Ford Class

The USS Gerald R. Ford, the US Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier, was designed to be capable of winning a potential conflict with China. The new class of nuclear-powered ships will replace the aging US aircraft carriers one by one, eventually taking the place of the Nimitz-class ships.

The USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group embarked on its maiden deployment this past October, sailing across the Atlantic and successfully operating with numerous US allies and partners.

The US 2nd Fleet and Joint Force Command Norfolk commander noted that the carrier’s first deployment “brought together an incredible group of allies and partners with a single goal: to contribute to a peaceful, stable Atlantic region. And free from conflict through our combined naval power.”

Origins of Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers

The US fleet of Nimitz-class aircraft carriers is the anchor of an American power projection strategy first put into service nearly five decades ago.

These carriers have many attributes, such as the ability to sail without resupply for 90 days and attack targets hundreds of miles away, but they also have limitations that led the Navy to seek a more modern design.

Innovations on board the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) will hopefully improve America’s ability to deter attacks at sea.

With its new technology, the carrier can sail with a smaller crew. It also requires less maintenance. The Ford class will be about 1,100 feet long, with a beam of about 250 feet, and displace 100,000 tonnes. The new carriers can reach speeds of up to 35 knots when cruising.

Ford Class
ATLANTIC OCEAN (October 29, 2019) USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) performs high-speed turns in the Atlantic Ocean. Ford is at sea conducting sea trials after the in-port portion of her 15-month post-shakedown availability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Connor Loessin)

What makes them more advanced?

The F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, EA-2 electronic warfare fighter 18G Growler, and F/A-18E Super Hornet are only some of the more than 90 aircraft that may be carried by a ship of the Ford class.

The Marine Corps F-35 variant, which features short takeoff and vertical landing capabilities, will also be able to land on the new aircraft carriers. Most notably, the USS Gerald R. Ford will feature the EMALS electromagnetic launch system.

According to National Defense Magazine, “electromagnetic launch and arrest systems have wider tolerances than mechanical systems,” which is “essential for launching smaller, lighter aircraft, such as the unmanned systems needed in a warfighter.” high level.” A 2nd Fleet spokesperson added that the EMALS system “improves takeoff speeds while reducing aircraft wear and tear and lowering maintenance and support costs. It also reduces the staff required for its operation by a third and allows sailors’ living and working spaces to be quieter and cooler.”

The maiden deployment of the Gerald R. Ford signals that the Navy’s new aircraft carrier is finally ready for a full deployment. The second ship of the new class, USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), is likely to go to sea in 2024.