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U.S. Navy Accepts Delivery Of Gerald R. Ford Aircraft Carrier
Updated June 5, 2017 5:54 AM
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gerald ford.jpg
The new aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) pulls into Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia on Thursday. The first-of-class ship - the first new U.S. aircraft carrier design in 40 years -spent several days conducting builder's sea trials, a comprehensive test of many of the ship's key systems and technologies. (U.S. Navy photo by Matt Hildreth courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries)

(WASHINGTON) - The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of the first Gerald R. Ford - class aircraft carrier Wednesday, the first newly-designed aircraft carrier to enter the service since the 1975 Chester W. Nimitz - class carrier.

Loree Lewis of Talk Media News reports that the ship, named USS Gerald R. Ford after the late U.S. president and Navy lieutenant, is expected to be operational in 2020. The ship cost about $13 billion to build and has a projected 50-year service life.

The Gerald R. Ford was delivered to the service at Newport News, Va., and is expected to be commissioned this summer, according to the Navy. Two other Ford-class carriers, the John F. Kennedy and Enterprise, also are planned for construction.

In a statement, the Navy said that USS Ford, built by Newport News Shipbuilding, will bring "unprecedented flexibility to the fleet" and boost the potential rate of sorties by one-third when compared to the Nimitz-class.

The ship has a larger flight deck, enabling it to carry more aircraft, weapons and aviation fuel. The carrier features new takeoff and landing technology, the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System and Advanced Arresting Gear, that require less maintenance. There are kinks in the systems that still need to be worked out.

President Donald Trump in a May interview with Time magazine encouraged the Navy to abandon the new, and electromagnetic launch system in favor of the older steam- powered technology. Navy officials have said they intend to stick with the new system, which uses less energy and can be more precisely calibrated for the aircraft up for takeoff.

The ship is slated to go through full-ship shock trials in 2019, which test how the ship handles explosions near its hull.

"Over the last several years, thousands of people have had a hand in delivering Ford to the Navy -- designing, building and testing the Navy's newest, most capable, most advanced warship," Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, Defense Department program executive officer for aircraft carriers, said in a statement. "Without a doubt, we would not be here without the hard work and dedication of those from the program office, our engineering teams and those who performed and oversaw construction of this incredible warship. It is because of them that Ford performed so well during acceptance trials, as noted by the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey."

The Navy plans to commission USS Ford into the fleet sometime this summer, formally placing the ship into active service.

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