|Ford-class; slightly lighter than Nimitz-class, |
USS Gerald R. Ford, the first ship of the new American class of super carriers has been commissioned. That means it still the very same expensive technology demonstrator it was before, but has now been accepted into "active duty".
The ship won't actually be operational until at least 2021, and billions of dollars more. Once it actually sails it will face the double problem of being an outdated large surface ship in an era of cheap long-range anti-ship missiles which outrange it, and being laden with technologies which impressive on their own are still too immature to be relied on in a contest against a serious opponent.
On the other hand, aside from being the most expensive military vessel ever floated, Gerald Ford breaks at least one other record — it is the largest, heaviest gender-neutral warship ever built:
For the first time, every bathroom on the Ford — known throughout military circles as a head — is designed to be “gender-neutral,” meaning all of the urinals have been replaced with flush toilets and stalls, Navy officials say.There you go. So whether USS Gerald Ford will be bringing cholera to Yemen, famine to Somalia, or just taking out weddings in Afghanistan it will do so in a progressive, gender-neutral, urinals-free way.
Bathroom design experts say water closets with seated toilets are less sanitary and take up far more space than wall-mounted urinals.
Nevertheless, the Navy says there are advantages to eliminating urinals.