Mar 11, 2014
US Navy new USS Gerald R. Ford carrier set for 2 years of testing
The US Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, The USS Gerald R. Ford, a massive warship outfitted with the latest radar technology and sophisticated systems to accommodate unmanned, carrier-launched drones — is set to undergo more than two years of rigorous testing.
The USS Gerald R. Ford is the first of what will eventually be the Navy’s fleet of next-generation Ford-class aircraft carriers. The upgraded ships are the first new designs of aircraft carriers since the USS Nimitz was built in the late 1960s.
The USS Ford was christened during a special ceremony in November in Newport News, Virginia. The massive warship is slated to officially enter service in the Navy in 2016. But first, shipbuilders will spend 26 months meticulously testing the aircraft carrier’s various systems.
The USS Ford’s testing phase is longer and more labour intensive than normal because the next-generation warship incorporates many new technologies, including upgraded radar systems, more efficient nuclear power plants and electromagnetic launchers designed to more effectively propel aircraft off the carrier’s deck.
The mammoth USS Ford weighs nearly 100,000 tonnes, and will eventually be home to more than 4,600 service people and up to 75 aircraft.
The Ford-class carriers are designed to replace the Navy’s existing Nimitz-class warships, which have been in operation since the 1970s. The upgraded designs feature larger flight decks, three aircraft elevators and the new ships also replace steam-powered systems with more efficient onboard electrical power.
The Ford-class ships are designed to operate for 50 years. Construction is already beginning on the next aircraft carrier in the fleet, the USS John F. Kennedy.