President Donald Trump is weighing in on the new catapult system on the aircraft carrier Gerald R Ford. He says it's too expensive "no good."
That's according to an interview with Time Magazine. The President told them the new electro-magnetic catapults should be ditched for the traditional steam-powered launch system.
President Trump said in the Time interview:
You know the catapult is quite important. So I said, 'What is this?' 'Sir, this is our digital catapult system.' He said, 'Well, we’re going to this because we wanted to keep up with modern [technology].' I said, 'You don’t use steam anymore for catapult?' 'No, sir'. I said, 'Ah, how is it working?' 'Sir, not good. Not good. Doesn’t have the power. You know the steam is just brutal. You see that sucker going and steam’s going all over the place, there’s planes thrown in the air.'"
The new catapults are one of the many problems that plagued the nearly $13 billion carrier, which is under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding.
Newport News Shipbuilding's president is confident that the ship will have overcome its problems by the time it is delivered to the Navy. "We will at the end of the day deliver a product that is spec-compliant, that meets all the captain's demands and is reliable to be on the pointy end of the spear," said Matt Mulherin.
The Ford is the first carrier to use the new electro-magnetic system. The Navy says it will help improve efficiency and reduce the cost of maintenance by $4 billion over the carrier's lifespan.
In the Time interview, President Trump was not impressed.
It sounded bad to me. Digital. They have digital. What is digital? And it’s very complicated, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out. And I said -- and now they want to buy more aircraft carriers -- I said, 'What system are you going to be?' 'Sir, we’re staying with digital.' I said, 'No, you’re not. You going to goddamned steam, the digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.'"
The Gerald R. Ford is currently undergoing a series of sea trials. The aircraft carrier is expected to be delivered to the Navy later this year.