The Gerald R. Ford nuclear aircraft carrier is arguably the most powerful combat ship to ever sail the oceans today. Designed to support a very high intensity activity, and to withstand saturating attacks and multiple damage, it represents the archetype of the combat aircraft carrier intended to implement some 65 combat aircraft and ten helicopters. which form its air group on board as close as possible to the adversary. But the Gerald R. Ford class suffers from a major flaw, its price! With a unit construction cost exceeding $ 12 billion, and an overall cost of ownership of around $ 18 billion (excluding crew and on-board air group), the Fords, which were initially supposed to replace the aircraft carriers of the class Nimitz to reach a format of 12 ships, are too expensive for the US Navy, which must at the same time finance the renewal of its surface fleet, its attack submarines, and especially its nuclear submarines machine launchers.
The “trivial” solution was naturally quickly found, notably by Defense Secretary Mark Esper: just reduce the number of ships of 2 units. This reasoning was all the easier because the appearance of new missiles such as the Chinese anti-ship missiles DF-21D and DF-26, or the upcoming arrival of the Russian 3M22 Tzirkon hypersonic anti-ship missile, seems to condemn in the medium term the naval supremacy of aircraft carriers inherited from the Second World War. But the US Navy has a whole different view of the problem. Indeed, as long as the tactical air weapon remains at the heart of the offensive and defensive devices of any military action, and as long as these aircraft will not be able to cover distances of more than 5000 to 10.000 km, the aircraft carrier will remain the target. only relevant and effective weapon to fight on the oceans, and to cover amphibious actions.
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