The Ford represents the first new class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers since the USS Nimitz in 1975. It features the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System and Advanced Arresting Gear, both designed and built by San Diego’s General Atomics.
Trump said in interview last month that the new catapults are unreliable and he told the Navy: “You’re going to goddamned steam, the digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.”
The new electric catapults are expected to increase the sortie rate — the number of planes than can be launched in a given period –by up to a third while reducing wear and tear on airframes.
The Navy accepted delivery of the ship in Newport News, VA, one May 31. Commissioning is planned for the summer, followed by a shakedown period before the ship becomes operational.
The Ford is 1,100-feet long, displaces 100,000 tons and can carry 75 aircraft. It’s powered by twin nuclear reactors.
Two other carriers in the class, the future USS Enterprise and USS John F. Kennedy, are under construction.
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