The first Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier, USS Ford (CVN-78), has just kicked off 18 months of testing and will spend much of its time at sea as it finally reaches a major milestone for the next class of U.S. Navy carriers, according to a report.
Defense One reports that the $13 billion ship is starting to “come to life,” quoting Cmdr. Mehdi Akacem, who oversees flight operations.
Aircraft have been flying on and off the ship this week to see how flight operations will need to be adjusted due to the new design of the ship. The Ford has a smaller superstructure than Nimitz-class carriers, and it is in a different part of the ship, causing changes in wind dynamics, according to the report.
The ship will be homeported in Norfolk, Va. It is built by Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.
The ship includes many innovations, including munitions elevators, refueling points within the flight deck, and electromagnetic catapults that are much quieter than the steam-powered versions on Nimitz carriers.
USS Ford was delivered in 2017. The follow-on ship, USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), is scheduled for delivery in 2024.