An internal Pentagon assessment of the state of new advanced technologies on the first of the navy’s new class of aircraft carriers has flagged up concerns over their readiness and reliability. Although still two years away from completion, initial inspections of key systems have highlighted significant performance-related issues that, if unresolved, could render the US$12 billion ship less effective than the previous generation of ship.

Primary among them is the electromagnetic aircraft launch system, which is replacing the conventional steam-powered catapult. The new method of launching aircraftwill use a 100,000hp linear electric motor, with a slide that accelerates along a rail.

It was designed to substantially improve sortie rates but has yet to achieve a satisfactory level of reliability. The operational effectiveness of the new arrestor landing system, advanced dual-band radar system and weapons elevator were also identified as causes for concern in the report.

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