- Bestselling Series
- Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier
- Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress
Similar Papers. Figures, Tables, and Topics from this paper. Figures and Tables. Citations Publications citing this paper. Navy supports naval aviation Andrew B. References Publications referenced by this paper. The U. Schank , Mark V. Arena , Denis H. Rushworth , John L. Birkler , James R.
Chewning , Irv , Tak Eto. Modernizing the U. Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. To learn more about how to request items watch this short online video. You can view this on the NLA website. Login Register. New search User lists Site feedback Ask a librarian Help. Advanced search Search history. Browse titles authors subjects uniform titles series callnumbers dewey numbers starting from optional.
See what's been added to the collection in the current 1 2 3 4 5 6 weeks months years. Your reader barcode: Your last name:. Cite this Email this Add to favourites Print this page. We're doing everything we can to stay within the existing cap and we'll keep Congress informed as we complete our post-delivery assessment. Problem is we haven't been informed. You haven't done either one. Sir, we've been submitting monthly reports regarding the carrier, we've alerted the concern regarding the repairs that are being required for the motor turbine generator set and we've acknowledged the risk associated with those repairs.
However, what we're trying to do is not incur those costs, avoid cost by other means, and as of right now we're not ready to trip that cost cap. Well, it's either not allowable or it's allowable. It's not allowable, then you take a certain course of action. If it's allowable then you're required to notify Congress. You have done neither. If we need to incur those costs, they will be allowable costs. We're trying to avoid that at this stage of time, sir.
I agree, but we were supposed to be notified—OK. I can tell you that you are either in violation of Nunn-McCurdy or you are in violation of the requirement that we be notified. There's two scenarios. Sir, we have not broached the cost cap. If it becomes apparent that we'll need to go above the cost cap, we will notify Congress within—within the terms that you all have established. If it's not allowable, Nunn-McCurdy is—is reached. But anyway, maybe you can give us a more satisfactory explanation in writing, Mr.
The cost estimate for the second Ford-Class aircraft carrier, CVN 79, is not reliable and does not address lessons learned from the performance of the lead ship, CVN Cost growth for the lead ship was driven by challenges with technology development, design, and construction, compounded by an optimistic budget estimate. Instead of learning from the mistakes of CVN 78, the Navy developed an estimate for CVN 79 that assumes a reduction in labor hours needed to construct the ship that is unprecedented in the past 50 years of aircraft carrier construction CVN 79's estimate is optimistic compared to the labor hour reductions calculated in independent cost reviews conducted in by the Naval Center for Cost Analysis and the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation.
Navy analysis shows that the CVN 79 cost estimate may not sufficiently account for program risks, with the current budget likely insufficient to complete ship construction. The Navy's current reporting mechanisms, such as budget requests and annual acquisition reports to Congress, provide limited insight into the overall Ford Class program and individual ship costs.
For example, the program requests funding for each ship before that ship obtains an independent cost estimate. In addition, the program's Selected Acquisition Reports SAR —annual cost, status, and performance reports to Congress—provide only aggregate program cost for all three ships currently in the class, a practice that limits transparency into individual ship costs.
As a result, Congress has diminished ability to oversee one of the most expensive programs in the defense portfolio. Sustained efforts to identify cost reductions and drive improved cost and schedule performance on this first-of-class aircraft carrier have resulted in highly stable cost performance since Based on lessons learned on CVN 78, the approach to carrier construction has undergone an extensive affordability review and the Navy and the shipbuilder have made significant changes on CVN 79 to reduce the cost to build the ship.
The benefits of these changes in build strategy and resolution of first-of-class impacts experienced on CVN 78 are evident in early production labor metrics on CVN These efforts are ongoing and additional process improvements continue to be identified. To this end, the Navy has further emphasized stability in requirements, design, schedule, and budget, in order to drive further improvement to CVN 79 cost.
The FY President's Budget requests funding for the most efficient build strategy for this ship and we look for Congress' full support of this request to enable CVN 79 procurement at the lowest possible cost The Navy will deliver the CVN 79 within the cost cap using a two-phased strategy wherein select ship systems and compartments that are more efficiently completed at a later stage of construction - to avoid obsolescence or to leverage competition or the use of experienced installation teams - will be scheduled for completion in the ship's second phase of production and test.
Enterprise CVN 80 began construction planning and long lead time material procurement in January and construction is scheduled to begin in The FY President's Budget request re-phases CVN 80 funding to support a more efficient production profile, critical to performance, below the cost cap.
CVN 80 planning and construction will continue to leverage class lessons learned to achieve cost and risk reduction, including efforts to accelerate production work to earlier phases of construction, where work is more cost efficient. Below are excerpts from the prepared statements of the witnesses at the hearing. BUSH CVN 77 , as the starting point for insertion of some near term technology improvements including information network technology and the new Dual Band Radar DBR system from the DD X now DDG program, to create an integrated warfare system that combined the ship's combat system and air wing mission planning functions.
However, the then incoming Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in directed re-examination of the CVN program, among others, to reduce the overall spend of the department and increase the speed of delivery to the warfighters. As a result of the SECDEF's direction, the Navy proposed to remove the evolutionary approach and included a new and enlarged flight deck, an increased allowance for future technologies including electric weapons , and an additional manpower reduction of to fewer sailors to operate. The ship was renamed the CVN to highlight these changes.
By Milestone B in April , the Navy had evaluated the technologies intended for three ships, removed some of them, and consolidated the remaining ones into a single step of capability improvement on the lead ship. The new plan acknowledged technological, cost, and schedule challenges were being put on a single ship, but assessed this was achievable.
The result was the discovery that the Industrial Base had consolidated, that excessive oversight and complex acquisition processes were cost and schedule drivers, and a focus on requirements stability was key to containing costs. On the heels of a delay because of the budgetary constraints in , the start of the construction of CVN 78 was delayed until , but the schedule for delivery was held constant, further compounding risks and costs.
The Navy's testimony covers these technical and schedule risks and concurrency challenges well. This legislation required a root-cause assessment of the program and assumed program termination within 60 days of notification unless DOD certified in writing that the program remained essential to national security. WSARA had real impact on the CVN 78, as by and the results of all the previous decisions were instantiated in growth of cost and schedule. Faced with a need to reduce cost on the DDG program and the resultant curtailment of the program, the expectation of development costs being borne by the DDG program was no longer the case and all of the costs associated with the S-band element development and a higher share of the X-band element then had to be supported by the CVN 78 program.
Our view of AAG is that these engineering design problems are now in the past and although delivery of several critical components have been delayed, the system will achieve its needed capabilities before undergoing final operational testing prior to deployment of the ship. Again, reliability growth is a concern, but this cannot be improved until a fully functional system is installed and operating at the Lakehurst, New Jersey land based test site, and on board CVN Navy's use of the "Gate" process has stabilized the cost growth and reset good business practices.
- Work: a Story of Experience;
- Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier.
- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
- Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier - Wikiwand.
However, there is still much to do. EMALS and AAG are also a concern with regard to final operational testing stemming from the development difficulties that each experienced. The Navy still needs to complete a significant amount of land-based testing to enable certification of the systems to launch and recover the full range of aircraft that it is required to operate under both normal and emergency conditions.
This land-based testing is planned to complete before the final at-sea operational testing for these systems begins Our review of the Navy's plan for maintaining control of the cost for CVN 79 included an understanding of the application of lessons learned from the construction of CVN 78 along with the application of a more efficient construction plan for the ship including introduction of competition where possible.
We have established an excellent relationship with the Navy to work together to change process and policies that have impacted the ability of the program to succeed, to include revitalizing the acquisition workforce and their skills. However, the Navy is in the process of developing a new schedule, so some dates may change. The maturity of these systems is generally not at the level that would be desired at this stage in the program; for example, the CVN 78 test program is revealing problems with the DBR typical of discoveries in early developmental testing.
Resolving the uncertainties in the reliability and performance of these systems is critical to CVN 78's primary function of conducting combat operations. CVN 78 has design features intended to enhance its ability to launch, recover, and service aircraft. EMALS and AAG are key systems planned to provide new capabilities for launching and recovering aircraft that are heavier and lighter than typically operated on Nimitz-class carriers.
DBR is intended to enhance radar coverage on CVN 78 in support of air traffic control and ship self-defense. DBR is planned to reduce some of the known sensor limitations on Nimitz-class carriers that utilize legacy radars. Poor AAG reliability in developmental testing led to the need to re-design components of that system.
- Design features.
- Proposal « Nimitz-Class Supercarriers.
- A Brief Biography of Beethoven;
In addition, performance problems with these systems are continuing to be discovered. Due to known problems with current aircraft carrier combat systems, there is significant risk CVN 78 will not achieve its self-defense requirements. Although the CVN 78 design incorporates several combat system improvements relative to the Nimitz-class, these improvements if achieved are unlikely to correct all of the known shortfalls. Testing on other ships with similar combat systems has highlighted deficiencies in weapon employment timelines, sensor coverage, system track management, and deficiencies with the recommended engagement tactics.
Most of these limitations are likely to affect CVN 78 and I continue to view this as a significant risk to the CVN 78's ability to defend itself against attacks by the challenging anti-ship cruise missile and other threats proliferating worldwide. This decision was reversed in August by the Deputy Secretary of Defense.
Historically, FSSTs for new ship classes have identified for the first time numerous mission-critical failures the Navy had to address to ensure the new ships were survivable in combat. We can expect that CVN 78's FSST results will have significant and substantial implications on future carriers in the Ford-class and any subsequent new class of carriers. I also have concerns with manning and berthing on CVN The Navy designed CVN 78 to have reduced manning to reduce life-cycle costs, but Navy analyses of manning on CVN 78 have identified problems in manning and berthing.
The inevitable lessons we will learn from the CVN 78 FSST will have significant implications for CVN 78 combat operations, as well as for the construction of future carriers incorporating the ship's advanced systems; therefore, the FSST should be conducted on CVN 78 as soon as it is feasible to do so.
This approach recognized the significant risk of concurrently developing and integrating new technologies into a new ship design incrementally as follows:. Design goals for achieving reduced manning and improved maintainability were also defined. Early in the last decade, however, a significant push was made within DOD for a more transformational approach to delivering warfighting capability. As a result, in , DOD altered the program acquisition strategy by transitioning to the new aircraft carrier class in a single transformational leap vice an incremental three ship strategy.
Further, due to budget constraints, CVN 78 would start construction a year later in with a NIMITZ Class hull form but would entail a major re-design to accommodate all the new technologies from the three ship evolutionary technology insertion plan. The program entered system development and demonstration, containing the shift to a single ship acquisition strategy.
The start of CVN 78 construction was then delayed by an additional year until due to budget constraints. As a result, the traditional serial evolution of technology development, ship concept design, detail design, and construction — including a total of 23 developmental systems incorporating new technologies originally planned across CVN 77, CVNX1, CVNX2 - were compressed and overlapped within the program baseline for the CVN Today, the Navy is confronting the impacts of this compression and concurrency, as well as changes to assumptions made in the program planning more than a decade ago Given the lengthy design, development, and build span associated with major warships, there is a certain amount of overlap or concurrency that occurs between the development of new systems to be delivered with the first ship, the design information for those new systems, and actual construction.
Since this overlap poses cost and schedule risk for the lead ship of the class, program management activities are directed at mitigating this overlap to the maximum extent practicable. The cumulative impact of this high degree of concurrency significantly exceeded the risk attributed to any single new system or risk issue and ultimately manifested itself in terms of delay and cost growth in each element of program execution; development, design, material procurement government and contractor , and construction Shipbuilder actions to resolve first-of-class issues retired much of the schedule risks to launch, but at an unstable cost.
First-of-class construction and material delays led the Navy to revise the launch date in March from July to November Nevertheless, the four-month delay in launch allowed increased outfitting and ship construction that were most economically done prior to ship launch, such as completion of blasting and coating operations for all tanks and voids, installation of the six DBR arrays, and increased installations of cable piping, ventilation, electrical boxes, bulkheads and equipment foundations. As a result, CVN 78 launched at 70 percent complete and 77, tons displacement — the highest levels yet achieved in aircraft carrier construction.
This high state of completion at launch enabled improved outfitting, compartment completion, an efficient transition into the shipboard test program, and the on-time completion of key milestones such as crew move aboard. With the advent of the shipboard test program, first time energization and grooming of new systems have required more time than originally planned. As a result, the Navy expects the sea trial schedule to be delayed about six to eight weeks. The exact impact on ship delivery will be determined based on the results of these trials. Additionally, at delivery, AAG will not have completed its shipboard test program.
- Site-wide navigation.
- Oh no, there's been an error.
- Modernizing the U.S. Aircraft Carrier Fleet;
The program has not been able to fully mitigate the effect of a two-year delay in AAG equipment deliveries to the ship. The AAG shipboard test and certification program will complete in time to support aircraft launch and recovery operations in summer The Navy, in coordination with the shipbuilder and major component providers, implemented a series of actions and initiatives in the management and oversight of CVN 78 that crossed the full span of contracting, design, material procurement, GFE, production planning, production management and oversight.
The Secretary of the Navy directed a detailed review of the CVN 78 program build plan to improve end-to-end aircraft carrier design, material procurement, production planning, build and test, the results of which are providing benefit across all carriers.
These corrective measures include:. Shipbuilder cost performance has been on-target or better since this contract change. However, the shipbuilder remains incentivized by the contract shareline to improve upon current cost performance. Periodic reviews continue. Much of the impact to cost performance was attributable to shipbuilder and government material cost overruns.
The Navy and shipbuilder have made significant improvements upon material ordering and delivery to the shipyard to mitigate the significant impact of material delays on production performance. Achieving the program's cost improvement targets required that CVN 78 increase its level of completion at launch, from 60 percent to 70 percent. To achieve this and drive greater focus on system completion:. This ultimately delayed launch, but drove up pre-outfitting to the highest levels for CVN new construction which has helped stabilize cost and improve test program and compartment completion performance relative to CVN These initiatives, which summarize a more detailed list of actions being implemented and tracked as a result of the end-to-end review, were accompanied by important management changes.
These bi-weekly reviews will continue through delivery. The series of actions taken by the Navy and the shipbuilder are achieving the desired effect of arresting cost growth, establishing stability, and have resulted in no changes in the Government's estimate at completion over the past four years. The Department of the Navy is continuing efforts to identify cost reductions, drive improved cost and schedule performance, and manage change.
This guidance only allows changes for safety, contractual defects, testing and trial deficiencies, statutory and regulatory changes that are accompanied by funding and value engineering change proposals with instant contract savings. While the historical average for contractual change level is approximately 10 percent of the construction cost for the lead ship of a new class, CVN 78 has maintained a change order budget of less than four percent to date despite the high degree of concurrent design and development. Finally, the Navy has identified certain areas of the ship whose completion is not required for delivery, such as berthing spaces for the aviation detachment, and has removed this work from the shipbuilder's contract.
By performing this deferred work in the post-delivery period using CVN 78 end cost funding, it can be competed and accomplished at lower cost and risk to the overall ship delivery schedule The Navy and the shipbuilder conducted an extensive affordability review of carrier construction and made significant changes to deliver CVN 79 at the lowest possible cost.
These changes are focused on eliminating the largest impacts to cost performance identified during the construction of CVN 78 as well as furthering improvements in future carrier construction. The Navy outlined cost savings initiatives in its Report to Congress in May, , and is executing according to plan. Stability in requirements, design, schedule, and budget, are essential to controlling and improving CVN 79 cost, and therefore is of highest priority for the program. At the time of construction contract award, CVN 79 has percent of the design product model complete compared to 65 percent for CVN 78 and 80 percent of initial drawings released.
A completed FORD Class design enabled the shipbuilder to fully understand the "whole ship" bill of materials for CVN 79 construction and to more effectively manage the procurement of those materials with the knowledge of material lead times and qualified sources accrued from CVN 78 construction. The shipbuilder is able to order ship-set quantities of material, with attendant cost benefits, and to ensure CVN 79 material will arrive on time to support construction need.
Extensive improvements have been put in place for CVN 79 material procurement to drive both cost reductions associated with more efficient procurement strategies and production labor improvements associated with improved material availability. Improved material availability is also a critical enabler to many construction efficiency improvements in CVN The shipbuilder has developed an entirely new material procurement and management strategy for CVN This new strategy consists of eight separate initiatives The shipbuilder and the Navy have performed a comprehensive review of the build strategy and processes used in construction of CVN 78 Class aircraft carriers as well as consulted with other Navy shipbuilders on best practices.
As a result, the shipbuilder has identified and implemented a number of changes in the way they build aircraft carriers, with a dedicated focus on executing construction activities where they can most efficiently be performed. The CVN 79 build sequence installs 20 percent more parts in shop, and 30 percent more parts on the final assembly platen, as compared to CVN This work will result in an increase in pre-outfitting and work being pulled to earlier stages in the construction process where it is most efficiently accomplished In conjunction with the Navy and the shipbuilder's comprehensive review of the build strategy and processes used in construction of CVN 78 Class aircraft carriers, a number of design changes were identified that would result in more affordable construction.
Some of these design changes were derived from lessons learned in the construction of CVN 78 and others seek to further simplify the construction process and drive cost down In addition to the major focus discussed above, the shipbuilder continues to implement capital improvements to facilities that serve to reduce risk and improve productivity To enhance CVN 79 build efficiency and affordability, the Navy is implementing a two-phase delivery plan. The two-phase strategy will allow the basic ship to be constructed and tested in the most efficient manner by the shipbuilder Phase I while enabling select ship systems and compartments to be completed in Phase II, where the work can be completed more affordably through competition or the use of skilled installation teams The CVN 80 planning and construction will continue to leverage class lessons learned in the effort to achieve cost and risk reduction for remaining FORD Class ships.
The CVN 80 strategy seeks to improve on CVN 79 efforts to frontload as much work as possible to the earliest phases of construction, where work is both predictable and more cost efficient While delivery of the first-of-class FORD has involved challenges, those challenges are being addressed and this aircraft carrier class will provide great value to our Nation with unprecedented and greatly needed warfighting capability at overall lower total ownership cost than a NIMITZ Class CVN.
The Navy has taken major steps to stem the tide of increasing costs and drive affordability into carrier acquisition. The Ford-class aircraft carrier's lead ship began construction with an unrealistic business case.
Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier
A sound business case balances the necessary resources and knowledge needed to transform a chosen concept into a product. Yet in , GAO found that CVN 78 costs were underestimated and critical technologies were immature—key risks that would impair delivering CVN 78 at cost, on-time, and with its planned capabilities. The ship and its business case were nonetheless approved. Over the past 8 years, the business case has predictably decayed in the form of cost growth, testing delays, and reduced capability—in essence, getting less for more.
Land-based tests of key technologies have been deferred by years while the ship's construction schedule has largely held fast. The CVN 78 is unlikely to achieve promised aircraft launch and recovery rates as key systems are unreliable. The ship must complete its final, more complex, construction phase concurrent with key test events. While problems are likely to be encountered, there is no margin for the unexpected. Additional costs are likely. Similarly, the business case for CVN 79 is not realistic.
Clearly, CVN 79 should cost less than CVN 78, as it will incorporate lessons learned on construction sequencing and other efficiencies. While it may cost less than its predecessor, CVN 79 is likely to cost more than estimated. As GAO found in November , the Navy's strategy to achieve the cost cap relies on optimistic assumptions of construction efficiencies and cost savings—including unprecedented reductions in labor hours, shifting work until after ship delivery, and delivering the ship with the same baseline capability as CVN 78 by postponing planned mission system upgrades and modernizations until future maintenance periods.
Today, with CVN 78 over 92 percent complete as it reaches delivery in May , and the CVN 79 on contract, the ability to exercise oversight and make course corrections is limited. Yet, it is not too late to examine the carrier's acquisition history to illustrate the dynamics of shipbuilding—and weapon system—acquisition and the challenges they pose to acquisition reform. The carrier's problems are by no means unique; rather, they are quite typical of weapon systems. Such outcomes persist despite acquisition reforms the Department of Defense and Congress have put forward—such as realistic estimating and "fly before buy.
These incentives are more powerful than policies to follow best acquisition practices and oversight tools. Moreover, the budget process provides incentives for programs to be funded before sufficient knowledge is available to make key decisions. Complementing these incentives is a marketplace characterized by a single buyer, low volume, and limited number of major sources. The decades-old culture of undue optimism when starting programs is not the consequence of a broken process, but rather of a process in equilibrium that rewards unrealistic business cases and, thus, devalues sound practices.
Michael Manazir, Director, Air Warfare We want to build the ship in the most efficient manner possible," Rear Adm. Moore explained that part of the goal is to get to the point where a Ford-class carrier can be built for the same amount of man-hours it took to build their predecessor ships, the Nimitz-class carriers. The money will invest in new approaches and explore the processes that a shipyard can use to build the ship, Moore added. These new welding machines allow the welder to use different configurations.
This has significantly improved the throughput that the shipyard has," Moore said, citing an example of the kind of thing the funds would be used for. The funds will also look into whether new coatings for the ship or welding techniques can be used and whether millions of feet of electrical cabling can be installed in a more efficient manner, Moore added. Other cost saving efforts assisted by the funding include the increased use of complex assemblies, common integrated work packages, automated plate marking, weapons elevator door re-design and vertical build strategies, Navy officials said.
Shipbuilders could also use a new strategy of having work crews stay on the same kind of work for several weeks at a time in order to increase efficiency, Moore said. Also, some of the construction work done on the USS Ford while it was in dry dock is now being done in workshops and other areas to improve the building process, he added.
Newport News Shipbuilding will see cost reduction on the order of 18 percent fewer man hours overall from the first Ford-class aircraft carrier to the second, according to a company representative. This reduction was facilitated by the investments the shipyard is making in carrier construction, as well as lessons learned from the first ship, the Gerald R. Ford CVN , which will deliver next year. As better information, such as updated labor rates, became available, the office "revised its estimate to a more accurate number," he said.
He said this reduction is only a first step in taking cost ouot of the carrier program.
But beyond seeking ways to take cost out, the contract itself reduces the risk to the government, Moore said. Without getting into specific dollar amounts due to business sensitivities, Moore explained that "this is the lowest target fee we've ever had on any CVN new construction. Look at tghe shape of the share [government-contractor cost] share lines, because the share lines at the end of the day are a measure of risk. The other thing is ceiling price—on a fixed-price contract, the ceiling price is the government's maximum liability. And on this particular contract, again, it is the lowest ceiling price we've ever had [for a CVN].
At a February 25, , hearing on Department of the Navy acquisition programs, Department of the Navy officials testified the following:. Sustained efforts to identify cost reductions and drive improved cost and schedule on this first-of-class aircraft carrier have resulted in highly stable performance since As a result of the lessons learned on CVN 78, the approach to carrier construction has undergone an extensive affordability review.
The Navy and the shipbuilder have made significant changes on CVN 79 to reduce the cost to build the ship as detailed in the CVN 79 report to Congress. The benefits of these changes in build strategy and resolution of first-of-class impacts on CVN 79 are evident in metrics showing significantly reduced man-hours for completed work from CVN The Navy extended the CVN 79 construction preparation contract into to enable continuation of ongoing planning, construction, and material procurement while capturing lessons learned associated with lead ship construction and early test results.
This will be a fixed price-type contract. Additionally, the Navy will deliver the CVN 79 using a two-phased strategy.
Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This enables select ship systems and compartments to be completed in a second phase, wherein the work can be completed more efficiently through competition or the use of skilled installation teams responsible for these activities. This approach, key to delivering CVN 79 at the lowest cost, also enables the Navy to procure and install shipboard electronic systems at the latest date possible. In transitioning from first-of-class to first follow ships, the Navy has maintained Ford class requirements and the design is highly stable.
Similarly, we have imposed strict interval controls to drive changes to the way we do business in order to ensure CVN 79 is delivered below the cost cap. To this same end, the FY President's Budget request aligns funding to the most efficient build strategy for this ship and we look for Congress' full support of this request to enable CVN 79 to be procured at the lowest possible cost. The FY request re-phases CVN 80 closer to the optimal profile, therefore reducing the overall ship cost. The Navy will continue to investigate and will incorporate further cost reduction initiatives, engineering efficiencies, and lessons learned from CVN 78 and CVN Future cost estimates for CVN 80 will be updated for these future efficiencies as they are identified.
In its prepared statement for a May 8, , hearing on Navy shipbuilding programs before the Seapower subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Navy stated that. In , the Navy identified spiraling cost growth [on CVN] associated with first of class non-recurring design, contractor and government furnished equipment, and ship production issues on the lead ship.
The Navy completed an end-to-end review of CVN 78 construction in December and, with the shipbuilder, implemented a series of corrective actions to stem, and to the extent possible, reverse these trends. While cost performance has stabilized, incurred cost growth is irreversible As a result of lessons learned on CVN 78, the approach to carrier construction has undergone an extensive affordability review; and the Navy and the shipbuilder have made significant changes on CVN 79 that will reduce the cost to build the ship.
CVN 79 construction will start with a complete design, firm requirements, and material economically procured and on hand in support of production need. The ship's build schedule also provides for increased completion levels at each stage of construction with resulting improved production efficiencies Inarguably, this new class of aircraft carrier brings forward tremendous capability and life-cycle cost advantages compared to the NIMITZ-class it will replace. However, the design, development and construction efforts required to overcome the technical challenges inherent to these advanced capabilities have significantly impacted cost performance on the lead ship.
The Navy continues implementing actions from the detailed review of the FORD-Class build plan to control cost and improve performance across lead and follow ship contracts. This effort, taken in conjunction with a series of corrective actions with the shipbuilder on the lead ship, will not recover costs to original targets for GERALD R.
First, the cost growth on the CVN is unacceptable. The cost growth dates back in time to the very basic concepts that went into take in the Nimitz-class and doing a total redesign of the Nimitz class to get to a level of capability and to reduce operating and support cost for the future carrier.
Far too much risk was carried into the design of the first of the Ford-class. Cost growth stems to the design was moving at the time production started. The vendor base that was responsible for delivering new components and material to support the ship production was inaudible with new developments in the vendor base and production plan do not account for the material ordering difficulties, the material delivery difficulties and some of the challenges associated with building a whole new design compared to the Nimitz Sir, for CVN, we have—we have held up the expenditures on CVN as we go through the details of—one, ensuring that the design of the 78 is complete and repeated for the 79s [sic] that we start with a clean design.
Two, we're going through the material procurement. We brought a third party into assessment material-buying practices at Newport News to bring down the cost of material. And we're metering out the dollars for buying material until it hits the objectives that we're setting for CVN through rewriting the build plan on CVN If you take a look at how the 78 is being constructed, far too much work is being accomplished late in the build cycle. So we are rewriting the build plan for CVN, do more work in the shops where it's more efficient, more work in the buildings where it's more efficient, less work in the dry dock, less work on the water.
And then we're going after the rates—the labor rates and the investments needed by the shipbuilder to achieve these efficiencies. And so you carry a lot of risk into the construction of that first of class. Also, given the nature that there's a lengthy design development and build span associated with ships, so there is a certain amount of overlap or concurrency that occurs between the development of new systems that need to be delivered with the first ship, the incorporation of the design of those new systems and the actual construction.
And so to the extent that there is change in a new ship class then the risk goes up accordingly. In the case of the CVN, the degree of change compared to the Nimitz was fairly extraordinary all for good reasons, good intentions, increased capability, increased survivability, significant reduction in operating and support costs.