NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A top U.S. Navy officer says the USS Gerald R. Ford is expected to head out soon for its first round of sea trials.

The Daily Press reports Vice Adm. Tom Moore told reporters Monday he thinks the ship will head out "in the near term and probably this week." Moore heads the Naval Sea Systems Command and spoke at the Sea-Air-Space exposition at National Harbor in Maryland.

Another Navy officer said at the exposition that the sea trials are "imminent."

The $12.9 billion Ford is the first in the U.S. Navy's new carrier class. It is being built at a Newport News shipyard and is expected to be commissioned this year after cost overruns and delays.

Sea trials had initially been scheduled to start last month.

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