The US Navy is set to commission its newest aircraft carrier, the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), during a ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia.
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the first vessel of the US Navy’s new Gerald R. Ford-class, which in turn is the navy's first new class of aircraft carriers in more than 40 years.
The vessel's commissioning will begin the planned phased replacement of the US Navy’s current Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.
CVN 78 is named after the 38th President of the US and pays homage to his lifetime of service in the navy.
Naval Operations chief admiral John Richardson said: “The nation is going to be very proud of USS Gerald R. Ford.
"I am incredibly thankful for the shipyard workers and sailors who worked amazingly hard to bring this mighty ship to life.”
The Gerald R. Ford-class features advanced technologies such as a new reactor plant, propulsion system, electric plant, electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS), advanced arresting gear (AAG), machinery control, dual-band radar and integrated warfare systems.
CVN 78 will be equipped with more than 23 new or upgraded systems compared to the Nimitz-class vessels.
Richardson added: “The new technology and warfighting capabilities that Ford brings will transform naval warfare, making us a more lethal navy.
“The increased combat power will enable new ways to combine information, ships, aircraft and undersea forces, changing how we operate and fight.”
The US Navy intends to invest $43bn in the development and construction of the three new Ford-class vessels, USS Gerald R. Ford, the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) and the future USS Enterprise (CVN 80).
Image: The Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) displays ‘up and over’ flags in observance of Independence Day. Photo: courtesy of the US Navy by mass communication specialist 2nd Class Ryan Litzenberger / Released.