CVX Propulsion System Decision: Industrial Base Implications of Nuclear and Non-Nuclear Options

by John F. Schank, John Birkler, Eiichi Kamiya, Edward G. Keating, Michael G. Mattock, Malcolm MacKinnon, Denis Rushworth

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The U.S. Navy is in the process of designing the CVX, its next-generation aircraft carrier. One technological advance for the CVX, compared with the current Nimitz class of carriers, is a new propulsion system. To help in deciding between a nuclear and non-nuclear propulsion system for the CVX, the Navy asked RAND to determine the effects of the CVX propulsion choice on the industrial bases supporting nuclear propulsion systems and those supporting conventional propulsion systems. RAND began the research in April 1998 and provided the results of the analyses to the CVX program office in August 1998. Shortly thereafter, the decision was made that the CVX class would use nuclear propulsion. The research findings described in this document helped influence that decision. This report offers the briefing presented to the program office along with accompanying annotation. The researchers delineated the various propulsion system options being considered and contacted suppliers and integrators of key system components to establish how a CVX decision would affect their company and their industry, as well as other Navy programs.

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