26 Apr 2017

New US aircraft carrier completes builder’s sea trials

Builder’s sea trials of the new US aircraft carrier Gerald R Ford have been completed by Virginia-based Newport News, the shipbuilding division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. A first-of-class carrier, the new vessel has now departed Newport News and sailed to Naval Station Norfolk, also in Virginia.

Builder’s sea trials test the ship’s systems, components and compartments of a new vessel at sea for the first time. The trials also include high-speed runs and demonstrate many of the carrier’s other capabilities.

Newport News shipbuilders, which is Virginia’s largest industrial employer, partnered with Gerald R Ford sailors and personnel from Naval Sea Systems Command to perform the sea trials tests.

Prior to delivery, the ship will undergo acceptance trials, conducted by US Navy Board of Inspection and Survey representatives, to do a final test and evaluation of the ship’s systems and performance.

Gerald R Ford is the first in a class of next-generation aircraft carriers designed to replace Nimitz Class aircraft carriers. 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, and growth margin for future technologies.

Each Ford Class ship will operate with a smaller crew than a Nimitz Class carrier and provide $4 billion in total ownership cost savings for the Navy.

Newport News Shipbuilding President Matt Mulherin said: “In my 36 years with Newport News Shipbuilding, I’ve ridden many sea trials. While they have all been great experiences, this one was especially rewarding. I’ve been with this ship since 2001, when she was still just a design concept.

“To see her come to life and perform as she was designed and built to do is awe-inspiring and a testament to her shipbuilders and Navy crew.”


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