Gerald R. Ford

The delivery of the US Navy’s first Gerald R Ford-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (CVN 78) is expected to be delayed by several weeks due to the slight deterioration in its shipboard test program, the navy has stated.

USS Gerald R Ford, which is being built by Huntington Ingalls Industries‘ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division, was scheduled for delivery on 31 March next year.

According to the navy, the slow progress of the vessels’ shipboard test will delay its scheduled sea trial by appoximately six to eight weeks and the impact on ship delivery will be determined based on the results of sea trials.

Construction of the aircraft carrier is 93% completed as the navy recently completed EMALS testing on the bow catapults.

In August, the crew moved aboard as scheduled and started Dual Band Radar (DBR) testing, which includes initial energisation of Multifunction Radar / Volume Search Radar (MFR/VSR) array face.

The propulsion plants of the warship completed the non-critical steaming programme and are currently preparing for their critical test programme.

Last month, Pentagon directed the US Navy to carry out shock tests before the deployment of this $12.9bn warship, delaying the vessel’s scheduled deployment.

Construction on the vessel started in 2009.

"The slow progress of the vessels’ shipboard test will delay its scheduled sea trial by appoximately six to eight weeks."

The 1,092ft-long Gerald R Ford offers significant quality-of-life improvements and reduced maintenance, providing enhanced operational availability and capability to the navy.

Featuring the Raytheon built-evolved Sea Sparrow missile (ESSM), the warship will be able to strike against high-speed, highly manoeuvrable, anti-ship missiles and a rolling airframe missile (RAM) close-in weapon system.

In addition, it will be capable of operating up to 90 aircraft, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, F / A-18E / F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, and MH-60R / S helicopters, among others.

The second Ford-class warship, USS John F Kennedy (CVN 79), is scheduled to enter service in 2020.

Image: The construction of USS Gerald R Ford aircraft carrier is 93% completed. Photo: courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries. Inc.