GAO report says Ford still 4 years, $780 miillion away from being fit to fight

Well, it is full speed ahead for Saturday's commissioning ceremony. But it looks like it will still be a long time before the Ford is fit to fight.

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- With just days to go until the commissioning of the aircraft carrier Gerald R Ford, a new government report is harshly critical of the ship.

According to Government Accountability Office, it will take another four years, and it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars more before the warship is combat-ready.

The report says the Navy probably will still need to spend as much as $780 million to finish deferred work, correct deficiencies and conduct Pentagon-mandated shock tests and other outfitting on the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford.

The Government Accountability Office said delays and a cost increase of as much as 22 percent since 2010 for construction led the Navy to accept delivery of the Ford "with a substantial amount of incomplete work."

The agency said the ship, constructed at Newport News Shipbuilding,  has "yet to complete its navigation certification and cyber security inspection," nor does it have all the certifications necessary "to conduct aviation operations, among other things."

Despite all that, the ship's captain is confident the bugs can and will be worked out.

"With all new technology there's risks. And that's why we're here is to go down and shake them down and make sure it's working right," said Captain Rick McCormack.

First District Congressman Rob Wittman, serves as Chairman of the House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.

in a statement to 13News Now, he defended the Ford, saying:

"Like most first-in-class ships, the USS GERALD R. FORD (CVN 78) experienced some production delays mainly caused by incorporating innovative technologies on an aircraft carrier for the very first time.  State of the art launching and recovery systems, phased array radar, and re-designed propulsion systems will ensure that the Ford-class CVNs remain more capable than our adversaries’ for years to come.  I am encouraged by the USS FORD’s recent successful completion of acceptance trials and look forward to her commissioning in July.  She will be a vital asset to our Fleet for decades to come, especially as we build up to a force of 12 aircraft carriers."

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