U.S. Navy’s $13 billion dollar carrier gets underway for builder’s sea trials

The U.S. Navy’s most expensive ship ever built, the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), got underway for its first set of sea trials, known as builder’s sea trials (BST).

Builder’s sea trials provide an opportunity to test systems, components and compartments at sea for the first time.

Over the next several days, CVN 78 sailors, shipbuilders from Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS), the Navy’s Supervisor of Shipbuilding and Naval Sea Systems Command personnel will be working side-by-side testing many of the ship’s key systems and technologies.

The Gerald R. Ford class is the future aircraft carrier replacement class for Enterprise and Nimitz class aircraft carriers.

CVN 78 was ordered from Newport News Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of Huntington Ingalls Industries, on Sept. 10, 2008. According to the U.S. Navy, the CVN 78 is designed to operate effectively with nearly 700 fewer crew members than a CVN 68-class ship. Improvements in the ship design will allow the embarked air wing to operate with approximately 400 fewer personnel.

“The Navy and our industry partners are excited to have the future USS Gerald R. Ford underway under her own power for the first time, executing a rigorous and comprehensive test program for this first-of-class ship,” said Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, program executive officer for aircraft carriers. “This milestone is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication, and we look forward to learning a great deal during sea trials. We will continue to work together to deliver Ford’s critical capabilities to the fleet.”

USS Gerald R. Ford is expected to be delivered to the navy in September this year.