At $4.7 billion over budget, Ford-class aircraft carriers have taken a beating in Congress. This morning, though, the House Seapower subcommittee chairman will roll out a report from the conservative Hudson Institute that’s a ringing defense of the carrier — but which also contains a stinging indictment of the aircraft that fly from it. The report calls for upgrading current multi-mission planes for longer range and building multiple new types of more specialized aircraft, potentially including two different models of UCLASS drone.
Nuclear-powered super-carriers are irreplaceable, co-author Bryan McGrath told me, and the Ford is a good design. But, he said, “the air wing will have to be completely rethought…to win and deter the war we cannot lose.”