The CVN-78 has another important advantage over its equivalent Nimitz class carrier: Its power doesn’t come with the price of increased hands on board. In fact, because of the aforementioned technologies, the USS Gerald R. Ford accommodates 2,600 sailors, 600 fewer than a Nimitz-class flat top. This alone saves the Navy more than $4 billion in ownership costs over each ship’s 50-year life, when compared with contemporary Nimitz aircraft carriers.
Speaking of combat, the carrier is more than capable of holding its own. The Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) defends against high-speed, highly maneuverable anti-ship missiles, and the weapon system of choice is the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM). One must not forget various Gatling and heavy machine gun mounts as well as 75-plus aircraft ready to be launched at any given time.
With great power comes great firepower. Only half of the power-generating
capability on the CVN-78 is needed to run currently planned systems, including
EMALS. The CVN-78 will thus have the power reserves that the Nimitz class lacks
to sport even more futuristic armaments and systems, such as free-electron
lasers and dynamic armor, at some point in the future.