Navy’s $13 Billion Warship May Deploy at Least Six Years Late

(Bloomberg) -- The Navy’s costliest warship, the $13 billion Gerald R. Ford, is now scheduled for combat deployment in 2024 -- six years later than originally planned -- which assumes it demonstrates all serious deficiencies have been fixed, Navy officials have told lawmakers.

The carrier was originally scheduled for delivery in 2013 with deployment expected around 2018, but it actually was delivered in May 2017 with numerous deficiencies with its aircraft launch and recovery equipment and none of 11 elevators for equipment and munitions.

Navy’s $13 Billion Warship May Deploy at Least Six Years Late

“I think we are going to beat 2024 for sure,” Vice Admiral Tom Moore, who heads the Naval Sea Systems Command told a House Armed Services Committee subcommittee on Tuesday.

Finishing sooner will require that trials at sea over the next 18 months demonstrate the effectiveness of changes made during a 15-month “post-delivery shakedown” at dockside that was just completed. The carrier was built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.

“I just truly don’t feel like this is a great investment as a taxpayer -- $13 billion on a ship that’s going to deploy six years past its original design timeline,” Representative Elaine Luria, a Virginia Democrat and surface Navy veteran, said at the hearing.

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