The U.S. Navy’s next-generation aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford, should be ready to join the Navy in September this year, U.S. Navy officials said.
Sean J. Stackley, Assistant Secretary for acquisitions outlined the timetable for the lead ship of the class in a statement ahead of a U.S. Senate hearing on U.S. Navy shipbuilding programs.
According to Stackley, the 100,000 ton, 1,100 foot (335 meter) ship would be delivered within the $12.887 billion congressional cost cap.
As of March 2016, the Gerald R. Ford was 97% complete. After the ship is delivered to the Navy in September 2016, the ship is expected to start the post shakedown availability (PSA) in 2017 while the first of class full ship shock trials (FSST) are planned for FY 2019.
Should everything go according to the plan, the carrier’s first deployment would take place in 2021.
The Gerald R. Ford class is the future aircraft carrier replacement class for Enterprise and Nimitz class aircraft carriers.
Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) was ordered from Newport News Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of Huntington Ingalls Industries, on Sept. 10, 2008.
With this new class of ships the U.S. Navy hopes to save $4 billion in total ownership costs during each ship’s 50-year service life, compared to the Nimitz-class.
According to the U.S. Navy, the CVN 78 is designed to operate effectively with nearly 700 fewer crew members than a CVN 68-class ship. Improvements in the ship design will allow the embarked air wing to operate with approximately 400 fewer personnel.