The US Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78), completed a pierside fast cruise evolution ahead of upcoming sea trials.

The first-in-class USS Gerald R Ford is scheduled to leave Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) by the end of this month.

The fast cruise comes after the carrier’s 15-month post-shakedown availability (PSA) at HII-NNS.

During the evolution, sailors across the aircraft carrier participated in different scenarios.

USS Gerald R Ford training officer lieutenant commander Nick Devorak said: “The fast cruise was an opportunity for the crew to put into action the lessons they’ve learned over the past 15 months.

“While in Newport News, the crew has been regularly conducting general quarters drills, man overboard evolutions, and the like. The last five days allowed the team a dedicated period to put their knowledge and skills to the test in a simulated at-sea environment.

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“Evolutions like the fast cruise are critical because it gets sailors in the right mindset before taking a warship to sea.”

The PSA involved material improvements to the aircraft carrier and provided training to the crew to maintain readiness.

The sailors would continue to regularly simulate at-sea periods to hone damage control, seamanship, navigation and life-saving skills. The evolution prepared the crew to become operational.

USS Gerald R Ford commanding officer captain JJ Cummings said: “Here on Warship 78, we call this being ‘warship ready’.

“Warship ready means our time in the shipyard is over and we now look forward to post-delivery testing and trials. We will now focus on taking our ship to sea, becoming operationally ready and training to use the most technologically advanced systems in the navy.”

The sea trials will include a series of evolutions to test and validate the performance of the systems maintained during the PSA.

Meanwhile, reports emerged that the carrier is not expected to be ready for operational deployment until 2024. Only three of Ford’s Advanced Weapons Elevators have been certified so far.