The American shipbuilding company Huntington Ingalls Industries announced that shipbuilders at its Newport News Shipbuilding division recently completed the installation of more than 14 million feet (approx. 4,3 million meters) of electrical and fiber optic cable on the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).
The company said that 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.
Rolf Bartschi, Newport News’ vice president of CVN 78 carrier construction, said: “Ford’s increased electrical capacity makes this ship unique. 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.
According to Huntington Ingalls Industries, 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.