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Navy prepared to deploy USS Gerald R. Ford in early May after years of delays



The United States Navy says it is ready to deploy its newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, in early May, after years of unforeseen delays the Navy says it “should never” repeat.

The USS Gerald R. Ford is the first in a new fleet of aircraft carriers that are poised to gradually replace Nimitz class carriers in the first new class of US aircraft carriers since the 1970s. The ship will deploy as part of a group of vessels including escorts to the USS Gerald R. Ford as a certified carrier strike group. The operational formation of strike units will deploy to an undisclosed location in the first week of May, according to Captain Brian Metcalf, who spoke to Business Insider.

The Ford was initially launched in 2013, and has faced a series of delays that pushed its completion to an in-service ship to almost a decade. “Although it appears similar to a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier,” the United States Navy said of the carrier, “there are many features that make Ford unique. First-in-class technology includes a new nuclear plant, the ability to generate nearly three times the amount of electrical power, innovative advanced arresting gear and the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS).”

All the new tech on the ship caused delays as the Navy carried out the installation of 23 new technologies on the vessel. Metcalf says the delay is not likely to repeat itself as the Navy transitions from Nimitz to Ford class vessels in the coming years. “You will not see another six-year interval between the delivery of [the next Ford-class carrier] and its deployment,” he said to Insider, “and we should never do that again.”

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