Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) announced today that shipbuilders at its Newport News Shipbuilding division recently completed the installation of more than 14 million feet of electrical and fiber optic cable on the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)—enough to reach from Earth to the International Space Station more than 10 times.
Gerald R. Ford’s design makes a significant leap to electrical power. With more than 10 million feet of electrical cable and 4 million of fiber optic cable, the ship’s electrical power replaces several legacy steam-powered systems onboard and brings extra electrical capacity to the ship for future technologies.
“Ford’s increased electrical capacity makes this ship unique,” said Rolf Bartschi, Newport News’ vice president of CVN 78 carrier construction. “The Ford-class aircraft carrier establishes the most capable, lethal and flexible platform for the Navy to incorporate the latest technologies. This platform equips the warfighter with the best weaponry, communications and operating systems that our nation has today. Electrical systems take less manpower to operate and maintain, so in terms of costs, the shift toward electrical not only improves the flexibility of the ship’s technologies, it also reduces operating and maintenance costs during the carrier’s 50-year service life.”
The Gerald R. Ford class’s design shifts away from steam power. The transition from steam to electrical power includes the carrier’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), which contributes to a 33 percent increase in sortie generation rate compared to Nimitz-class carriers and steam catapults.
The millions of feet of cable make up the carrier’s electrical distribution system. The system provides the ship with over 250 percent more electrical capacity than previous carriers. This electrical capacity will help the ship load weapons and launch aircraft faster than older carriers. The increase in Gerald R. Ford’s fiber optic cables improves automations systems and data networks used by sailors onboard.