A New Study Says the Bigger the Aircraft Carrier, the Deadlier

    Dave Majumdar

    Security,

    A new RAND Corporation study has concluded that bigger aircraft carriers such as the Gerald R. Ford-class are more effective and more survivable than smaller carriers.

    The CVN LX is cheaper to build and operate, but it would require the Navy to design an entirely new carrier—which is expensive. “The CVN LX concept would allow considerable savings across the ship’s service life and appears to be a viable alternative to con- sider for further concept exploration,” the report states. “Construction costs would be lower; design changes and life-cycle costs would reflect the lessons already applied in the Ford class. The reliance on hybrid drive with fewer mechanical parts than legacy platforms is likely to further reduce maintenance cost. However, CVN LX would be a new design that would require a significant investment in non-recurring engineering in the near term to allow timely delivery in the 2030s.”

    A new RAND Corporation study has concluded that bigger aircraft carriers such as the Gerald R. Ford-class are more effective and more survivable than smaller carriers.

    While a slightly smaller 70,000-ton design would be cheaper to operate, such a vessel would be less effective and less survivable. It would also extra cost money to develop and build such a carrier. Even smaller light carriers would be much cheaper, but also much less effective and much less survivable. Thus, those vessels are not worth it.

    Among the four options the RAND study looked at was a “CVN 8X, the descoped Ford-class carrier,” a 70,000-ton CVN LX, a short takeoff vertical landing (STOVL) 40,000-ton conventionally powered CV LX and a 20,000-ton CV EX escort carrier. Out of the designs studied, the CVN-8X was the most effective, with performance comparable to the current Gerald R. Ford-class. However, the Ford is a still a better, more capable ship for a price that is not much greater.

    (This first appeared in October.)

    (Recommended: How America Could Go to War with Iran)

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