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Utopia Talk / Politics / US Ford to shoot fricken lasers
Sun Feb 02 12:47:33

ABOARD THE USS GERALD R. FORD IN THE VIRGINIA CAPES – The is U.S. Navy desperately trying to get away from shooting down anti-ship missiles with other missiles, and the carrier Gerald R. Ford could prove useful in the pursuit of alternatives.

A major difference with Ford over its Nimitz-class predecessors is its twin A1B nuclear reactors that produce more than three times the electrical power of the reactors on Nimitz: More than 100 megawatts.

That means Ford, with survivability questions looming over aircraft carriers generally, can support large power-sucking equipment such as lasers, according to Capt. J.J. Cummings, the Ford’ commanding officer.

“When you talk about innovation in the Navy, this is where it lives,” Cummings said, referring to his ship. “We’re lighter – designed lighter –than Nimitz class.

“Nimitz class, she’s barreling down pretty good now with a lot of stuff on her, and her electric plant is almost at maximum capacity. We’re light and designed to have excess capacity in our electrical system to bring future systems on board.”

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By: David Larter
That’s a big advantage for the class and one of the reasons the Navy has pursued the Ford class despite the controversies over buggy new technology and cost overruns. The Ford class, with its designed-in flexibility, is essential for the survivability of carriers in the future, said James Geurts, the Navy’s top acquisition official.

“Part of the reason Ford is so important is that it gives you the flexibility to generate the next generation of systems you’ll need to ensure the carrier can continue to stay survivable,” Geurts said.

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Missiles with Missiles

Bryan Clark, a retired naval officer and analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said Ford could use a boost in the survivability department and the Ford’s powerful reactors could help them get there.

“To improve the self-defense on carriers you could put lasers on there to support that short-range self-defense capacity,” Clark said.

“Because the big problem with lasers right now is power management. You can build a three or four hundred kilowatt laser but, for one, it’s a big footprint so you have to find a ship big enough to put it on; and two, you have to have the power to actually supply it. So, you’re going to need a capacitor bank somewhere on the ship or you need a generator big enough to provide it continuously. On the Ford you’d get that."

Clark has argued for years that the Navy needs to get away from trying to shoot down missiles with missiles as much as possible because a saturation attack from Russia, China, Iran, North Korea (or anyone else who might have cause to attack a U.S. Navy ship) could force a cruiser or destroyer to expend all its missiles and still not have defeated the threat.

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By: David Larter
That’s where shorter range missiles such as the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, which can be packed four-per-cell in a vertical launch system, and lasers can have a big impact, even if it means the ship has to let missiles get uncomfortably close to the ship before its taken down.

“I think lasers could make a difference for Ford because the technology is pretty mature, you could fit it on the ship and it would address a big challenge for carriers, which is air defense,” Clarks said. “You could put several lasers on there and really give a boost to your air defense capacity.”

However, it’s unlikely that lasers could address all threats the carrier faces, Clark said.

“It would be effective for cruise missiles up to maybe the super-sonic cruise missiles,” Clark said. “Of course, it would also work against small boats and things like that. It may not work that well against hypersonic missiles or ballistic missiles.”
Wrath of Orion
Sun Feb 02 12:49:35
Still not enough to run a flux capacitor. Fail.
large member
Sun Feb 02 13:02:49
Someone has screwed up badly if your carriers are ever in a position where somebody is lobbing short range, sub-sonic missile at them.

So at best a fail-safe to protect against fuck-ups.

But the only concrete thing here is that the class has more power available than it needs.

The Navy is also looking into producing synthetic aviation fuel with the excess power. Re other thread on those kind of things.
Sun Feb 02 14:05:50
Or there could be a specific reason for the power capacity they are not revealing using power gulping defences lasers as a cover. What tech would need more than 100 megawatts?
large member
Sun Feb 02 14:22:28
Electromagnetic launchers need 500 MW while launching aircraft. Do they count?
Sun Feb 02 14:44:01
Well they do say that the design is made to have capabilities of being able to add on/ upgrade later.
large member
Sun Feb 02 15:08:48
Thing is, excessive reactor capacity assumes you are doing something all the time.

A fast discharge 75 kwh battery pack can give 25 MW for 10 seconds.

So perhaps the navy is envisioning power-outs a carrier home ports. The ships spend most of their time in ports anyway, so why not supply the grid?
Sun Feb 02 15:19:46
Is it green energy?
large member
Sun Feb 02 15:40:16
Ah, I see. It wants to launch aircraft in succession and does not want to tow a barge behind it filled with battery packs. So needs fast recharge capability.

The old reactors supplied 100 MW electrical
The new ones supply 125 MW

Assuming 25 MW spare capacity, then the Ford can sustain the launch of set of 3 aircraft every 20 seconds with a 500 MW fast charge/discharge mechnical battery. So say 1 every 30 seconds.

Those newfangled electrolaunchers need a serious amount of power.

So I wrote that and checked the numbers. I was close. It can launch 3 aircraft every 45 seconds, or 4 aircraft every 60 seconds until the deck is cleared.

There are 4 catapults, but only 3 lifts.

It is of course trying to figure out what else to do with all that electicity when not actually launching aircraft.

So synthetic fuel would be one thing. Lasers another. Laser light shows would be a third thing. But that is merely my suggestion.
large member
Sun Feb 02 15:42:32
Time is in other words important. The actual energy use of launching the aircraft is about what a gallon of gasoline contains.

But the navy wants lots in a very short period of time. The equivalent of setting a match to a gallon of gasoline.

Hence the oversized reactors.
large member
Sun Feb 02 18:19:16
I seldom say this, but Trump may be right to dislike them.
large member
Mon Feb 03 09:38:24
Understandable? The ships were built with lots of power so the electromagnetic catapults can launch aircraft at the same frequency as the old steam catapults.

Carriers launch aircraft say 5% of the time. The carrier has excess power the other 95%.

The navy is basically brainstorming to come up with ideas of what to do.
large member
Mon Feb 03 09:38:46
Also, you are now to be known as haby.
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