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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

CVN-78, CVN-79, and CVN-80 are the first three ships in the Navy’s new Gerald R. Ford (CVN- 78) class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (CVNs).

CVN-78 was procured in FY2008. The Navy’s proposed FY2014 budget estimates the ship’s procurement cost at $12,829.3 million (i.e., about $12.8 billion) in then-year dollars. The ship received advance procurement funding in FY2001-FY2007 and was fully funded in FY2008- FY2011 using congressionally authorized four-year incremental funding. The Navy did not request any procurement funding for the ship in FY2012 and FY2013. The Navy is requesting $588.1 million in procurement funding in FY2014, and plans to request another $729.0 million in procurement funding in FY2015, to cover cost growth on the ship.

CVN-79 is scheduled to be procured in FY2013. The ship received advance procurement funding in FY2007-FY2012, and the Navy plans to fully fund the ship in FY2013-FY2018 using congressionally authorized six-year incremental funding. The Navy’s proposed FY2014 budget estimates CVN-79’s procurement cost at $11,338.4 million (i.e., about $11.3 billion) in then-year dollars, and requests $944.9 million in procurement funding for the ship.

CVN-80 is scheduled to be procured in FY2018. The Navy’s proposed FY2014 budget estimates the ship’s procurement cost at $13,874.2 million (i.e., about $13.9 billion) in then-year dollars. Under the Navy’s proposed FY2014 budget, the ship is to receive advance procurement funding in FY2016-FY2017 and be fully funded in FY2018-FY2023 using congressionally authorized six-year incremental funding.

Oversight issues for Congress for the CVN-78 program include the following:

• the impact on Navy shipbuilding programs of the March 1, 2013, sequester on FY2013 funding and unobligated prior-year funding;

• the potential impact on Navy shipbuilding programs of a possible sequester later this year or early next year on FY2014 funding and unobligated prior-year funding;

• cost growth in the CVN-78 program;

• where the estimated procurement costs of CVNs 78, 79, and 80 now stand in relation to the legislated procurement cost caps for the ships, and whether the cost caps should be amended;

• the potential for a two-ship block buy on CVN-79 and CVN-80; and

• CVN-78 program issues that were raised in a December 2012 report from the Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E).

Date of Report: August 6, 2013
Number of Pages: 65
Order Number: RS20643
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