Those of the US Navy newest and most modern aircraft carrier left its first deployment in Norfolk, Virginia on Tuesday to put the ship through its paces and train with allies in North America and Europe.
The USS Gerald Ford is the first new aircraft carrier to be developed in “over 40 years,” according to the US Navy. Construction of the aircraft carrier officially began in November 2009 and was commissioned by former President Donald Trump in 2017, according to a US Navy release.
The ship is the first Ford-class aircraft carrier. The Navy has begun construction on the next two Ford-class carriers, USS Kennedy and USS Enterprise.
The aircraft carrier features new, advanced technology, including “nearly three times the electrical power” compared to the Nimitz-class carriers, and uses the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, or EMALS, according to the Navy.
The EMALS system, instead of the previous steam catapult system, uses electrical energy to launch aircraft from the ship. The system puts less stress on the planes when they’re launched from the carrier and allows less time between launches, a Navy official said.
The airline also has dual-band radar, a more advanced radar system. It is the only forward-class airline to have this type of radar, the official said.
The USS Gerald Ford and the Carrier Strike Group will operate with allies and partners in both the 2nd and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, a US Navy official said. The deployment will be shorter than a standard six-month deployment, the official added.
“This deployment is an opportunity to drive the ball lower and demonstrate the benefit that Ford and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 bring to the future of naval aviation, to the region and to our allies and partners,” said Carrier Strike Group 12 Commander Rear Admiral Gregory Huffman said in a statement.
The deployment will involve “approximately 9,000 personnel from nine nations, 20 ships and 60 aircraft,” according to a US Navy press release. Nations participating in the exercise include the United States, CanadaDenmark, Finland, France, Germanythe Netherlands, Spain and Sweden, the publication added.
While the USS Gerald Ford is deployed on Tuesday, the other ships in the carrier strike group will leave on Wednesday to join the Ford, a second Navy official said. This is common in these deployments.