The US Navy will commission its newest aircraft carrier, the future USS Gerald R. Ford Saturday, July 22, at Naval Station Norfolk.
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.
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.