At $8,000,000,000 each, the Gerald R Ford class of aircraft carriers do not come cheap, but they are pretty hip. The bigger flight deck incorporates advanced arresting gear and electromagnetic catapults. The only things that concern me are the tower, which is close enough to the fantail to give me willies about planes running into it, and the fact that the sound and feel of a steam catapult are going away (I wonder what the new ones will sound like?) The ships will be using about half of their new nuclear plants’ output power, so there is plenty for new systems like dynamic armor or frikken lazer beems when they become available in the future.
The Intruder finally may have a worthy successor: first flight of the F-15K. The F-15K is the world’s most capable long-range, multi-role fighter. It can perform air-to-ground, air-to-air, and air-to-sea missions during the day or at night, in virtually any weather. It can carry more than 23,000 pounds of payload, reach Mach 2.5, and incorporates the latest military technologies. These include the APG-63(V)1 radar, a helmet-mounted cueing system, infrared search and track, third-generation navigation and targeting systems, and weapons-control systems supporting advanced weapons such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), Harpoon Block II, Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response (SLAM-ER), Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) and AIM-9X Sidewinder missile.
The EA-18G Growler comes in on-time, and under budget. I have a special affection for SIGINT planes, having worked on the EP-3E when I was in the U.S. Navy. In other Hornet-related news, the F/A-18F is getting Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) helmets for front and back seat. Hey, neat hat!