NORFOLK, Va. – The first of the U.S. Navy’s new class of aircraft carriers has returned following a week of sea trials.
Last Saturday the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) embarked from Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding to conduct “builder’s trials” to test various state-of-the-art systems.Newport News shipbuilders partnered with Gerald R. Ford sailors and personnel from Naval Sea Systems
“Everybody has to work together to really exercise the ship and take it through its final paces,” said Rolf Bartschi, Newport News Shipbuilding vice president, Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) carrier construction. “We work to test the systems and actually operate the ship out here at sea. It’s fantastic to be out and really see this ship come to life.”
The Ford features a new nuclear power plant, a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapults, improved weapons movement, an enhanced flight deck capable of increased aircraft sortie rates, and growth margin for future technologies.
Ready for the 21st Century
Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the first new design for an aircraft carrier since USS Nimitz (CVN 68). The shipbuilders found value in every square inch of the ship, saving the Navy a projected $4 billion in ownership costs over the ship’s 50-year lifespan. The ship is equipped with two newly-designed reactors and has 250 percent more electrical capacity than previous carriers. The improvements will allow the ship to load weapons and launch aircraft faster than ever before.
Building a Giant
Building an aircraft carrier takes generations of experience, hundreds of thousands of man hours, years of planning and steady determination. Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the product of years of construction, and before that, years of planning and design. Five thousand shipbuilders in Newport News and thousands of suppliers across the United States contributed to this first-in-class ship.
3-D Product Model
Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the Navy’s first aircraft carrier to be completely designed using a 3-dimensional product model. Newport News Shipbuilding utilized the latest and most advanced computer tool capabilities and functionalities for visual integration in design, engineering, planning and construction.
Every piece part is created in a 3-D model at full scale which includes structure, various equipment, piping systems, machinery, electrical, wireways, gauges, pumps, berths, medical and galleys. At any given day hundreds of designers, engineers, planners and construction representatives were in the model designing, creating and planning every feature of the ship.