Some nations have aircraft carriers. The USA has super-carriers. The French Charles De Gaulle Class nuclear carriers displace about 43,000t. India’s new Vikramaditya/ Admiral Gorshkov Class will have a similar displacement. The future British CVF Queen Elizabeth Class and related French PA2 Project are expected to displace about 65,000t, while the British Invincible Class carriers that participated in the Falklands War weigh in at just 22,000t. Invincible actually compares well to Italy’s excellent new Cavour Class (27,000t), and Spain’s Principe de Asturias Class (17,000t). The USA’s Nimitz Class and CVN-21 Gerald R. Ford Class, in contrast, fall in the 90,000+ tonne range. Hence their unofficial designation: “super-carriers”. Just one of these ships packs a more potent air force than many nations.
Nimitz Class cutaway
As the successor to the 102,000 ton Nimitz Class super-carriers, the CVN-21 program aimed to increase aircraft sortie generation rates by 20%, increase survivability to better handle future threats, require fewer sailors, and have depot maintenance requirements that could support an increase of up to 25% in operational availability. The combination of a new design nuclear propulsion plant and an improved electric plant are expected to provide 2-3 times the electrical generation capacity of previous carriers, which in turn enables systems like an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS, replacing steam-driven catapults), Advanced Arresting Gear, and integrated combat electronics that will leverage advances in open systems architecture. Other CVN-21 features include an enhanced flight deck, improved weapons handling and aircraft servicing efficiency, and a flexible island arrangement allowing for future technology insertion. This graphic points out many of the key improvements.
DID’s CVN-21 FOCUS Article offers a detailed look at a number of the program’s key innovations, as well as a list of relevant contract awards and events.
As the U.S. decides who will be president for the next four years a review of procurement spending indicates that the Trump Administration has shown little difference in appropriations versus previous administrations, despite claims to have radically increased spending.
The upshot is that the last four years saw about $2.9 in spending appropriated in inflation-adjusted dollars, which was larger than Barak Obama’s second term, but less than the Obama Administration’s first term.
President Trump’s campaign speech claims of spending during his term relative to previous terms are incorrect. President Trump claimed this year that military spending in the 90s “used to be ‘million.’ And then, about 10 years ago, you started hearing ‘billion.’ And now you’re starting to hear ‘trillion,’ right?” Of course, U.S. defense spending hit the billions in the late 1940s, and recent spending has been on pace with spending from the decade previous.
The Trump Administration has done little to change the often-criticized Pentagon trend of investing more money in fewer pieces of equipment, such as fighter jets that cost a quarter billion dollars each when fully kitted out. The navy is running fewer ships that each cost more. Previous administrations did no better in reversing this trend, of course.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden stated multiple times that he has no plans to reduce military spending, but indicated a desire to refocus military budgets and planning on “near-peer” powers Russia and China, while attempting to recover some of the goodwill of allies tested by the Trump Administration’s active skepticism in cooperation with allies, especially the NATO alliance.
Latest updates[?]: After sensationally backing out of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the Canadian government will not exclude the jet from the renewed CF-18 replacement competition. Canadian minister of national defence Harjit Sajjan said at the annual Conference of Defence Associations (CDA) that once the government determines its needs, and capabilities are specified, potential contractors will be allowed to bid, including Lockheed Martin with its F-35. The announcement marks the first time that Sajjan has explicitly said that the F-35 could still be in the running, after weeks of hinting at the possibility.
Liberal versus Conservative politics are dominating the coverage of Canadian self examination of their defense procurement process. Conservatives came to power criticizing a broken and opaque process run by the Liberals, and now the Liberals are enjoying throwing similar barbs at the majority party. But in the fray, several interesting analyses have surfaced that the defense establishment is taking seriously.
The Harper government insists that a defense procurement overhaul conducted last year has yet to toll, and that patience is needed to prove that things have improved. By far, the largest effect is exerted by the major fighter and ship programs, which evolve in year and decade timescales.
As to the actual content of the report, much blame is placed at the cutting of procurement staff levels, which have been halved over the past 20 years. Also unpopular among the procurement officials are rafts of the new reporting requirements – reportedly up by about 50 percent – that are part of the Harper governments reforms.
Separately, the objectives of major defense procurement projects have also been called into question. Because the F-35 has greatest advantage in the objective of overpowering a state with top anti-air resources, Canadian officials are now questioning whether this is something relevant to Canada, especially in the face of a lopsided price disadvantage versus other fighters. Reportedly, the only other fighter contending still against the F-35 is Boeing’s Super Hornet. This analysis, a product of the 2012 decision to delay what was to be a $45 billion purchase of F-35s, did not draw a conclusive recommendation, although it did note that the likelihood of requiring a mission profile uniquely suited to the F-35 was low.
The F-35 program has been controversial in Canada, even more so than in other countries, complete with alleged plots to conduct secret initial procurement of four fighters to be delivered in 2015, with a commitment for 9 more two years later. Internal pressures led the Harper administration to develop a more explicit offset seeking program, called the Value Proposition Guide, as in show-us-what-industrial-value-we-can-bank domestically.
February 26/16: After sensationally backing out of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the Canadian government will not exclude the jet from the renewed CF-18 replacement competition. Canadian minister of national defence Harjit Sajjan said at the annual Conference of Defence Associations (CDA) that once the government determines its needs, and capabilities are specified, potential contractors will be allowed to bid, including Lockheed Martin with its F-35. The announcement marks the first time that Sajjan has explicitly said that the F-35 could still be in the running, after weeks of hinting at the possibility.
February 23/16: Major defense purchases through Canada’s problem-plagued procurement process is to be guided by a cabinet-level committee. The committee will have direct access to support from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and is tasked with seeing that billion dollar sales, which include all aircraft purchases, will not be held up in federal bureaucracy. While details of the committee have not been disclosed, it will include high ranking members of the Liberal government including Procurement Minister Judy Foote, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, Navdeep Bains, minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Scott Brison, the president of the Treasury Board.
The free newsletter is not automatically sent to DII paid subscribers, it is a separate subscription process. You can self subscribe to our daily emails by putting your email address in the box presented when you click on the Subscribe menu on the site. You must also confirm your email address by clicking on the link that is then sent to your subscribing email address.
If you do not get a confirming email, it likely means that your system is filtering us out. You may whitelist the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have trouble after having done these things, please contact us at email@example.com.
Except where explicitly noted, Defense Industry Daily does not own the rights to the pictures displayed on our site. We use images under “fair use” copyright doctrine, from public sources and private organizations, or use images under Creative Commons/GNU licenses that make them available to the general public, or with explicit and noted permission. All rights remain with the original image owners.
Please contact us if you believe that a DID image may violate these conditions.
The sizes displayed on DID are the only sizes we have to offer.
We do not provide a print edition as our focus is entirely on online content and functionality. We do, however, include a button on our online articles that allows for clean printing and exporting to the Adobe Acrobat PDF format.
What is free, and what is not free on Defense Industry Daily?
We publish daily news updates on the site that are generally free to read. We also publish a daily free newsletter. You may self-subscribe here by scrolling to the bottom of the article page and inserting your email in the yellow box.
Additionally, we publish data-rich stories on major defense programs, which are typically set aside behind our Defense Industry Insider (DII) pay wall. Most DII stories show the first few paragraphs freely.
Can you help me understand the structure and value of the paid subscriber content?
Have a look at the video below for a short demonstration of the included features:
May I see a sample of the Defense Industry Insider content?
Here are links to two examples of the DII content:
Note the icons on the left side as they allow you easy access to a table of contents of articles, recent updates, media gallery, and a clean print screen.
How much does DII cost?
The service is $540 if paid annually but it may also be paid monthly or quarterly at a slightly higher yearly cost.
May I pay by check or bank wire?
Yes, please contact us for information at firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you offer discounts for larger numbers of subscribers?
Yes, we offer a 25 percent discount to firms buying 5-seat licenses. Further discounts are available for larger seat-license purchases. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Do you offer a military/government/educational/nonprofit discount?
No, only the Executive Office of the President and the Office of the Secretary of Defense have rates (somewhat) discounted beyond the normal discounts for larger scale.
I would like to know whether my organization already has a license to Defense Industry Insider. How might I find that out?
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if your organization already subscribes.
Once I’ve subscribed, may I forward information from the service to colleagues?
Facts and information may be incidentally reported to clients and colleagues, but we do not allow for the copying of paragraphs or tables of information, nor do we allow for the collection of our DII content into an on-site storage device.
Evaluation of the contenders for this procurement program started in autumn 2003, but the buy was still only partly done in 2012. At which point Portugal moved to terminate the contract part-way through.