Wednesday, December 6, 2023

USS Gerald R. Ford back at Newport News Shipyard following a year of trials

USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) during sea trials (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of
USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) during sea trials (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of

The USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is back where it started, arriving at Huntington Ingalls Industries and Newport News Shipbuilding on July 15 to begin a yearlong maintenance and upgrade period.

According to Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington D.C., the ship’s post-shakedown availability/selected restricted availability (PSA/SRA) follows its successful completion of post-delivery testing and evaluation.

CVN 78 was delivered to the Navy on May 31, 2017.

“Congratulations to everyone who has helped bring CVN 78 to this historic milestone,” said Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, program executive officer for aircraft carriers. “Following delivery to the Navy, the ship’s crew has been diligently and successfully conducting post-delivery testing and trial operations that identify construction and design issues.”

Antonio said the crew was “extremely effective” in identifying issues early, which helps address them prior to the carrier returning to the fleet.

The USS Gerald R. Ford operated at sea for 81 days, through eight independent steaming events, completing fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft integration and compatibility testing, air traffic control center certification, JP-5 fuel system certification, daytime and nighttime underway replenishment capability demonstration, ship’s defensive system demonstration, Dual Band Radar testing and propulsion plant operations.

The ship completed nearly 750 shipboard aircraft launches and recoveries against a plan of approximately 400.

“One year ago this month we commissioned USS Gerald R. Ford, the world’s most technologically advanced aircraft carrier. Since that historic day, Ford has performed exceptionally due to a combination of innovative engineers, skilled craftsmen and professional and dedicated Sailors,” said Rear Adm. Roy Kelley, commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic.

No nation on earth, he said, can match the capability the Ford.

The scheduled 12-month PSA/SRA will install the remaining combat systems, complete deferred work, and correct remaining discrepancies identified during sea trials and shakedown. The longest sequence of events, or “critical path,” for this PSA/SRA period are Advanced Weapons Elevator construction and Advanced Arresting Gear upgrades.

Following the PSA/SRA, USS Gerald R. Ford will conduct further trials and testing, including full-ship shock trials, prior to its first deployment. The ship will work up for deployment in parallel with its initial operational testing and evaluation.

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