USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), the first of a new class of US Navy aircraft carriers, completed its Post-Shakedown Availability/Selected Restricted Availability (PSA/SRA), returning to its home port at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, on October 30.
A PSA is a typical period of construction availability in the early life of a ship during which the Navy and shipbuilder resolve issues that arise during initial at-sea periods and make any needed changes and upgrades.
The CVN 78 PSA began on July 15, 2018, and included work on Advanced Weapons Elevators (AWEs), repairs to the ship’s main reduction gear, improvements to the throttle control system, upgrades to the Advanced Arresting Gear, and numerous other maintenance tasks.
During the PSA, most individual discrepancies, known as “trial cards,” that had been identified during previous work-ups were successfully addressed, with very few remaining to address in future maintenance availabilities.
Program manager for USS Gerald R. Ford, Capt. Ron Rutan, acknowledged that unique challenges accompany technological advances.
“The design and execution challenge in delivering a first-of-class warfighting platform is not only to make CVN 78 better, but also to enhance production on the next ships in the class — the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) and future USS Enterprise (CVN 80),” said Rutan. “The Gerald R. Ford class will set the competitive standard for afloat performance and power projection well into the second half of the 21st century.”
The Gerald R. Ford class incorporates 23 new technologies, comprising advances in propulsion, power generation, ordnance handling and aircraft launch systems. These innovations are expected to support a 30 percent higher sortie generation rate, executed with a 20 percent reduction in crew, when compared to Nimitz-class ships.
Rutan praised the perseverance of thousands of designers, planners and technicians from PEO Aircraft Carriers, Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Air Systems Command, Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, Naval Air Force Atlantic and the shipbuilder in methodically navigating through technical setbacks.
“As the first new aircraft carrier design in more than 40 years, this ship is a test bed for the warfighting technology essential for air dominance in the 21st century,” Rutan said.