 21, 2008

Northrop Grumman Newport News- Gerald R Ford Class

I was browsing around the other day and found this tidbit of information interesting. I have known a little bit about the Gerald R Ford class of aircraft carriers coming out, right after the USS George HW. Bush (CVN-77) is completed. This class of supercarrier is slated to replace some of the aging "primary" or "first" nuclear aircraft carriers that were built such as the USS Enterprise or USS John F Kennedy.

I am curious into the projects details- although they are probably heavily classified. I am curious about this class because I think it may be slightly overengineered- it's either that or there are classified details that have been left out, other than known CIWS fittings and various well known missile defense systems.

I am not sure why new nuclear aircraft carriers need to be built unless we need more of them for national defense- although I think the current fleet of nuclear powered aircraft carriers and the Nimitz class carriers are sufficient enough to carry out diplomacy. There is something left out here that is big and classified- it is either that or the Gerald R. Ford class will be like the F-22 Raptor: big, expensive and stealthy but over engineered when we have fighters that can do the same job.

I can see the benefits of the JSF (F-35) program in having uniform parts with combining payload, operational capability and VTOL, but I also see the JSF as being capable of being stored on Nimitz class carriers along with the F-18 hornet. What I do not understand is according to some reports, which are probably inaccurate from the beginning, the Gerald R Ford class is said to only hold around 60 aircraft when the Nimitz class can top 90 easy. More hangar room wouldn't be a plus- although crowded on the Nimitz Class carriers there is sufficient room for work on aircraft. I also don't see the advantages of putting the island near the aft of the ship- there is more of a chance that fighters may crash during nighttime unless.... something remains classified.

I really want to learn more about the program and I think this is definetly something I could be working on in the near future. I am searching out careers with defense contractors and Northrop Grumman's Newport News division deals with naval subjects for the US Navy. This class of aircraft carrier would be an incredible feat- I looked a bit more into the development of the carriers and it seems that they will carry electromagnetic catapaults over steam driven ones- which is probably more efficient in the long run since electromagnetic forces are extremely strong.

Picture of the USS George HW Bush (CVN-77) build in progress.


Missy Blankenship said...

Hi: you wrote "I am searching out careers with defense contractors and Northrop Grumman's Newport News division deals with naval subjects for the US Navy."

Just curious as to where your job search is taking you and how you are conducting it. I am an independent contractor working with a headhunter/recruiting company. My specialty is the DoD and HS industry.

And, I provide marketing services to www.PentagonSouth.org. "Jobs" is one of our initiatives, so stay tuned on that front.

Thanks, Missy Blankenship

Don said...

One of the big reasons that we need a new class of carrier is that the current carrier classes have been up-fitted with new technology to the max. There is no room for expansion for future tech.

A second reason is to cut down on the manpower required to run the carrier. Projections of cutting the crew by about 1/3 are being reported.

Also, current carrier catapult systems are becoming very limited in the aircraft they can launch. Heavier jets and lighter unmanned aircraft are not able to be launched with the steam system. The steam system also causes a lot of stress on the aircrafts.

There are many other reasons not released yet. Stay tuned in about 5 years.