Future USS Gerald R. Ford Delivered
- Huntington Ingalls Industries delivered the first-in-class aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) to the U.S. Navy on May 31, 2017. (Photo by Matt Hildreth/Huntington Ingalls Industries)
- The aircraft carrier Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) pulls into Naval Station Norfolk for the first time. The first-of-class ship – the first new U.S. aircraft carrier design in 40 years – spent several days conducting builder's sea trails, a comprehensive test of many of the ship's key systems and technologies. (U.S. Navy photo by Matt Hildreth courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries)
The U.S. Navy has accepted delivery of its newest warship, a state-of-the-art aircraft carrier to be named in honor of the 38th president of the United States.
The product of years of construction, planning and design, the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) was delivered from Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division to the Navy in Newport News, Va., on May 31, following the ship's completion of acceptance trials May 26.
Ford will be commissioned into the fleet this summer, formally placing the ship into active service. Following this, there will be a "shakedown" period where the ship will conduct several at-sea events to provide longer underway periods for the ship's crew to operate and train on ship's systems. In addition, planned deferred work will be performed, and any deficiencies identified during trials will be addressed during in-port periods. The vessel is expected to become fully operational in 2020 following achievement of initial operational capability.
The new warship is the lead ship of its class and the first new-design aircraft carrier delivered to the Navy since USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in 1975. The vessel is also the first aircraft carrier to join the fleet since USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) delivered in 2009.
“Over the last several years, thousands of people have had a hand in delivering Ford to the Navy – designing, building and testing the Navy's newest, most capable, most advanced warship,” said Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, program executive officer for aircraft carriers. “Without a doubt, we would not be here without the hard work and dedication of those from the program office, our engineering teams and those who performed and oversaw construction of this incredible warship. It is because of them that Ford performed so well during acceptance trials, as noted by the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey.”
Matt Mulherin, Newport News Shipbuilding president, said, “I’ve had the pleasure of watching our shipbuilders bring this great warship to life. From her first cut of steel to her final round of testing, Ford is proof of our shipbuilders’ exceptional skills and talents. I am proud of their innovation, perseverance and unwavering commitment that has built the most advanced aircraft carrier in the world.”
The next generation of aircraft carrier designed to replace Nimitz-class ships, the Gerald R. Ford class delivers unprecedented flexibility to the fleet. Due to a larger flight deck, the ability to host more aircraft, additional weapons and aviation fuel storage, and the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System and Advanced Arresting Gear, Ford will be able to increase sortie rates by one-third when compared to the Nimitz class. Further, the Navy's newest aircraft carrier generates three times the amount of electricity as previous classes and is designed to rapidly add capabilities as new systems become available over the course of its projected 50-year service life.
The Ford class features a new nuclear power plant, a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapults, improved weapons movement, an enhanced flight deck capable of increased aircraft sortie rates, and growth margin for future technologies. Each Ford-class ship will operate with a smaller crew than a Nimitz-class carrier and will provide $4 billion in total ownership cost savings for the Navy.