The Navy announced Thursday that it has accepted its newest aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford, with a commissioning ceremony projected for sometime in July.
The acceptance of Ford marks the beginning of the end of a very long road for the new carrier, which incorporates several new technologies including an electromagnetic launching system that will replace the old steam launch system, and a new arresting gear system, a high-tech brake calibrated to the weight and design of each of the aircraft its trapping.
The carrier successfully completed its acceptance trials May 26 after the U.S. Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey completed its assessment of the ship. The Navy is still working out the kinks in several new technologies, including the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System and the Advanced Arresting Gear, but the Navy has plenty of time to do that ahead of its first deployment, which is slated for 2022, according to Navy documents reviewed by Navy Times.
The ship will first have to go through full-ship shock trials in 2019, which will test how the ship stands up to explosions near its hull. Those tests are complicated, take time to analyze and inevitably break stuff on board.
Ford is the first of a new class of carriers that will ultimately include CVN-79, the John F. Kennedy, which is about 28 percent complete and slated to join the fleet in 2021, and CVN-80, the Enterprise.
David B. Larter was the naval warfare reporter for Defense News. Before that, he reported for Navy Times.