In theory, the USS Gerald R. Ford, the first of a new line of Navy super-carriers, will be among the most powerful ships to prowl the world's oceans. Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department's director of operational test and evaluation, has found that the aircraft carrier is not actually fit for duty, however, even as it is due to be launched this September.

Given the billions of dollars spent on the aircraft carrier, it's another black mark for the U.S.

military, which has been struggling with over-budget and delayed projects. In a race to maintain the world's most advanced military, and given the huge amount of resources the U.S. government spends on its military, the failed project is sure to increase criticism.

According to the Gilmore, the USS Ford is struggling in four mission critical areas of operation: launching and receiving aircraft, ship defense, conducting air traffic control, and moving on-board ammunition.

It's easy to see then why the director is worried that the ship may not be fit for duty.

Gilmore believes that in order to get the ship combat ready, the carrier's aircraft launch and recovery platforms will have to be redesigned. Such changes are going to take a lot of time to implement, and for an aircraft carrier that has already been delayed by two years, yet another delay is nothing short of embarrassing.

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Designated the CVN-78, construction of the new USS Gerald R. Ford class carrier began in November of 2009. Total costs of the project have reached $12.8 billion dollars, plus an additional $4.7 billion dollars in research and development costs. The nuclear powered aircraft carrier measures over 1,100 feet, slightly larger than the current Nimitz-class carriers.

Ford-Class Carriers not only weapons program far behind schedule

The military has struggled lately to keep projects on time and on budget.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightening II has gone far over budget, and even after years of development, remains behind schedule, and unable to perform. Total costs for the F-35 are projected to top $1.5 trillion dollars, though the entire project wouldn't wrap up until 2070 under such projections.

The F-35 has been criticized by many pilots, and in simulated dogfights, it has so far failed to match up to many of the aircraft it is supposed to gains superiority. The F-35 even lost to the aging F-16, an aircraft that dominated the 80's but has slowly been growing obsolete.

Congress forcing pork ship onto Pentagon

Meanwhile, Congress has been meddling in military purchases, attempting to force the Pentagon to buy weapons systems it simply doesn't want. In recent weeks, Congress has been attempting the Pentagon to buy a $475 million dollar ship it simply doesn't want. The ship in question is the Littoral Combat Ship, a small, supposedly stealthy surface ship that has itself been plagued with numerous problems.

In theory, the small and fast ships would give the Navy some much needed flexibility in deployments. In reality, the LCS's have turned out to be little more than headaches. The Pentagon might end up with a new one in its fleet anyway.

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