IN JULY 2017, the U.S. Navy commissioned United States Ship (USS) Gerald R. Ford, the newest and most advanced aircraft carrier, at a naval base in Virginia.
The vessel, the first of the next generation of nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carriers, is named after the country’s 38th president Gerald R. Ford.
Based on the U.S. navy’s first new aircraft carrier design in 40 years, the 1,100-foot (about 335.2 meter) nuclear-powered supercarrier is equipped with the electromagnetic catapults and advanced operational systems that allow aircraft to take off and land more quickly and downscale the crew.
The new technologies launch a third more fighter jets than traditional systems in older carriers, with less heat and noise.
Besides, the 100,000-ton warship has a larger deck to improve aircraft maneuverability and a repositioned, smaller tower for better visibility. Two nuclear reactors allow the Ford to cruise at a speed of more than 30 knots (unit of speed, 30 knots=55.56 km/h) and run for over 20 years without refueling.
There is a a crew of 2,600 sailors on the USS Ford, about 600 fewer than a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, which is expected to save over 4 billion dollars over the ship’s 50-year lifespan, according to the U.S. Navy.
There are 10 U.S. carriers being operated in the 11 carrier-force mandated by Congress, after the retirement of the USS Enterprise in 2012.
In addition to the USS Ford, there are two other aircraft carriers of its class. The USS John F. Kennedy is scheduled to launch in 2020, and the Ford-class USS Enterprise to begin construction in 2018.