The Navy is hard at work ensuring the first Ford-class aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald Ford (CVN-78), remains on track for a 2022 deployment, according to a report.
Defense News reports that Rear Adm. John Meier, head of Naval Air Forces Atlantic, told attendees of a virtual conference over the weekend that the Navy is trying to improve the reliability of the new aircraft launch and recovery systems and so far the ship is on schedule.
“We’re still not where we want to be, but we’ve made great strides and we’re getting better every year,” he said according to the report.
Previous reports indicated that the ship may not deploy until 2024, but the Navy believes the Ford will deliver sooner than that. When asked at a hearing before Congress last fall, Vice Adm. Tom Moore, head of Naval Sea Systems Command, said that he thinks “we’ll beat that.” Around the same time, then-Navy Secretary Richard Spencer reportedly said at a panel discussion that Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday believes the ship will be ready sooner than 2024.
The Ford-class program is the successor to the Navy’s legacy fleet of Nimitz-class carriers. The hulls of Ford-class ships will be similar to the Nimitz, but the newer carriers will feature the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) rather than steam-powered catapults.
MAIN PHOTO: ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 29, 2019) The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) conducts high-speed turns in the Atlantic Ocean, Oct. 29, 2019. Gerald R. Ford is at sea conducting sea trials following the in port portion of its 15-month post-shakedown availability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Connor Loessin/Released)