The US Navy USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Awesome!

Now we need this modeled in ED-DCS :wink:

I get to look at her almost every day when I’m down by Hampton Roads Bay…when she is in port that is. :sunglasses:

From her island shape and position she is easily identifiable from the other carriers in port.

From the video, did you notice that F-35 pilots launch with both hands off the controls. Hornet pilots launched with their hand ff the control stick. The FA-18 sets the correct angle of attack as it goes off the pointy end. They found having a pilot’s hand on the stick introduced unwanted oscillations. His other hand was firmly on the throttles.

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It’s also interesting to note the super bug doesn’t have a back seater in that video.

Did they ever get the problems they were having with the arresting gear fixed up? I seem to recall them having issues with that part a couple years back.

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I’m pretty sure most of the aircraft were from test squadrons (Pax River) so no back seater needed if you are just doing CATs & TRAPs.

Didn’t hear about the arresting gear issues…but they seemed to be working. There are always issues with new technology…I almost kept a contractor on the ship as we got underway to “fix” some newly installed technology…

“Don’t worry, the ship’s store has everting you’ll need-toiletries, underwear, T-shirts and sweats…every thing you need to stay on board until you get this running…I’ll even find you a place to sleep.” It was amazing how fast he and his team got everything working…just before we “pulled the brow”. I’m sure @Navynuke99 knows the type :sunglasses:


Reminds me of the Chiefs I knew who made a career jumping from precom to refuel to precom.

Latest issue from what I remember was a broken thrust bearing or something associated with one of the reduction gear sets. Not an easy or quick fix.

…hadn’t heard that. I remember when Lincoln had to replace one of her main reduction gears…it arrived in a huge, special crate…with the reduction gear stuck in there backwards…that was a bit of a kerfuffle…I got to watch the whole thing from my ring side at the morning CPF Deputy Commander’s meeting…entertaining.:sunglasses:

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You are lucky to see it!
It would be pretty huge in comparison to its predecessors.
I would love to have a tour of the ship and see the command center just a dream of course, I’ll just stick to doco’s LoL Also you can see now the F-35’s just fit in so perfect. It would be nice to see some F-14’s on deck even though retired just a good line up of aircraft on the ship.

I agree! But let’s not have the aviation maintenance guys hear that. :scream:

If they had it their way an entire CVW would be all Hornets, Prowlers and whatever the decided to call an E-2D replacement based on the Hornet…“Hornet Eye?”

The whole idea was to simplify maintenance with essentially a single airframe, engines and set of avionics. When I was a JO in the mid-late 1980s, a typical CVW was 2 x A-7 sqdrns, 1 x A-6E sqdrn, 2 x F-14 sqdrns, 1 x EA-6B sqdrn, 1 x E2C sqdrn, 1 x S-3B sqdrn and 1 x SH-3 sqdrn. Thats technically 7 different types of aircraft but the A-6 and EA-6B had some significant overlap so we can call it, in general 6 different airframes. Also 4 different manufactures. Today, even with significant differences between the FA-18C and FA-18E & F, when we swap the EF-18 for the EA-6B, and the retirement of the F-14 and S-3, it meant in general 3-ish different airframes Hornets, E-2Ds and SH-60s, 3 different manufactures.

Add in the F-35…4 different airframes (down 3 from the 1980s which is good) and 4 different manufactures–same as the 1980s.

Regardless,the F-35 s a great aircraft and a great striking ability for the CVWs! :sunglasses:

FWIW this has already happened. The Marines are hanging onto the EA-6Bs for another year or so, then they’re gone.

Beyond that, the F-35C is probably the best version when it comes to legs.

Yes, I know that most if not all CVWs have switched over. And having been a very small part of the F-35 combat systems development during a Joint force, I have a real appreciation of what it can do.

The issue is that it complicates maintenance on a carrier and that costs $. That money has to come from somewhere…usually somewhere else. It is a simple cost / benefit assessment for which right now, there is no answer. Only time will tell. I hope will work out well…I’ll settle for well enough.

However we shouldn’t kid ourselves that it will. There may come a day when we have to cut thee number or the of aircraft we deploy, or even cut squadrons because of unforeseen maintenance costs on one jet or another.

It has happened before. For us intel types, the ES-3 Shadow was an awesome platform, bringing a great organic collection capability to the carrier. Some other airframe needed to fix some maintenance problems, so the ES-3 went away to pay for it. I’m not puling–that’s life in the fleet…or better, “Them’s the breaks of naval air”. :sunglasses:

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Isn’t F-35 (and block III superbug) supposed to be really great at electronic recce? I’d imagine a flight of four at a nice wide formation would get the same sort of synergy you get in compound radio telescopes, ie many small antennae forming one yuge one through data networking magic.

She’s roughly the same size as the Nimitz-class CVN’s, but has wider passageways, and maybe higher overheads (ceilings) than previous ships (things can get a little crowded on the 2nd deck and below when there’s a lot going on), but that’s about all I know of the layout. Guy I made 1st with is an EMNCS now on Ford, and I’ll likely be in Norfolk in March for a retirement ceremony (holy crap, I AM that old now). If she’s in port, I’m planning on dropping my old buddy a line and see if I can’t cash in some favors to get a tour. I just wish I could get a glimpse of the propulsion plants, but there’s no way that’d happen.

By “electronic recce” i take it you mean ELINT collection:

The general term SIGINT–signals intelligence.-has two components, ELINT and COMINT

ELINT - electronic inlligence is primarily focused on radars…all kinds of radars–airborne, seaborne and land based. As you mentioned, the F-35 is supposed have some good ELINT capabilities, which is great. As a naval intel officer I could ever get enough of “the take” from whatever platforms were providing it.

COMINT - communications intelligence is concerned with any radiations/transmission that contain information, i.e. that are “communicating” with another entity. This includes clear voice, morse, encrypted voice, data-transmissions (covered and uncovered), etc.

For the COMINT collection mission, unless the F-35 pilot just happens to speak fluent Urdu, or Persian, or Mandarin or Russian…and has enough free time in his mission to go scanning the airwaves…and then make real time reports (in the proper format)…the F-35… not so much.

One of the positions in the back of the ES-3 was dedicated to a guy with headphones on and the ultimate “police scanner” in from of him…and he had the language training for what ever part of the world they were operating…which was really good for the carrier group since there is still a lot of military comms–ours and others–that are clear voice.

Other dedicated SIGINT aircraft fill role now, but it was more efficient to have a platform you could direct at the carrier group level.

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Hmmmm…I know the 2nd deck since that’s where the clean shirt wardroom is and they had a nice brunch on Sundays…but the brunch in the Flag Mess was better so I rarely visited the clean shirt.

But you are saying that there is an “and below”…I never knew that. :wink:

Can’t the COMINT thing be done by networking the jets antennae to your colleagues sitting in their dank hide holes way below the flight deck?

That’s like trying to watch a 1440p video in the days of dial up.

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In a word, No.:slightly_smiling_face:

Off the top of my head:

Security - COINT enjoys me of the highest classifications and special handling. Yes, there is something above Top Secret. Which means that the data would need a whole new encrypted transmitter– as @Franze pointed out, a really, really high bandwidth encrypted transmitter. ELINT is essentially beeps and squeaks. Don’t need much bandwidth to transmit a frequency, PRF and PW. But for a voice? Actually lots of voices that each have their own sound spectrum to be captured?

Could we just record it and when the jet recovers give us the tape? Sure but it would be of no use whatsoever, because…

Actionability - In a tactical and operational environment, for intel to be useful–i.e. actionable; you can take prompt action based on it–it has to be timely. Listing to whatever 2-3 hour old comms may be mildly interesting, but from an action intel perspective ,it is useless.

Frequencies - typically radar (ELINT frequencies) are nowhere near communications frequencies so more radios into the jet! More weight. Less fuel or bombs…you see the problem. Remember it just happens to be a good ELINT collector due to its fancy Electronic Warfare gear that is in there to protect the aircraft…and the pilot too I guess.

Tasking - I’m pretty sure most Airwing Commanders aren’t going to be all that receptive when the N2 drops by, asking send one of his best strike aircraft off to drill holes in the sky. Pretty sure that’s not the way they want to put hours their engines and airframes.

The guys that do this work on the carriers (cryptologists) have their own systems and there own tasking from the N2 through his cryptologic assistant (N21). They are already busy. BTW, the spaces that the intel and crypto types work are cool (lots of gear so great AC), clean (can’t have dust getting into the gear) and for the most part, bright/well light. The exception is SUPLOT which like most carrier command and control centers-CDC, TFCC, etc.–is dark so that the watch standers can see their various screens and plot boards better…its still cool and clean…and we are all on the O-3 level which just under the flight deck.:sunglasses:

So to sum up. F-35 & ELINT, -Great! F35 & COMINT, a “non-starter” :slightly_smiling_face:

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So for comint the navy is SOL then?

Also, thanks for the great explanation. You obviously are very used to explaining the obvious to pig headed numbnuts like me :slight_smile:

Nope, we just use other platforms. In the air that is the EP-3…and what ever its replacement will be. There are ships, and we have had years of working well with the DESRON commanders to get them positioned where they need to be, or there about, since it is an acknowledged secondary mission for some ships.

Lastly, a carrier taps in to the military and national intelligence community’s reporting as well as add our reports to the lot. I’m pretty sure that intel is the largest bandwidth user on a carrier, by a wide margin. It is so much info that one can easily be overwhelmed. We use filters and smart searches, etc…but its still a lot…SIGINT, IMINT, HUMINT, OSINT, ACINT, MASINT…a freaking lot.

Managing intelligence support is more about knowing what you really need, who has it (capabilities and limitations of various collection systems) and how to get it to the people trained to exploit it, than it is about getting intel on your own.

Its not obvious at all. :slightly_smiling_face: I spent 29 years in the business and learned something new every day. Used to it? A bit since as one gets more senior one gets to be a briefer or tour guide to various VIPs. Oh what fun. :scream:

By comparison, your question was insightful. Why can’t the F-35 be used like that? Good question. I like questions like yours, especially in this forum, because gives me an opportunity to give back to others for my own knuckle-dragging caveman-esque questions on subjects of which I know near to nothing. :slightly_smiling_face:

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