The aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford is expected to conduct its first deployment in 2022 — four years after it was originally scheduled to deploy.
To ensure the carrier can deploy this year, the Navy has cannibalized parts from future aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy — a move that is not expected to delay the construction of the Kennedy, Navy Times previously reported.
Such parts taken from the Kennedy include “HMI screens for stores elevators as well as motor controllers, power supplies, small pumps, limit switches and valve actuators for various systems throughout the ship,” said Navy spokesman Capt. Clay Doss.
The ship previously has faced a series of technical problems, equipment malfunctions and delays since construction of the ship started in 2005, as at least 23 new technologies were incorporated into the design. Systems like the advanced weapons elevators and the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System experienced difficulties.
The Ford, which was originally set to deploy in 2018, recently wrapped up its first crew certification in November 2021 to prepare the carrier for operational employment in 2022, the Navy said.
The crew certification’s final phase will wrap up in January 2022, and will involve a one-week inspection with several drills targeting medical response, seamanship and navigation, and ship-wide damage control and tactical fighting drills.
The Ford’s post-delivery test and trials kicked off in October 2019 and concluded in May, and involved certifying the flight deck and embarking the air wing, among other things. The ship then conducted three shock trials this summer — marking the first time a carrier has conducted underwater shock testing since 1987 with the Theodore Roosevelt, the Navy said.
The final shock, completed off the coast of St. Augustine Beach, Fla., registered as a 3.9 magnitude earthquake. The ship did not incur any major casualties, and suffered less damage than expected from the 40,000-pound charge that exploded “right off the starboard beam” of the new ship, Defense News previously reported.
After the shock trials, the Navy said the Ford started its Planned Incremental Availability in August at Newport News Shipyard as part of its last maintenance period prior to deploying in 2022.