NIMITZ vs FORD class: TOP 5 IMPROVEMENTS
AUTOMATION & AIR CONDITIONING:
Ford-class has beed designed keeping in mind the cost of an individual sailor. The ship is more automated than any before it, which gives it increased capability with reduced crew.
Automation has been implemented wherever possible, which has reduced crew size ,which in turns lower operating cost.
Ford-class carriers total of only 2,600 sailors, about 700 fewer than a Nimitz-class.
Considering the 50 years life span of the carrier, this will translate to billions of dollars in saving.
The carrier has fully air conditioned crew compartments , drastically improving the living condition of the crews and help in getting more out of each crew.
ELECTROMAGNETIC AIRCRAFT LAUNCH SYSTEM:
Nimitz-class carriers got planes moving for takeoff using steam-actuated catapults. The system required a lot of steam piping, a large condensate return, and tons of fresh water. They also have a lot of maintenance issues.
Plus, with steam-actuation, the majority of the force is being transferred to the airplane at the beginning of the stroke—in a jolt. This puts stress on an airframe, and thus reduces lifespan of the multi-million dollar planes.
Ford class uses Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS). The system uses linear induction motor with an electric current to generate a magnetic field. That field then propels a carriage down a track. Since the power delivery is linear, it negates the deficiencies of steam catapult.
MORE POWER & BETTER EFFICIENCY:
The heart of any aircraft carriers are the nuclear reactors which provide the required power.
Ford class has newly designed reactors.
2 Bechtel A1B nuclear reactors are installed on each Ford-class carrier.
Each one these are capable of producing 300 MW of electricity, triple the 100 MW of each Nimitz-class.
The huge power supply provides for the leg room, required for future expansions like inducting Laser Guns
Also, compared to the Nimitz-class reactor, the Ford reactor have about half as many valves, piping, major pumps, condensers, and generators which reduced maintenance cost and lower space requirements.
Ford class has an integrated Active electronically scanned array search and tracking radar system. The dual-band radar (DBR) utilizes a multi tier, dual-band tracker, which consists of a local X band tracker, a local S band tracker, and a central tracker. The central tracker merges the two signals to provide a comprehensive situational awareness.
The X band tracker is optimized for low latency to support its mission of providing defense against fast, low-flying missiles, while the S band tracker is optimized for large area coverage.
This new system has no moving parts, therefore minimizes maintenance & manning requirements.
Also, the island is kept smaller by replacing 6 to10 radar antennas with a single six-faced radar.
BETTER DECK WITH SMALLER INLAND:
The Ford class has a newly designed deck. It has 3 aircraft elevators instead of 4 in Nimitz.
Eliminating 1 of the elevators further increased the ship's capabilities by leaving room for other things like having dedicated helicopter landing pad.
The island is also smaller and farther aft than the Nimitz‐class, this way, space for flight deck operations and aircraft maintenance is increased.
The result is impressive,Ford class is capable of generating 30 % more sorties (flight missions) per day than Nimitz‐class. This is huge gain since the offensive as well as defensive capabilities of the carrier gets a major lift.
The increased open spaces also provide for great transformational potential like ability to install directed energy weapons & deployment of unmanned aircrafts in future.