USS Gerald R Ford: US Navy to test $13 billion vessel [Infographic]
The USS Gerald R. Ford, the most expensive warship ever built, is set to begin long-delayed sea trials ahead of its expected commissioning in April.
The $13 billion vessel is the first in a new generation of aircraft carriers, featuring a host of changes over the current Nimitz-class fleet.
The Ford is the lead ship in the U.S. Navy’s new class of super carriers. Two nuclear reactors power the 1,092ft-long warship, allowing it to cruise at 30+ knots (34.5+ miles per hour). Its new technologies include electromagnetic launch systems for jets and drones, a system that replaces steam catapults.
The carrier has been under construction since 2005. It was christened in 2013 and due for delivery in 2016. Setbacks with the advanced technologies caused the delay.
It carries 4,539 ship and air wing personnel and staff.
The Ford and the future USS John F. Kennedy and USS Enterprise will replace the Navy’s Nimitz-class carriers, which were first commissioned in 1975.
The new warship is named after former U.S. President Gerald R. Ford, who rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Navy during WWII. He died in 2006.