The Navy wants to figure out a way to put an aircraft carrier to sea with a crew of fewer than 1,000 sailors…
In an era when manpower costs devour 60 percent of annual Navy budgets, the service has been hard pressed not only to reduce its end strength so it can afford the ships and aircraft it wants, but to pare down crew sizes while making the most of each sailor.
Current carriers put to sea with about 5,700 personnel aboard, including ship’s crew and air wing. I believe that it’s about a 60-40 split between ship personnel and air wing personnel, so this reports is really talking about a cut from around 3,400 to 1,000.
The next carrier, CVN-78 USS Gerald R. Ford, will have fewer men aboard. The current projection is around 4,600 total, with most of the cut probably coming from the ship’s crew.
The cut down to 1,000 seems nearly impossible, to be honest.
I can see the Navy putting a carrier to sea with only 1,000 sailors aboard, but it would take about 1,500 to 2,000 private contractors along to do it. Bada-boom.