Manufacturer: Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding
Armament: Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, Rolling Airframe Missile, CIWS
Propulsion: Two nuclear reactors, four shafts.
Speed: 30+ knots
Crew: 4,539 (ship, air wing and staff).
The Gerald R. Ford class is the future aircraft carrier replacement class for Enterprise and Nimitz class aircraft carriers for the U.S. Navy. The Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) was ordered from Newport News Shipbuilding on Sept. 10, 2008, and is scheduled to be delivered in 2016. The Gerald R. Ford class will be the premier forward asset for crisis response and early decisive striking power in a major combat operation. Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carriers and carrier strike groups will provide the core capabilities of forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, maritime security and humanitarian assistance. The class brings improved warfighting capability, quality of life improvements for our Sailors and reduced total ownership costs.
Each ship in the new class will save more than $4 billion in total ownership costs during its 50-year service life, compared to the Nimitz-class. The CVN 78 is designed to operate effectively with nearly 700 fewer crew members than a CVN 68-class ship. Improvements in the ship design will allow the embarked air wing to operate with approximately 400 fewer personnel. New technologies and ship design features are expected to reduce watch standing and maintenance workload for the crew. Gerald R. Ford is the first aircraft carrier designed with all electric utilities, eliminating steam service lines from the ship, reducing maintenance requirements and improving corrosion control.
The new A1B reactor, Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) and Dual Band Radar (DBR) all offer enhanced capability with reduced manning. The Gerald R. Ford class is designed to maximize the striking power of the embarked carrier air wing. The ship’s systems and configuration are optimized to maximize the sortie generation rate (SGR) of attached strike aircraft, resulting in a 33 percent increase in SGR over the Nimitz class. The ship’s configuration and electrical generating plant are designed to accommodate new systems, including direct energy weapons, during its 50- year service life.
Ships in class:
PCU Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) PCU John F. Kennedy (CVN 79)