Tag Archives: USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)

Self Defense System

Raytheon Company and the U.S. Navy completed the final developmental test of the latest generation of the Ship Self Defense System, or SSDS, Integrated Combat System for the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). The test was conducted off the coast of California from the Navy’s unmanned Self Defense Test Ship simulating a scenario CVN-78 may encounter once deployed.

Raytheon systems complete first dual-target test of Ford-class integrated combat system

During the raid scenario exercise, two anti-ship missile surrogate targets were located, classified, tracked and engaged using the SSDS Integrated Combat System adapted for CVN-78.

«This successful dual-target test demonstrates the maturity of the Ship Self Defense System ICS and paves the way for operational testing to begin», said Mike Fabel, Raytheon’s SSDS program manager. «SSDS is a critical capability that enables CVN-78 to defend herself and her crew against current and emerging threats».

 

The Raytheon Ship Self-Defense System ICS includes:

  • Dual Band Radar: This technology searched for, located and tracked the targets. DBR then provided uplink and radar illumination to the Evolved SeaSparrow Missile to support missile guidance.
  • Cooperative Engagement Capability, or CEC: The capability validated and processed the Dual Band Radar data for SSDS. CEC is responsible for providing a single, integrated air picture by fusing data from multiple sensors to improve track accuracy.
  • Ship Self Defense System: SSDS processed the CEC data, classified the targets, determined the appropriate engagement ranges, passed launch commands to the interceptor missiles, and scheduled Dual Band Radar support for the engagements.
  • Evolved SeaSparrow Missile and Rolling Airframe Missile: Successfully engaged and defeated both targets using live and simulated interceptors.

The Ship Self-Defense System ICS for CVN-78 has now successfully engaged three of three targets over the course of its first two test exercises.

 

Background on SSDS

Proven and deployed, SSDS is an open, distributed combat management system in service on US carriers and amphibious ships, including CVN, LSD, LPD, LHA and LHD classes. SSDS MK 2 is the premier self-defense system for the U.S. Navy. SSDS is integrated with Raytheon’s Cooperative Engagement Capability for the seamless extraction and distribution of sensor-derived information. This further enhances each ship’s anti-air warfare capability through sharing of available data to all participating CEC units, improving situational awareness, increasing range, and enabling cooperative, multiple, or layered engagement strategies.

New First-In-Class

The Navy commissioned its newest aircraft carrier, the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony Saturday, July 22, at Naval Station Norfolk.

Navy commissioned new first-in-class aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford
Navy commissioned new first-in-class aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is the lead ship of the new Gerald R. Ford class of aircraft carrier, the first new class in more than 40 years and will begin the phased replacement of Nimitz-class carriers when the ship is commissioned.

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). Released from active duty in February 1946, Ford remained in the Naval Reserve until 1963. Ford was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1948, where he served until President Nixon tapped him to become Vice President in 1973. Ford became president in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal and served in the country’s highest office from 1974-1977.

President Donald J. Trump delivered the ceremony’s principal address. Susan Ford Bales, Ford’s daughter, served as the ship’s sponsor.

USS Gerald R. Ford – Landing and Launching of Aircraft

«The nation’s going to be very proud of USS Gerald R. Ford», said Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson. «I am incredibly thankful for the shipyard workers and Sailors who worked amazingly hard to bring this mighty ship to life. This Saturday will be a huge day for our Navy and our nation. The new technology and warfighting capabilities that Ford brings will transform naval warfare, making us a more lethal Navy. The increased combat power will enable new ways to combine information, ships, aircraft and undersea forces, changing how we operate and fight».

The Navy plans to spend $43 billion developing and building the three new Ford-class ships – Ford, the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), and the future USS Enterprise (CVN-80). Built by Huntington Ingalls Industries, the Gerald R. Ford class is designed with significant quality-of-life improvements and reduced maintenance. These innovations are expected to improve operational availability and capability compared with Nimitz-class carriers.

The Gerald R. Ford class incorporates advances in technology such as a new reactor plant, propulsion system, electric plant, Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), machinery control, Dual Band Radar and integrated warfare systems. Compared to Nimitz-class carriers, the Gerald R. Ford-class carriers have more than 23 new or modified systems.

MV-22 Ospreys assigned to the U.S. Presidential Helicopter Squadron land on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) during the ship's commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew J. Sneeringer)
MV-22 Ospreys assigned to the U.S. Presidential Helicopter Squadron land on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) during the ship’s commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew J. Sneeringer)

 

General Characteristics

Builder Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia
Propulsion 2 A1B nuclear reactors, 4 shafts
Length 1,092 feet/333 m
Beam 134 feet/41 m
Flight Deck Width 256 feet/78 m
Flight Deck Square 217,796 feet2/20,234 m2
Displacement approximately 100,000 long tons full load
Speed 30+ knots/34.5+ mph/55.5+ km/h
Crew 4,539 (ship, air wing and staff)
Armament ESSM (Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile), RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile), Mk-15 Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapon System)
Aircraft 75+
Sailors man the rails of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) during its commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew J. Sneeringer)
Sailors man the rails of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) during its commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew J. Sneeringer)

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) 11-13-2009 11-09-2013 07-22-2017 Norfolk, Virginia
USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) 08-22-2015
USS Enterprise (CVN-80)
Badge
Badge

Acceptance Trials

The future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) successfully completed acceptance trials conducted by the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) in the Atlantic Ocean May 24-26 and is in final preparations for delivery.

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/Released)
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/Released)

Acceptance trials are primarily aimed at demonstrating to INSURV the ability of the ship’s crew to conduct operations at sea, and that the ship is constructed in accordance with contract specifications.

«Congratulations to our Navy and industry team for all the great work that has led us to this exciting milestone», said Rear Admiral Brian Antonio, program executive officer for aircraft carriers. «As a result of much dedication and hard work, delivery of CVN-78 is close at hand, and we are looking forward to commissioning the ship into the fleet this summer».”

Prior to the underway period, INSURV conducted a rigorous set of pierside trials, including more than 200 in-port demonstrations and inspections. The three-day at-sea portion of acceptance trials also included more than 500 INSURV demonstrations and inspections of the ship’s hull, mechanical and electrical systems.

The Navy’s Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair is responsible for ensuring the ship’s readiness for acceptance trials and presenting the ship to INSURV. The ship’s crew is responsible for operating the ship and conducting tests and demonstrations. INSURV oversees and witnesses the execution of the acceptance trials schedule.

The USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is the lead ship in the Ford class of aircraft carriers, the U.S. Navy’s first new aircraft carrier design in more than 40 years, which will begin the phased replacement of Nimitz-class carriers when the ship is commissioned. The USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is designed with significant quality-of-life improvements and reduced maintenance requirements. Several new technologies, such as the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, Advanced Arresting Gear, and Dual Band Radar have been incorporated into the Ford’s design. These innovations are expected to improve operational availability and capability, and reduce total ownership cost over its 50-year service life by nearly $4 billion compared with Nimitz-class carriers. CVN-78 honors the 38th president of the United States and pays tribute to his lifetime of service to the nation in the U.S. Navy and in the U.S. government.

Construction of the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) has been ongoing since 2008, with the island landed in January 2013. The ship was christened in November 2013 by the ship’s sponsor, Susan Ford Bales, daughter of President Ford. The ship’s crew conducted a pierside «fast cruise» in March 2017, and builder’s sea trials occurred in April 2017.

 

General Characteristics

Builder Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia
Propulsion 2 A1B* nuclear reactors, 4 shafts
Length 1,092 feet/333 m
Beam 134 feet/41 m
Flight Deck Width 256 feet/78 m
Flight Deck Square 217,796 feet2/20,234 m2
Displacement approximately 100,000 long tons full load
Speed 30+ knots/34.5+ mph/55.5+ km/h
Crew 4,539 (ship, air wing and staff)
Armament ESSM (Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile), RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile), Mk-15 Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapon System)
Aircraft 75+

* – Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. serves the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) 11-13-2009 11-09-2013
USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) 08-22-2015
USS Enterprise (CVN-80)

 

She’s underway!

The future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is underway for its first set of sea trials, known as Builder’s Sea Trials (BST). Builder’s sea trials provide an opportunity to test systems, components and compartments at sea for the first time.

The future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) underway on its own power for the first time. The first-of-class ship – the first new U.S. aircraft carrier design in 40 years – will spend several days conducting builder's sea trials, a comprehensive test of many of the ship's key systems and technologies (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni/Released)
The future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) underway on its own power for the first time. The first-of-class ship – the first new U.S. aircraft carrier design in 40 years – will spend several days conducting builder’s sea trials, a comprehensive test of many of the ship’s key systems and technologies (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni/Released)

Over the next several days, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) Sailors, shipbuilders from Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS), the Navy’s Supervisor of Shipbuilding and Naval Sea Systems Command personnel will be working side-by-side testing many of the ship’s key systems and technologies.

«The U.S. Navy and our industry partners are excited to have the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) underway under her own power for the first time, executing a rigorous and comprehensive test program for this first-of-class ship», said Rear Admiral Brian Antonio, program executive officer for aircraft carriers. «This milestone is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication, and we look forward to learning a great deal during sea trials. We will continue to work together to deliver Ford’s critical capabilities to the fleet».

Future USS Gerald R. Ford underway for Builder's Sea Trials (BST)
Future USS Gerald R. Ford underway for Builder’s Sea Trials (BST)

 

General Characteristics

Builder Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia
Propulsion 2 A1B* nuclear reactors, 4 shafts
Length 1,092 feet/333 m
Beam 134 feet/41 m
Flight Deck Width 256 feet/78 m
Flight Deck Square 217,796 feet2/20,234 m2
Displacement approximately 100,000 long tons full load
Speed 30+ knots/34.5+ mph/55.5+ km/h
Crew 4,539 (ship, air wing and staff)
Armament ESSM (Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile), RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile), Mk-15 Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapon System)
Aircraft 75+

* – Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. serves the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program

Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is the first new aircraft carrier design in 40 years, replacing the Nimitz-class of carriers
Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is the first new aircraft carrier design in 40 years, replacing the Nimitz-class of carriers

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) 11-13-2009 11-09-2013
USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) 08-22-2015
USS Enterprise (CVN-80)
The new aircraft carrier class was redesigned from the keel to the mast of the island house
The new aircraft carrier class was redesigned from the keel to the mast of the island house

From linear hydraulic
to rotary hydroelectric

Nineteen Sailors from Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) recently graduated from Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) operator and maintainer initial training conducted at the test sites in Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Sailors from Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) use a test-site specific tool to lower the Cable Shock Absorber Thru-Deck Sheave Assembly into place while participating in hands-on maintenance labs as part of a six-week Advanced Arresting Gear training course at Lakehurst, New Jersey, in August (U.S. Navy Photo)
Sailors from Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) use a test-site specific tool to lower the Cable Shock Absorber Thru-Deck Sheave Assembly into place while participating in hands-on maintenance labs as part of a six-week Advanced Arresting Gear training course at Lakehurst, New Jersey, in August (U.S. Navy Photo)

This is the second six-week course completed by Ford Sailors, with 20 having graduated in April, and additional crew members having completed a senior leadership training course in August 2015.

Many recent graduates expressed excitement about the opportunity to be among the first to work with the Navy’s newest aircraft recovery equipment and the advantages it will bring to the fleet and their daily lives at sea.

«AAG cuts down manning below deck during flight operations; we went from 22 people to three people, and that’s a huge change for us», said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) (ABE) 1st Class Andrew Holcomb. «There’s also less maintenance needed, so we don’t have to take apart as much greasy equipment and walk around the ship in dirty uniforms».

Another crewmember, ABE2 Carlos Rodriguez, said he thinks AAG will be safer for those working directly with it as well as all personnel. He said he will be responsible for upkeep of the system aboard the Ford and valued the in-depth training because «topside, it’s pretty much the same; but below decks, it’s a completely different animal».

While anticipation for the system’s benefits grows, many Sailors with previous experience working on legacy arresting gear (Mk-7) said they were initially intimidated to work with AAG. The new system transitions from linear hydraulic to rotary hydroelectric, plus a friction brake system. A couple weeks into the course, many reported those anxieties were relieved.

«The intent of the training is to provide students with the most shipboard-representative, hands-on, and job-related training possible in order to prepare them for system turnover on board CVN-78», said AAG Training Lead Dan Andreoli.

Andreoli explained the training, which combines classroom instruction with operation and maintenance labs, as well as extensive walk-throughs, at two active test sites, has been in development since late 2013. The CVN-78 PCU crew has been involved, providing valuable input, since early 2015.

«We have a very bright group of Sailors who will be operating and maintaining AAG, and I’m very proud to be a part of ensuring they have the proper foundation of knowledge and skills to safely and effectively operate and maintain the system», Andreoli stated.

Aircraft Launch and Recovery Maintenance Chief (ABEC) Christopher Boone said in addition to the younger Sailors being able to work directly with the system during their time at Lakehurst, building a relationship with Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) engineers and AAG subject matter experts is incredibly important.

The crew had ample opportunity for interaction with a flurry of preparations and tests ongoing at both the Jet Car Track Site and the Runway Arrested Landing Site.

The dedicated training division will soon begin developing formal schoolhouse training for AAG, with efforts to integrate cost-saving Multipurpose Reconfigurable Training System (MRTS 3D) simulations.