The U.S. Navy has accepted the delivery of the $12.9 billion USS Gerald R. Ford supercarrier after 12 years of construction and testing, the service announced Thursday.
“Congratulations to everyone who has helped bring [the Ford] to this historic milestone," Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, program executive officer for aircraft carriers, said in a statement. "Over the last several years, thousands of people have had a hand in delivering Ford to the Navy — designing, building and testing the Navy's newest, most capable, most advanced warship.”
The Ford is the lead ship in a new class of carriers of the same name. The Ford class is the first new type of carriers since the Nimitz class was commissioned in 1975, and its maiden ship is the Navy’s first new carrier since the USS George H. W. Bush was delivered in 2009.
The Ford has a larger flight deck than previous carriers, giving it the ability to hold more aircraft, weapons and aviation fuel. It also has new launch and recovery technology, called the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear, respectively.
Its delivery comes after a 15-month delay.
The Ford’s delivery Wednesday night comes after it successfully completed acceptance trials last Friday, the Navy said.
The ship will be commissioned into the fleet this summer and is expected to be operational by 2020, the Navy added.
The Ford class has elicited some criticism for ballooning costs over the years, growing from $27 billion to $36 billion in the last 10 years. In 2015, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainKelly takes under-the-radar approach in Arizona Senate race Voting rights, Trump's Big Lie, and Republicans' problem with minorities Sinema, Manchin curb Biden's agenda MORE (R-Ariz.) called it “one of the most spectacular acquisition debacles in recent memory,” blaming the “misalignment of accountability and responsibility in our defense acquisition system."
President Trump also caused a stir earlier this month when he criticized the EMALS and said he wants to use “goddamned steam” catapults instead.
“I said, ‘You don’t use steam anymore for catapult?’ ‘No sir.’ I said, ‘Ah, how is it working?’ ‘Sir, not good. Not good. Doesn’t have the power. You know the steam is just brutal. You see that sucker going and steam’s going all over the place, there’s planes thrown in the air,’” Trump said in an interview with Time magazine.
“It sounded bad to me. Digital. They have digital. What is digital? And it’s very complicated, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out. And I said — and now they want to buy more aircraft carriers. I said, ‘What system are you going to be — ‘Sir, we’re staying with digital.’ I said, ‘No you’re not. You going to goddamned steam, the digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.’”