After repeated delays, US newest aircraft carrier to be delivered to navy in April

USS Gerald R. Ford at Newport News Shipbuilding. Photo: HII

The U.S. Navy said it would receive its newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, in April after the ship previously missed multiple delivery deadlines.

In a statement on Wednesday, navy spokesman Capt. Thurraya Kent said that the ship would start builder’s sea trials in March while both the acceptance trials and delivery would take place in April 2017.

At the time of the statement, the ship was 99 percent overall complete.

The lead ship in a new class of aircraft carriers was scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in 2014 but sea trials and a number of first-of-class issues came together to push the carrier’s delivery back.

Furthermore, in its report for FY 2016, the US Department of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOTE) revealed that Gerald R. Ford’s new electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS), which uses electromagnetic technology to launch aircraft from the deck of naval aircraft carriers, put excessive airframe stress on planes launching from the flight deck, preventing the navy from operating F/A-18A-F and EA-18G aircraft from the carrier.

A September 2016 report by Defense News said that voltage regulator problems on the carrier’s four main turbine generators (MTGs) resulted in an electrical explosion in one of the turbines in June with another, smaller, explosion taking place in July.

The Huntington Ingalls Industries- built ship was expected to cost $10.5 billion in 2007. However, a 23 percent increase in the price made the USS Gerald R. Ford the most expensive ship in the Navy’s fleet with a price tag of $12.9 billion.

The 1,100 foot (335 meter) ship displaces 100,000 tonnes and is designed to operate effectively with nearly 700 fewer crew members than a CVN 68-class ship. Improvements in the ship design will, according to the Navy, allow the embarked air wing to operate with approximately 400 fewer personnel.

 

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