US Navy receives its most expensive ship ever

Huntington Ingalls Industries delivered the first-in-class aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) to the U.S. Navy on May 31, 2017. Photo: Matt Hildreth/HII

The U.S. Navy has received the future aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), in Newport News, Virginia, May 31.

With a price tag of $12.9 billion, USS Gerald R. Ford is the most expensive ship ever built for the U.S. Navy.

It is also the first new U.S. aircraft carrier design in 40 years. Additionally, Ford is the first aircraft carrier to join the fleet since USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) delivered in 2009.

Delivery of the lead ship in the class followed the ship’s successful completion of acceptance trials May 26.

“Well done to our shipbuilding partners, Ford’s crew and everyone who supported them,” said Vice Adm. Tom Moore, commander, Naval Sea Systems Command, who also embarked for acceptance trials.

Ford will be commissioned into the fleet this summer, formally placing the ship into active service.

Following this, there will be a “shakedown” period where the ship will conduct several at-sea events to provide longer underway periods for the ship’s crew to operate and train on ship’s systems.

In addition, planned deferred work will be performed, and any deficiencies identified during trials will be addressed during in-port periods.

Ford is expected to be operational in 2020 following achievement of initial operational capability.

The Ford-class features a new nuclear power plant, a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapults, improved weapons movement, an enhanced flight deck capable of increased aircraft sortie rates. Ford-class ships will operate with a smaller crew than a Nimitz-class carrier and are expected to provide $4 billion in total ownership cost savings for the Navy.

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