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

Full Ship Shock Trials

On Friday, June 18, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) successfully completed the first scheduled explosive event as part of Full Ship Shock Trials (FSST).

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) Completes First Full Ship Shock Trial Event

The first-in-class aircraft carrier was designed using advanced computer modeling methods, testing, and analysis to ensure the ship is hardened to withstand battle conditions, and these shock trials provide data used in validating the shock hardness of the ship.

The U.S. Navy has conducted FSSTs over several decades, most recently for the Littoral Combat Ships USS Jackson (LCS-6) and USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) in 2016; as well as for the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19) in 2008, the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD-1) in 1990, and the guided missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) in 1987. The last aircraft carrier to execute FSST was USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) in 1987.

The Navy is conducting the shock trial testing in accordance with Office of the Chief of Naval Operations Instruction 9072.2, and as mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016.

Ford’s shock trials are being conducted off the East Coast of the United States, within a narrow schedule that complies with environmental mitigation requirements, respecting known migration patterns of marine life in the test area. The Navy also has employed extensive protocols throughout FSST to ensure the safety of military and civilian personnel participating in the testing evolution.

Ford is the newest and most advanced aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy. The ship closed out a successful 18-month Post Delivery Test & Trials period in April, during which the crew completed all required testing, accomplished planned improvements and maintenance ahead of schedule, and learned valuable lessons to increase the reliability of Ford-Class systems. At the same time, the ship also served as the sole East Coast platform for conducting carrier qualifications.

Upon completion of FSST later this summer, Ford will enter a Planned Incremental Availability for six months of modernization, maintenance, and repairs prior to its operational employment.


Full Ship Shock Trials Aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)

 

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 07-22-2017 Norfolk, Virginia
USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) 08-22-2015 10-29-2019
USS Enterprise (CVN-80)
USS Doris Miller (CVN-81)
CVN-82

 

8,000 «Cats and Traps»

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced on 24 May, 2021 that the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) achieved the Navy’s target of 8,000 successful aircraft launches and recoveries during the ship’s 18-month Post Delivery Test & Trial (PDT&T) period.

AAG
General Atomics EMALS and AAG Systems Aboard CVN-78 Reach Over 8,000 «Cats and Traps» Milestone

«The last 18-months have been very exciting and challenging. We are proud of the record number of critical «firsts» EMALS and AAG achieved during this period to bring the systems into real-time operational readiness», stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. «Navy leadership set a clear goal of completing 8,000 catapult launches and arrestments during PDT&T. EMALS and AAG met and exceeded that goal with a 100% safety record».

During the January 2020 through April 30, 2021 PDT&T period, CVN 78 conducted 18 Independent Steaming Events (ISE) involving night and day, all weather, and various sea state operations. Within the first three months, EMALS and AAG completed critical Aircraft Compatibility Testing (ACT), Flight Deck Certification (FDC), and more than 2,000 successful aircraft launch and recovery cycles involving F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, E-2C/D Hawkeyes and Advanced Hawkeyes, C-2A Greyhounds, EA-18G Growlers, and T-45C Goshawks. By the 17th ISE in March 2021, EMALS and AAG had successfully completed 7,879 cats and traps aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). During the 18th and final ISE in April 2021, EMALS and AAG broke 8,000 by over 150 launches and recoveries.

«What is also notable is that CVN-78 was the only East Coast carrier available for student aviator carrier training and pilot certification during this period», said Forney. «EMALS and AAG played a critical role in helping over 400 pilots, including new student aviators, achieve their initial carrier qualifications or recertify their proficiency. The confidence placed in EMALS and AAG capabilities to safely launch and arrest both seasoned pilots as they sharpen their skillsets, and future naval aviators as they earn their wings of gold, is something we are extremely proud of».

GA-EMS is also delivering EMALS and AAG for the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) and USS Enterprise (CVN-80). EMALS and AAG will provide greater flexibility over legacy systems to accommodate the current air wing, as well as future manned and unmanned aircraft.

Blue Water UAS

Naval Air Force Atlantic conducted a test of a logistics Unmanned Air System (UAS) prototype over Naval Station Norfolk (NAS) on February 21, 2021. The long-range cargo transport, dubbed Blue Water UAS, is designed to operate with Naval Forces that typically operate in heavy winds over open water and require aircraft to land on pitching vessels at sea. The technology demonstrator vehicle can operate in some of these conditions and further development will be required to meet the full Naval requirement.

Blue Water UAS
Naval Air Force Atlantic demonstrates UAS prototype

«The Ford Blue Water UAS supply demo is a first step in revolutionizing logistics support to maximize operational availability and lethality for these critical capital assets», said Captain John Bush, Director, Aircraft Material and Engineering, Naval Air Forces Atlantic.

The proof-of-concept test was successfully conducted by transporting light-weight logistical equipment from the Mid Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMC), Naval Station Norfolk on board USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) while the Ford-class aircraft carrier was in-port.

«This UAS demonstration leverages cutting edge technology to enhance our logistical efficiency across the Naval Air Force», said Rear Admiral John F. Meier, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic. «We have come a long way in integrating unmanned systems in Naval Aviation and the lessons learned today will help to accelerate this capability to the fleet».

Historic data from Navy casualty reports show that warships that move to non-mission capable or partially mission capable status often do so due to logistics issues like the need for electronic parts, 90 percent of which are logistical deliveries weighing less than 50 pounds/22.68 kg. Currently, aircraft like the MH-60 helicopters and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft fly these missions. Blue Water presents an opportunity to cut the cost and inefficiency of these flights.

«Carrier logistics is a complex and diverse problem set», said Captain Paul Lanzilotta, Gerald R. Ford’s commanding officer. «Sometimes getting a small part delivered to the ship has a big impact on the availability of an embarked system or aircraft. Having UAS like Blue Water may improve our ability to quickly meet specific logistics needs where payload and ship’s location permit».

The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) will continue to work with its industry partners to enhance the UAS in-house with developments like folding wings for better handling and ship storage, and consider alternative air vehicle designs with advanced propulsion systems to provide greater range and payload performance, optical and infrared collision avoidance and landing systems, and navigation systems not only dependent on GPS.

«Deterring, fighting, and winning future conflicts will require more from us», said NAWCAD Commander, Rear Adm. John Lemmon. «Developmental platforms like our Blue Water UAS are important for exploring opportunities to maintain a competitive edge with top-tier technology and improve the logistical support of America’s Sailors and Marines».

Blue Water UAS can operate from both the ship and the shore. It requires minimal maintenance and control stations are small – about the size of a shoebox or small suitcase – netting near zero infrastructure. Experimentation with the fleet will continue throughout 2021. The results of the experimentation will help the Navy decide whether to transition the technology to support fleet initiatives.

4,000 aircraft recoveries

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) logged its 4,000th aircraft launch and recovery on September 10, showcasing the performance capabilities of the ship’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), as part of the aircraft carrier’s 18-month Post Delivery Test & Trials (PDT&T) period.

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) logged its 4,000th trap (arrested landing) September 10 with Training Air Wing (TAW) 1 during carrier qualifications

Captain Kenneth Sterbenz, Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) program manager (PMA-251) for EMALS and AAG, noted the milestone is a significant achievement for both the ALRE program and the Ford crew.

«EMALS and AAG are consistently performing as expected and standing up to the rigorous testing of PDT&T operations», said Sterbenz. «Reaching 4,000 launches and recoveries is not only an important performance datapoint, but it also represents years of technological development and the dedication, professionalism, and successful work put forth by the ALRE team and CVN-78».

Ford’s EMALS and AAG systems are now more than halfway through the carrier’s test and evaluation period, and the ship’s force remains on track to complete all required assessments and critical system milestones in preparation for CVN-78 to formally enter the fleet.

Shannon Coulter, PMA-251 assistant program manager for Systems Engineering, has been aboard Ford for every fixed-wing launch and recovery, including the first aircraft launch and recovery in 2017.

«It’s been incredibly rewarding for the team to watch AAG and EMALS mature over the past nine months, as Ford’s crew gains significant experience and increased confidence with maintenance and operations», said Coulter. «The NAVAIR and General Atomics programmatic, engineering, maintenance, and logistics team has done an absolutely outstanding job of supporting CVN-78 over the past 4,000 EMALS and AAG launches and recoveries, and we look forward to strong system performance throughout the remaining PDT&T events».

The U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft launch and recovery technology was designed for use aboard Ford-class aircraft carriers, beginning with USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). Land-based test sites, located at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, enable test, troubleshooting and Sailor training. Managed by the Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment Program Office (PMA-251) and developed by prime contractor General Atomics, EMALS and AAG provide significant technological advancements to the U.S. Navy’s Ford-class aircraft carriers, requiring a smaller footprint aboard the ship, less maintenance, and less manpower than comparable steam catapults and arresting gear aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN-68)-class carriers.

Ford’s Combat Systems

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) recently completed testing of vital combat systems while underway in the Atlantic Ocean.

Sailors assigned to USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN-78) combat systems department stand watch in the ship’s Combat Direction Center (CDC) during Sea Based Developmental Testing (SBDT). SBDT is conducted to stress the ship’s combat system capabilities to include the integration of new technologies Dual Band Radar with Rolling Airframe Missile and Sea Sparrow missiles. During SBDT operation 6B, Ford ran a risk reduction scenario for an AQM-37 high diving missile, an exercise that will be required during Combat System Ship Qualification Trial in order for the ship’s combat systems to be considered fully operation capable (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ruben Reed) (This photo has altered for security purposes by blurring screens)

These tests, conducted during Ford’s Post-Delivery Test and Trials (PDT&T) phase, are designed to stress the ship’s combat system capabilities and demonstrate the successful integration of new technologies, which the crew employs to defend the aircraft carrier.

Commander Ron McCallister, Ford’s combat systems officer, noted the testing was a collaborative effort between Naval Sea Systems Command along with the greater technical community and the ship’s force.

«The tests exercise the combat systems suite as a complete unit and ensure maximum availability to meet combat and self-defense mission requirements», said McCallister. «In the end, the combat systems suite achieves maximum readiness and the Sailors develop more operational and technical competence».

Ford’s first certification of integrated combat systems tested the Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon (ATCRB) and Identification of Friend or Foe (IFF). The tests, conducted over several days, evaluated the ATCRB’s ability to track air and surface contacts and to identify friendly and enemy aircraft using an advanced identification system. IFF is used not only for positive, secure, friend identification, but also to control aircraft.

«We use an interrogator system to challenge aircraft transponders for identification», said Operations Specialist 2nd class Juannietagrace Okeli, from Moss Point, Mississippi. «The interrogator, cooperative engagement capability, and the Ships Self-Defense Systems (SSDS) work together to provide us the combat identification».

Ford also recently completed Sea-Based Developmental Testing (SBDT) of vital combat systems. This was the first full test of the integrated combat system against tactical adversaries. Testing was conducted with Kfir and Hawker Hunter jet aircraft from the Airborne Tactical Advantage Company. Ship’s crew tracked the aircraft, using Ford’s Dual Band Radar (DBR).

«SBDT is a stepping stone towards Ford’s Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trial (CSSQT), and follow-on operational tests by the Navy», said Commander William Buell, Ford’s combat direction center officer. «Our SBDT operations ran very smoothly, which is a good indicator of future success on CSSQT».

As part of the SBDT, Sailors in Ford’s combat systems department conducted an up-load of simulated munitions for operators in the ship’s Combat Direction Center (CDC) to simulate engaging the aircraft.

«It was encouraging to see the results of our collective labor pay off and prove the warfighting capability of the class», said Fire Controlman 2nd class Sam Lantinga, from Grand Rapids, Michigan. «Without these self-defense systems, Gerald R. Ford wouldn’t be able to deliver lethal effects to our nation’s adversaries».

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is a first-in-class aircraft carrier and the first new aircraft carrier designed in more than 40 years. Ford is underway conducting carrier qualifications in the Atlantic Ocean.

 

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 07-22-2017 Norfolk, Virginia
USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) 08-22-2015 10-29-2019
USS Enterprise (CVN-80)
USS Doris Miller (CVN-81)
CVN-82

 

1000th Arrestment

An F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to «Blue Blasters» of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34, landed aboard USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN-78) flight deck marking the 1,000th recovery of a fixed wing aircraft using Ford’s Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) March 19, 2020 at 5:13 p.m.

Lieutenant Scott «Gameday» Gallagher lands an F/A-18F Super Hornet, attached to «Blue Blasters» of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34, for the 1,000th trap on USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN-78) flight deck during flight operations. Ford is currently underway conducting its flight deck and combat air traffic control center certifications (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary Prill)

Minutes later, the crew celebrated a second milestone launching an F/A18 E Super Hornet attached to «Warhawks» of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 97 from Ford’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) catapults for the 1,000th time.

This significant milestone in the ships’ history began on July 28, 2017 with Ford’s first fixed wing recovery and launch using its first-in-class AAG and EMALS technologies.

Captain J.J. «Yank» Cummings, Ford’s commanding officer, explained how the entire Ford crew has worked together over the last few years to reach this achievement.

«I couldn’t be more proud of our crew, their motivation is amazing», said Cummings. «We’ve been working extremely hard to get here today, and to see this 1,000th trap completely validates their efforts and the technology on this warship».

Boasting the Navy’s first major design investment in aircraft carriers since the 1960s, Ford’s AAG and EMALs support greater launch and recovery energy requirements of future air wings, increasing the safety margin over legacy launch and arresting gear found on Nimitz-class carriers.

Lieutenant Scott Gallagher, assigned to VFA 34, has landed on five other carriers, but became a part of Ford’s history with his, and the ship’s 1,000, recovery.

«There are a lot of people who are working night and day to make sure that this ship is ready to go be a warship out in the world», said Gallagher. «To be a part of that; and this deck certification is super cool. Also getting the 1,000th trap helps the ship get one step closer to being the warship that it needs to be».

Captain Joshua Sager, commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, explained why his squadron’s integration with the ship’s personnel is important and how their relationship impacts operations.

«It’s great to share this moment in history with Ford. Integration between the air wing and ship’s company is crucial to the everyday success of carrier operations», said Sager. «Completion of the 1,000th catapult and arrestment shows that the ship and her crew have tested and proven the newest technology the Navy has, and together we are ready to meet the operational requirements of our nation».

With 1,000 launches and recoveries complete, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) will continue its flight deck and combat air traffic control certifications in preparation to deliver to the fleet regular flight operations in support of East Coast carrier qualifications.

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
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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