NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - A time-honored tradition marks another milestone in the construction of the USS Gerald R. Ford -- welders sealed a time capsule into the steel frame-work of the ship's island house Thursday.
Items placed into the time capsule include commemorative coins from late president Ford's military service and aviator wings from the ship's commanding officer.
After the time capsule ceremony, leaders from both the shipyard and the Navy spoke to 10 On You Side's Art Kohn about cost over-runs and schedule delays for the Ford.
"Earlier this year, we all decided and worked towards a four month moving of the launch date from July to November and that's what we're tracking to right now," said Rolf Bartschi, VP of the carrier's construction.
A Government Accounting Office report outlines problems with the ship's new electromagnetic catapults and arresting wire systems, used to launch and recover aircraft, as well as issues with the new radar system. The problems could delay the carrier from joining the fleet in March 2016.
"...for all of the technology that we're bringing on the ship, we are doing land-based testing to ring it out before we ultimately test it here on the ship," Bartschi said.
But the report from the Congressional Research Service published in April cited a section of a recent GAO finding that said "Delays developing and producing the dual band radar and advanced arresting gear have driven inefficient and out of sequenced construction work and caused the navy to defer some key tests until after installation."
Some insiders have raised concerns that the new Electromagnetic Catapults on the Ford may not be able to maintain the rapid launch cycles the traditional steam catapults are capable of.
"I have no concerns what so ever about that," said Captain John Meier, Commander of the George H. W. Bush. "Our recharge ability of that system is faster than we can launch today."
The Ford is a new class of aircraft carrier and with all things new, there is a learning curve.
Another issue facing the Ford is cost over-runs. The cost has grown by a little more than 22 percent since the 2008 budget price.
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