A new class of carrier: Introducing the USS Gerald R. Ford

A new class of carrier: Introducing the USS Gerald R. Ford

The United States Navy will formally commission Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) into service on July 22 at Naval Station Norfolk on the Virginia coast.

President Donald Trump is presiding over the event at which the $12.9 billion state-of-the-art aircraft carrier will be turned over to the Navy.

"Our greatest weapon is all of you", Trump told the crowd attending the commissioning ceremony. "You will get it, don't worry about it".

Susan Ford Bales, Ford's daughter and sponsor of the ship, was awarded the title of honorary naval aviator - becoming the first woman and 31st person overall to receive the distinction.

In an interview with CBS, former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus presented a blunt critique: "The Ford is a poster child for how you don't build a ship", Mabus said.

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Construction of the USS Gerald R. Ford began in 2009 and was scheduled to be completed in 2015 at a cost of $10.5 billion.

"It's been a little bit of a fire hose to the mouth trying to absorb all the information I need to absorb, but it's been an unbelievable experience", said Gaut, who joined the ship almost a month and a half ago and has never been part of the pre-commissioning process for another ship. Compared to Nimitz-class carriers, the Gerald R. Ford-class carriers have more than 23 new or modified systems. "Man our ship and bring her to life".

More than double the electrical capacity and automated equipment means the ship can sail more efficiently with at least 600 less crew members. "It's opening the envelope for future aircraft and future capabilities of the Navy and we'd otherwise be contained with a steam catapult system", McCormack said.

The President of the United States officially pulled the boat into the water.

The president has said he wants to expand the Navy's fleet to 350 from the 276 deployed today.

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Gaut said he has leaned heavily on the crew's understanding of the Ford's advanced systems since coming aboard.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is rigged with state-of-the-art technology with a capacity for more aircraft and weaponry than ever before.

The vessel was built at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.

Until then, the Ford will remain the Navy's newest ship.

The US Navy intends to invest $43bn in the development and construction of the three new Ford-class vessels, USS Gerald R. Ford, the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) and the future USS Enterprise (CVN 80). "...with this ship, we honor [Ford] for his lifetime of selfless and distinguished service".

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