The first ones are expected to roll off the assembly line in 2013, but 100s of millions of dollars have been spent already. And when that first, multi-billion dollar ship is christened, it will be the first time most Americans will realize that the US Navy had spent billions of dollars designing and making a new class of Aircraft Carrier. And that day, with the production schedules already "hammered out," and 10s of billions of dollars contracts signed, the American people will learn that to change any part of the production schedule will only increase the cost!
A retired Navy Admiral, speaking on C-SPAN, explained what we could do to save 10s of billions of dollars, and make Naval Aviation safer. Aircraft Carriers pitch like the devil, landing on one in a storm is dangerous. Do you know what doesn't pitch in a storm? An oil derrick. Nope, not even the floating ones. They are built differently. They don't move particularly fast, but they can be pushed around by tugs and left, wherever we need them, for 1% of the production cost, not to mention the cost in trained pilots and equipment. That means we could get a dozen floating airdecks, positioned around the world, for the cost of one new CVN21.