Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Costly ‘technological marvel’: US Navy christens new class $13bn aircraft carrier

November 11, 2013
CVN 78 (Gerald R Ford) at the shipyard during the initial filling of the drydock. (Photo from Wikipedia.org)

The US Navy has christened the first of a new class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, the 13-billion-dollar USS Gerald R. Ford. The ship, hailed as the most technologically advanced ever built, is expected to join the fleet in 2016.

The ship is the Navy’s first carrier designed in more than 40 years. The Ford-class aircraft carriers will replace current Nimitz class that was launched in 1972. The Ford is projected to stay in service until 2057.

The ship, named after US President Gerald Ford, was christened at the ceremony at Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va. on Saturday. The new aircraft carrier is planned to replace the USS Enterprise (CVN-65).

The former president’s daughter, Susan Ford Bales, who was also the ship’s sponsor, performed the ceremonial breaking of a bottle of champagne on the ship’s bow in front of more than 20,000 sailors, shipbuilders and civilians.

The ceremony comes after more than 12 years of planning and construction.

“The carrier is our Navy’s most adaptable platform,” Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, said, calling the Ford a “technological marvel”. “Ford will herald a new era of our carrier fleet,” he added.

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