The U.S. Navy will officially welcome a new aircraft carrier to its fleet later this summer, according to a site dedicated to the Ford's commissioning. The soon-to-be carrier Gerald R. Ford will be commissioned on July 22 at Naval Station Norfolk.
Construction and testing for the $13 billion ship — the most expensive in the Navy's history — has been repeatedly delayed over the past several years. It was initially supposed to be commissioned last year before issues with the ship's state-of-the-art technology derailed the Navy's plans.
Named after World War II Navy veteran and former President Gerald R. Ford, the ship is the pioneer vessel in the Navy’s next class of aircraft carriers. The new carrier class will eventually include the John F. Kennedy and the Enterprise, and is expected to implement a new electromagnetic launch system and a new arresting gear system, among its other innovations.
The ship underwent various sea trials this past spring and was accepted into the fleet on May 31.
Even after commissioning, the ship will still have to undergo more trials, such as full-ship shock tests in 2019 to see how the hull can hold up against explosions to make sure it's ready for combat before it can deploy.
It is expected to be deployed in 2022, according to documents reviewed by Navy Times. Tickets for the commissioning ceremony can be requested