U.S. Navy Eyes Alternatives to Super Carriers

The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) transits alongside the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force Murasame-class destroyer JDS Samidare (DD 106) on Feb. 22, 2016, in the Philippine Sea. Providing a ready force supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, Stennis is operating as part of the Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled 7th Fleet deployment. (Photo by Ryan J. Batchelder/U.S. Navy)The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) transits alongside the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force Murasame-class destroyer JDS Samidare (DD 106) on Feb. 22, 2016, in the Philippine Sea. Providing a ready force supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, Stennis is operating as part of the Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled 7th Fleet deployment. (Photo by Ryan J. Batchelder/U.S. Navy)

The Navy is considering alternative aircraft carrier configurations for the future as it prepares for its new high-tech, next-generation design to become operational later this year, officials said.

The USS Gerald R. Ford is the first is a series of new Ford-class carriers designed with a host of emerging technologies to address anticipated future threats and bring the power-projecting platform into the next century.

Once delivered, the carrier will go through “shock trials” to test its stability in various maritime conditions and a process known as “post-shakedown availability” to prepare it for deployment. Navy leaders are now working on a special study launched last year to find ways to lower the costs of aircraft carriers and explore alternatives to the big-deck platforms.

Future carriers could be engineered with greater high-tech sensors and ship defenses, greater speed and maneuverability to avoid enemy fire and configurations which allow for more drones to launch from the deck of the ship. They could be smaller and more maneuverable with drones and longer-range precision weapons, analysts have speculated.

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Kris Osborn
Kris Osborn is the managing editor of Scout Warrior.