The U.S. Navy’s costliest warship, the $13 billion aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), departed Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding and returned to sea for the first time since beginning its post-shakedown availability in July 2018 to conduct sea trials.
The USS Gerald R. Ford headed out to sea Friday after completing 15 months of maintenance and upgrades.
USS Gerald R. Ford is the lead ship in the Ford-class of aircraft carrier, the first new class in more than 40 years, and will begin the phased replacement of Nimitz-class carriers.
The ship equipped with two newly-designed reactors and has 250 percent more electrical capacity than previous carriers. The improvements will allow the ship to load weapons and launch aircraft faster than ever before.
The Ford-class incorporates advancements in technology that make the carrier more capable and more efficient, while also providing it with the ability to implement future advancements in technology with relative ease. With increased capability and reduced total-ownership costs – through, e.g., manpower reductions and innovations, such as greater electrical production from the nuclear power plant, the use of fiber-optic networks, improved corrosion control, and the use of new, lightweight materials – CVN 78 and future Ford-class carriers package increased warfighting capability and enhanced survivability in a platform that will keep pace with the threat through the course of the 21st century.
Each Ford-class ship will operate with a smaller crew than a Nimitz-class carrier and will provide increased ownership cost-savings throughout its expected 50-year operational life.
CVN-78 honors the 38th president of the United States and pays tribute to his lifetime of service in the Navy, in the U.S. government and to the nation. During World War II Ford attained the rank of lieutenant commander in the Navy, serving on the light carrier USS Monterey (CVL 26). Ford became president in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal and served in the country’s highest office from 1974-1977.