Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier

Gerald R. Ford class (or Ford class) is a class of supercarriers currently being built to replace some of the United States Navy's existing Nimitz-class carriers. The new vessels will have a hull similar to the Nimitz carriers, but will introduce technologies developed since the initial design of the previous class (such as the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System), as well as other design features intended to improve efficiency and operating costs, including reduced crew requirement. The first ship of the class, the Gerald R. Ford, has hull number CVN-78.

Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier
Class Ship
Type Aircraft Carrier
Manufacturer Huntington Ingalls Industries
Production Period 2009 - 2013
Origin United States of America
Country Name Origin Year
United States of America 2013
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Huntington Ingalls Industries 2009 2013 2 View

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier has been an integral part of United States power projection strategy since Nimitz was first commissioned in 1975. Displacing approximately 100,000 tons when fully loaded, a Nimitz-class carrier is capable of steaming faster than thirty knots, self-sustaining for up to ninety days, and launching aircraft to strike targets hundreds of miles away. The endurance of this class is exemplified by USS Theodore Roosevelt, which spent 159 days underway in support of Operation Enduring Freedom without the need to visit a port or be refueled. Over the lifespan of the class many new technologies have been successfully integrated into the design of this vessel. However, with the technical advances made in the past decade the ability of the navy to make improvements to this class of ship has become more limited. "The biggest problems facing the Nimitz class are the limited electrical power generation capability and the upgrade-driven increase in ship weight and erosion of the center-of-gravity margin needed to maintain ship stability."

With these constraints in mind the navy developed what was initially known as the "CVN-21" program, which ultimately evolved into CVN-78, Gerald R. Ford. Improvements were made through developing technologies and more efficient design. Major design changes include a larger flight deck, improvements in weapons and material handling, a new propulsion plant design that requires fewer personnel to operate and maintain, and a new smaller island that has been pushed aft. Technological advances in electromagnetics have led to the development of an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), and an Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG). An integrated warfare system, the Ship Self-Defense System (SSDS), has been developed to support flexibility in adapting the infrastructure of the ship to future mission roles. The new Dual Band Radar (DBR) combines S-band and X-band radar in a single system. With new design and technology the Ford will have a 25% increase in sortie generation, threefold increase in electrical generating capacity, increased operational availability, and a number of quality-of-life improvements. Requirements for a higher sortie rate of around 160 exits a day with surges to a maximum of 270 sorties a day in times of crisis and intense air warfare activity, have led to design changes in the flight deck, which enable greater aircraft launch capabilities.

Name: Gerald R. Ford–class aircraft carrier
Builders: Newport News Shipbuilding
Operators:  United States Navy
Preceded by: Nimitz class
Cost: $12.68 billion (FY14)
Building: 2
Planned: 10
General characteristics
Type: Aircraft carrier
Displacement: Approximately 100,000 long tons (110,000 short tons; 100,000 tonnes) (full load)
Length: 1,106 ft (337 m)
Beam: 256 ft (78 m) (flight deck)
134 ft (41 m) (waterline)
Height: 250 feet (76 m)
Draft: 39 ft (12 m)
Decks: 25
Installed power: Two A1B nuclear reactors
Propulsion: Four shafts
Speed: In excess of 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Complement: 508 officers
3,789 enlisted
Armament: Anti-aircraft missiles:
2 × RIM-162 ESSM
2 × RIM-116 RAM
2 × Phalanx CIWS
4 × M2 12.7mm machine guns
Aircraft carried: 75+
Aviation facilities: 1,092 ft × 256 ft (333 m × 78 m) flight deck

End notes