Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) will begin the flooding of Dry Dock 12 on Friday morning, October 11, where the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) has been under construction since November 2009, Huntington Ingalls Industries announced.
The flooding will herald preparations for the ship’s christening scheduled for Saturday, November 9, 2013 and subsequent launching. The christening ceremony will be held in front of the ship’s bow.
Work on the ship is in full swing, including work on the piping and electrical systems and habitability areas such as the galley and mess spaces. Shipbuilders are also in the process of painting the hull prior to the ship’s christening.
Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the first of a new class of aircraft carriers, named after President Gerald R. Ford, the 38th President of the United States. His daughter, Susan Ford Bales, will serve as the ship’s sponsor, performing the traditional honor of breaking a bottle of American sparkling wine across the ship’s bow during the christening ceremony.
Redesigned from keel to mast, the ship will be able to launch aircraft more quickly while costing less to maintain, saving the US Navy a projected $4 billion over the ship’s 50-year life span.
Press Release, October 10, 2013; Image:John Whalen/Newport News Shipbuilding