1st Ford Carrier Commissioning Set for Saturday; Navy Adm. John Richardson Comments

Geneva Matthews
July 23, 2017

US president Donald Trump has declared that the most advanced aircraft carrier to join the US Navy, the USS Gerald R Ford, will cause America's enemies to "shake with fear" whenever they see it.

"American might is second to none and we're getting bigger and better and stronger every day of my administration".

She said: "There is no-one, absolutely no-one, who would be prouder of the commissioning of this mighty ship than the president of the United States, Gerald R Ford".

He also called on congress to approve higher military spending.

Numerous crew members have been with the carrier since the earliest stages of development - supplementing a lack of experience out at sea with a deep breadth of knowledge about the new technology that is expected to set the standard for the future of the Ford-class.

The Navy says it will undergo testing and is expected to be ready for deployment by 2021.

At her christening back in 2013, Admiral Jonathan Greenert said: "She will carry unmanned aircraft, joint strike fighters, and she will deploy lasers".

Trump landed on the flight deck in Marine One and was greeted by Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, and USS Gerald R. Ford Commanding Officer Capt. Rick McCormack.

"One primary difference is the crew composition", said the ship's executive officer, Capt. Brent Gaut.

Mr Trump said at the event in Norfolk, Virginia: "I hereby place United States Ship Gerald R Ford in commission".

Construction started in 2009 and was to be completed by September 2015 at a cost of $10.5 billion. He served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Monterey and participated in actions in the Pacific Theater, including at Makin Island, Kwajalein and the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

He was followed by Susan Ford Bales, the ship's sponsor and daughter of the 38th president, whom the ship honours. The warships are being built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.

A 2016 memo from Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department's director of operational test and evaluation, said the most expensive warship in history continued to struggle launching and recovering aircraft, moving onboard munitions, conducting air traffic control and ship self-defense as recently as previous year. The Navy blames the delays and budget overruns on the ship's state-of-the-art systems.

The technology of the USS Gerald R. Ford, albeit impressive McCormack said, will never be better than the crew.

The CNV 78 aircraft carrier boasts almost two dozen new technologies not present on older carriers - including a more spacious flight deck, an electromagnetic aircraft launch system and advanced arresting gear to better recover incoming aircraft.

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