NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) aircraft carrier on Wednesday, May 31 in Newport News.
The ship completed its final set of acceptance sea trials on May 26.
“Congratulations to everyone who has helped bring CVN 78 to this historic milestone,” said Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, program executive officer for aircraft carriers. “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. 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.”
Construction on the Ford started in 2009. The Ford 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 ship was built using modular construction, a process where smaller sections of the ship are welded together to form large structural units, equipment is installed, and the large units are lifted into the dry dock.
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.
“Well done to our shipbuilding partners, Ford’s crew and everyone who supported them,” said Vice Adm. Tom Moore, commander, Naval Sea Systems Command, who also embarked for acceptance trials.
Crew started moving aboard the ship in August of 2015 as testing started.
The Ford will be commissioned this summer, which formally places 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.
Ford is expected to be operational in 2020 following achievement of initial operational capability.