USS Gerald R. Ford

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On Saturday, November 9, 2013, Newport News Shipbuilding will christen the nation’s newest aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) during a ceremony on-site where the ship is being constructed. President Gerald R. Ford was the 38th President of the United States. His daughter, Susan Ford Bales, will serve as the ship’s sponsor, performing the traditional honor of breaking a bottle of American sparkling wine across the ship’s bow during the ceremony.

Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the first of a new class of aircraft carriers the first new design since USS Nimitz, which was launched in 1972. Redesigned from keel to mast, the ship will be able to launch aircraft more quickly while costing less to maintain, saving the Navy a projected $4 billion over the ship’s 50-year life span.

Watch Christening Live
The christening event will be provided for public viewing by Newport News Shipbuilding through a Live Webcast. Click here on November 9 at 11:00 a.m. EST to view the webcast from the Newport News Shipbuilding website.

About the Ship Builders
Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) will carry the spirit of Newport News shipbuilders wherever she sails throughout her 50-year lifespan. At peak times, 3,500 people will work on the ship, proudly using generations of shipbuilding experience to build America’s next great warship.

Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the first new design for an aircraft carrier since Nimitz (CVN 68). The shipbuilders found hidden 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 will be 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.

New Island
Ford’s island, the flight command center for the ship, is completely redesigned. It incorporates the latest technology in flat panel array radar systems and dual band radar. The island is shorter in length, but stands 20 feet taller than previous aircraft carriers’ islands. It is positioned 140 feet further aft and three feet further outboard than its predecessors.

More Flight Deck
The flight deck of CVN 78 has been completely redesigned and rearranged. The end result is a 25 percent increase in the ability to launch and recover aircraft missions. In order to accomplish this, the carrier has three aircraft elevators instead of four, and the island is positioned 140 feet further aft.

3D Product Model
Newport News Shipbuilding used a full-scale three-dimensional product model to design and plan the construction of the Ford-class of aircraft carriers. The significant investment allows visual integration in design, engineering, planning and construction. CVN 78 is the first aircraft carrier to be designed in a full-scale 3D product mode.