The US Navy's first Ford-class aircraft carrier, the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), has returned to Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, after successfully completing builder's sea trials.

The USS Gerald R. Ford supercarrier was constructed by Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS), and is currently preparing for sea acceptance testing following the seven-day period of builder's sea trials.

Representatives from HII-NNS, the ship's crew members, the US Navy’s Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair supervisor, the navy’s CVN 78 Programme Office, and several technical subject matter experts demonstrated the vessel's wide-ranging capabilities during the initial at-sea period.

"The aircraft carrier demonstrated its ability to track aircraft using the dual-band radar, as well as conduct ‘no load’ cycles via the new electromagnetic aircraft launch system."

The aircraft carrier demonstrated its ability to track aircraft using the dual-band radar, as well as conduct ‘no load’ cycles via the new electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) and small boat operations.

Both HII-NNS and the US Navy gained a considerable knowledge regarding the vessel’s performance during the extensive testing procedures, and analysis of the results will continue to help address any identified corrective actions that may prove necessary.

The Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) carrier's acceptance trials and its subsequent delivery to the US Navy are slated to be carried out in spring.

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Construction work on the vessel began on 11 August 2005, while the keel of the aircraft carrier was laid down on 13 November 2009.

Image: Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) arrives at Naval Station Norfolk after returning from Builder's sea trials. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Lindahl / Released.