The updated Congressional Research Service report for “Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress” published on March 11, 2021. The summary of the report as follows.
The aircraft carriers CVN-78, CVN-79, CVN-80, and CVN-81 are the first four ships in the Navy’s new Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (CVNs). The U.S. Navy’s proposed FY2021 budget requested $2,714.1 million (i.e., about $2.7 billion) in procurement funding for CVN-78 class ships, including $71.0 million for CVN-78, $997.5 million for CVN-80, and $1,645.6 million for CVN-81. Congress, as part of its action on the Navy’s FY2021 budget, provided a total of $2,565.4 million (i.e., about $2.6 billion), including $71.0 million for CVN-78, $958.9 million for CVN-80, and $1,606.4 million for CVN-81.
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)
CVN-78 (Gerald R. Ford) was procured in FY2008. The Navy’s proposed FY2021 budget estimates the ship’s procurement cost at $13,316.5 million (i.e., about $13.3 billion) in then-year dollars. The ship was commissioned into service on July 22, 2017. The Navy is currently working to complete construction, testing, and certification of the ship’s 11 weapons elevators and to
correct other technical problems aboard the ship.
USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)
CVN-79 (John F. Kennedy) was procured in FY2013. The Navy’s proposed FY2021 budget estimates the ship’s procurement cost at $11,397.7 million (i.e., about $11.4 billion) in then-year dollars. The ship is being built with an improved process that incorporates lessons learned from the construction of CVN-78. CVN-79 is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in September 2024.
USS Enterprise (CVN 80)
CVN-80 (Enterprise) was procured in FY2018. The Navy’s proposed FY2021 budget estimates the ship’s procurement cost at $12,321.3 million (i.e., about $12.3 billion) in then-year dollars. The ship is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in March 2028.
USS Doris Miller (CVN-81)
CVN-81 (Doris Miller) is treated in this report as a ship that was procured in FY2019, consistent with congressional action on the Navy’s FY2019 budget. The Navy’s FY2021 budget submission shows CVN-81 as a ship that was procured in FY2020. The Navy’s FY2021 budget submission estimates the ship’s procurement cost at $12,450.7 million (i.e., about $12.5 billion) in then-year
dollars. The ship is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in February 2032.
CVN-80 and CVN-81 are being procured under a two-ship block buy contract that was authorized by Section 121(a)(2) of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (H.R. 5515/P.L. 115-232 of August 13, 2018). The use of the two-ship block buy contract reduced the combined estimated procurement cost of the two ships. Oversight issues for Congress
for the CVN-78 program include the following:
- the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the execution of U.S. military shipbuilding programs, including the CVN-78 program;
- the future aircraft carrier force level;
- a delay in CVN-78’s first deployment due to the need to complete work on the ship’s weapons elevators and correct other technical problems aboard the ship;
- whether the Navy in its annual budget request has accurately priced the work on the CVN-78 program that it is proposing to fund for that fiscal year;
- cost growth in the CVN-78 program, Navy efforts to stem that growth, and Navy efforts to manage costs so as to stay within the program’s cost caps;
- additional CVN-78 program issues that were raised in a January 2021 report from the Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) and a June 2020 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on DOD weapon systems; and
- the procurement of aircraft carriers after CVN-81.
Click on the image to see the whole report: