Gerald R. Ford (CVN78) Photo by Chris Oxley

CAPITOL HILL: Sen. John McCain says the $4.7 billion overrun on the Navy’s new Ford-class aircraft carriers is “unacceptable.” That’s understandable. But Congress’s own investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office, told McCain today it’s also “predictable.” Given our broken acquisition system, huge cost and schedule overruns on new designs are the norm, GAO said, adding… Keep reading →

A Navy F-35C conducts its first-ever arrested landing aboard the carrier USS Nimitz

WASHINGTON: The conference version of the defense policy bill for 2016 puts the Navy on notice in multiple high-priority programs. In three areas — carriers, the UCLASS drone, and LCS — Sen. John McCain‘s tough positions prevailed over the House, albeit with some compromises around the edges. In a fourth — Ticonderoga-class cruisers — it was a House leader,… Keep reading →

Rear Adm. David Johnson

WASHINGTON: When the Navy named its next top sub-builder, Rear Adm. Michael Jabaley, back in July, I wondered where the submariner he was replacing would surface. Now we know: The Pentagon announced late yesterday that Rear Adm. David Johnson will pin  on his third star and become the top uniformed acquisition official in the Navy… Keep reading →

A computer-generated image of a Royal Navy F-35B taking off vertically from the new carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, which will be commissioned July 4th.

WASHINGTON: The United Kingdom is committed to a high-end battle fleet centered on two aircraft carriers, a senior Ministry of Defense official made clear yesterday. Just as important, the UK is committed to funding adequate crews to sail them — something that had been in doubt after much discussion about cutting costs by effectively mothballing the… Keep reading →

USS Harry Truman

WASHINGTON: The Navy says it won’t have an aircraft carrier in the Middle East for a couple of months this fall. That news has caused a lot of anxiety — but we may be worried about the wrong thing. The real problem may not be the gap itself but the price the Navy pays to close… Keep reading →

Lockheed Martin's UCLASS concept.

WASHINGTON: Overstretched as they are, the Navy’s 10 aircraft carriers remain unequalled icons of American might. But the ugly truth is they’re not as mighty as they might be. The maximum range of carrier-borne strike aircraft has eroded over the last quarter century. Even the Navy’s future fighter, the F-35C, will have an unrefueled range of about 600… Keep reading →

Navy photo

The geostrategic sky isn’t falling because the US won’t have an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf region for a period this fall. Land-based aircraft will do an excellent job of striking ISIL, analysts say, while smaller ships are better suited to combat Iran in the tight confines of the Gulf. “This is not an example of American… Keep reading →


CAPITOL HILL: More ships. More weapons. Less waiting. That’s the essential philosophy of Rep. Randy Forbes, chairman of the House subcommittee on seapower. In the draft National Defense Authorization Act headed for mark-up next week, he certainly seems to have gotten his way — on amphibious assault ships, submarines, land-based cruise missiles, and more. “My… Keep reading →


CAPITOL HILL: The House Armed Services Committee wants to add up to six F-35B STOVL jets to the Marine Corps budget, even as it demands new oversight into Lockheed Martin’s long-troubled F-35 program. The House draft National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2016 would not add any F-35Cs, the Navy variant. Instead, it will include up to a… Keep reading →

The X-47B drone plugs into an aerial refueling tanker for the first time.

UPDATED Thursday with test results NATIONAL HARBOR, MD: “Tomorrow, actually, the weather looks good,” said Capt. Beau Duarte, the Navy’s head of carrier-launched drone programs — at least, he added cautiously, as of “right now.” If the weather holds, the Navy’s experimental X-47B drone will refuel in mid-air — the first time an unmanned aircraft has… Keep reading →

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