The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) aircraft carrier at Newport News, Virginia on Wednesday, the Navy said Thursday.
The delivery comes after the ship completed a successful set of acceptance trials on May 26 (Defense Daily, May 31). Previously, ship builder Huntington Ingalls Industries [HII] Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va. conducted builder’s sea trials in mid-April.
“Congratulations to everyone who has helped bring CVN-78 to this historic milestone. 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, program executive officer (PEO) for Aircraft Carriers, said in a statement.
Vice Adm. Tom Moore, commander of Naval Sea Systems Command added “Well done to our shipbuilding partners, Ford’s crew and everyone who supported them.” Moore embarked on the carrier for the acceptance trials.
“Today is a historic day for Newport News Shipbuilding and one that is personally rewarding for me,” Newport News Shipbuilding President Matt Mulherin, said in a separate statement.
HII highlighted each Ford-class carrier will give the Navy $4 billion in total ownership cost savings compared to the Nimitz-class ships.
The Ford is the first carrier to join the Navy since the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) was delivered in 2009.
The carrier is set to be commissioned into the fleet this summer and placed in active service. Next up is a “shakedown” period where the Ford will conduct several events at-sea to provide longer underway periods for the crew to operate and train on the ship’s systems.
Planned deferred work will also be performed during the shakedown, with any deficiencies identified during the trials to be addressed during in-port periods.
The Navy expects the Ford to be operational in 2020 after it achieves initial operational capability.