USS Gerald R. Ford - the World's Largest Aircraft Carrier

In this article, we will look into USS Gerald R Ford - the world's largest aircraft carrier ever constructed in terms of displacement. It is set to replace USS Enterprise which was decommissioned in the year 2012 nearly after 51 years of active service. USS Gerald R Ford is the new carrier designed to generate a large number of aircraft sorties to deliver the payloads necessary for various defensive and offensive missions. We will see some of its advance features and capability in below section.

USS Gerald R Ford - the World's Largest Aircraft Carrier

USS Gerald R. Ford - the World's Largest Aircraft Carrier

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  • It is named after the 38th President of the United States, Gerald Ford.
  • The construction of the carrier began in the year 2009.
  • The carrier was assembled at Newport News Shipbuilding, the only shipyard in the United States that can build nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.
  • It was commissioned in July 2017.
  • The USS Gerald Ford is 1,106 feet long and weighs a massive 110,000 ton.
  • It is powered by two nuclear reactors instead of traditional fuel.
  • The aircraft carrier has unlimited range and can set sail for 25 years.
  • It will be capable of carrying up to 90 aircraft which includes all the advanced navy aircraft like F-35C Lightning II, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, MH-60R/S helicopters and unmanned air vehicles.
  • It is equipped with Wi-fi enabled lounges which are located across the passageway in the carrier.
  • It also has stealth features to reduce radar cross section.
  • USS Gerald R. Ford has both short as well as long range powerful radars.
  • The biggest visible difference from earlier supercarriers is the more aft location of the island (superstructure).
  • USS Gerald R. Ford cost a whopping $13.7 billion.
  • It is first in its class which has an on-board hospital including a full laboratory, pharmacy, operating room and emergency.
  • The ship's crest was developed jointly by the ship sponsor and the first commanding officer, Captain John F. Meier.
  • Its armament includes Surface to Air missiles, Phalanx CIWS and machine guns.
  • It has advanced weapons elevators which provides faster movement of ordinance from Magazine to Aircraft.
  • It has new and innovative technologies to launch and recover aircraft.
  • The Ford-class electromagnetic-powered aircraft launch system (EMALS) offers numerous advantages over the traditional steam-powered catapults of the Nimitz-class carriers.
  • It will also have the capability to recover and launch various Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircrafts.
  • It greatly reduces the manpower efforts and has lot of automatic control and systems.
  • Newport News Shipbuilding used a full-scale three-dimensional product model developed in Dassault Systèmes CATIA V5 to design and plan the construction of the Gerald R. Ford class of aircraft carriers.
  • This ship is intended to sustain 160 sorties per day for 30-plus days, with a surge capability of 270 sorties per day.
  • It carries Advanced Arresting Gear(AAG) system which provides the ability to recover both current and projected carrier-based tail hook equipped aircraft.
  • The sailors compartment and ergonomics works spaces are also significantly improved as compared to previous Nimitz class carriers.
  • The Gerald R. Ford-class ships use steam turbines for propulsion.
  • As compared to previous carriers, ford class carriers will require minimum maintenance due to no moving parts and will get quickly ready for the next voyage.
  • The Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR) is a new design surveillance radar that is to be installed in the second Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier, John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), in lieu of the Dual Band radar. More on wikipedia.
  • Navy is working on more advanced weapon system for future carriers. This includes Free Electron Laser(FEL) to defend against the cruise missiles and small-boat swarms.

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