In a recent news story I read that the United States is building its next generation aircraft carrier, the FORD-class carriers. The numbers behind the USS Gerald R. Ford are impressive; about $14 billion in total cost, 224 million pounds, about 25 stories high, 1,106 feet long, and 250 feet wide. The new FORD-class aircraft carrier will be the largest, most lethal ship ever when it joins the US fleet in 2016. The scope of the ship’s construction is hard to fathom, but the anchor chain is made up of links weighing 360-pounds each.
With its nuclear power plant and extraordinary size, the Ford is manufactured only here at Newport News Shipbuilding, VA. Ships this big have to be built in a dry dock that is twenty-two-hundred-feet long and 250 feet wide.
A carrier’s effectiveness is judged by its ability to deliver lethal military force from these 4.5 acres of sovereign U.S. territory. That lethality comes in many forms — like the weapons aboard the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Sea Sparrow Missile also factors into lethality with its ability to fly four times the speed of sound, turn on a dime, and intercept anti-ship missiles more than 30 miles out.
Ford’s lethality is also enhanced by the RIM 116 short-range defensive surface to air missile and the radar-guided, rotating 20mm Gatling Gun called the Phalanx CIWS (Sea-Wiz).
The story was written with such pride but how is it possible to be proud of spending $14 billion on a tool of death and destruction when there are people starving, teachers who can’t live on their pay, people who are homeless, people losing unemployment compensation and on and on. The real needs people are endless and yet our government leaders and the dinosaurs at the head of the military organization think it is more important to build the most destructive, monstrous and expensive ship ever made.
Will this Frankenstein help with Al Qaeda? Do we need a monstrosity like this to contain the crackpot in North Korea? No, we need this because our government has lost it’s way. It is no longer the government of the people and for the people.