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This report documents the methods and findings of RAND research on the adequacy of the defense industrial base to support further construction of aircraft carriers and on the cost, schedule, and technology issues associated with building the next carrier, designated CVN 77. If the current carrier force size of 12 ships is to be maintained and if a decay in the quality of basic capabilities is to be avoided, CVN 77 cannot be started more than a year or so beyond the currently planned date of 2002. The earlier CVN is started, the less it will cost. Increasing the build duration from the planned 6.5 years to 8.5 years will also reduce costs. However, timing should not greatly affect the survival of suppliers of carrier components. The report recommends beginning ship fabrication before 2002 (which could save hundreds of millions of dollars); ordering contractor-furnished equipment in advance of shipyard start (a savings of tens of millions); and investment in R&D directed toward adapting production processes and engineering improvements that could reduce the cost of carrier construction, operation and maintenance, and manning. In fact, the costs involved in building and operating carriers are so huge that the Navy should consider establishing a stable annual R&D funding level for these ships. Appendixes to the report provide supporting data.

Table of Contents

  • Preface PDF

  • Figures PDF

  • Tables PDF

  • Summary PDF

  • Acknowledgements

    Acknowledgments PDF

  • Abbreviations

    Abbreviations and Acronyms PDF

  • Chapter One

    Introduction PDF

  • Chapter Two

    Aircraft Carriers and the Carrier Industrial Base PDF

  • Chapter Three

    How Force Structure Objectives Constrain Carrier Production Schedules PDF

  • Chapter Four

    How the Cvn 77 Start Date Affects Shipbuilder Cost PDF

  • Chapter Five

    How Cvn 77 Construction Affects Nuclear- Component Vendors PDF

  • Chapter Six

    Issues Related to Suppliers of Nonnuclear Components PDF

  • Chapter Seven

    Research and Development to Save Costs on Future Carriers PDF

  • Chapter Eight

    Conclusions and Recommendations PDF

  • Appendix A

    Carrier Data PDF

  • Appendix B

    Crisis-Response Data, 1950-1996 PDF

  • Appendix C

    Carrier Fleets of the World PDF

  • Appendix D

    Components of Shipbuilder Cost Differences PDF

  • Appendix E

    Labor Required for Various Projects at Newportnews Shipbuilding PDF

  • Appendix F

    Large Surface-Ship Production in Great Britain PDF

  • Appendix G

    Issues of Aircraft Carrier Production in France PDF

  • Appendix H

    Cruise-Ship Production at Kvaerner Masa Helsinki New Shipyard PDF

  • Chapter I

    Italian Cruise-Ship Production by Fincantieri PDF

  • Appendix J

    Nimitz-Class Aircraft Carrier Operating and Support Costs PDF

  • Bibliography PDF

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.