USS Gerald R. Ford starts preparations for acceptance trials

The lead ship of the next generation of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), has completed builder’s sea trials and is now starting preparations for the acceptance trials.

The aircraft carrier returned to Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia on April 14 after seven days of builder’s sea trials.

During this initial at-sea period, Ford’s crew, representatives from Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding, the Navy’s CVN 78 Program Office, the Navy’s Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair and various technical subject matter experts demonstrated many of the ship’s capabilities including tracking aircraft using the Dual Band Radar, conducting “no load” cycles using the new electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) and small boat operations.

As is typical with sea trials, the Navy and shipbuilder learned a great deal about the ship’s performance during the extensive testing. Analysis continues, and any identified corrective actions will be addressed.

The U.S. Navy said the CVN 78 remains on track to conduct acceptance trials and delivery to the Navy this spring.

The Huntington Ingalls Industries- built ship is 1,100 foot (335 meter) long and displaces 100,000 tonnes. Ordered on September 10, 2008, USS Gerald R. Ford is the most expensive ship in the Navy’s fleet with a price tag of $12.9 billion.