New carrier GERALD R FORD “underway” for 1st time

Gerald R. Ford (CVN78) Photo by Chris Oxley

Six tugs nudge the GERALD R FORD toward the fitting out berth at Newport News Shipbuilding.  (Huntington Ingalls Industries photo by Chris Oxley)

Here are the first released images of the new aircraft carrier GERALD R FORD (CVN 78) “underway” for the first time, being moved Nov. 17 from the graving dock in which she was built to Pier 3 at Newport News Shipbuilding.

This is the first time the true size and shape of the carrier can be appreciated. The extreme width of the sponsons at the aft end of the flight deck is especially apparent here — a major difference from the earlier Nimitz-class carriers.

The ship has been under construction in Dry Dock 12 since November 2009. Shipbuilders will continue outfitting and testing on the ship, work that will continue into the early part of 2016, when the FORD is scheduled to be delivered to the US Navy. 

The FORD is moved into the James River for the first time, on Nov. 17. Although the drydock was first flooded on Oct. 11, the ship isn't considered "launched" until she's moved for the first time. (Photo by John Whalen, Newport News Shipbuilding)

The FORD is moved into the James River for the first time, on Nov. 17. Although the drydock was first flooded on Oct. 11, the ship isn’t considered “launched” until she’s moved for the first time. (Photo by John Whalen, Newport News Shipbuilding)

Tugs begin to swing the ship broadside to the shore. (Photo by John Whalen, Newport News Shipbuilding)

Tugs begin to swing the ship broadside to the shore. (Photo by John Whalen, Newport News Shipbuilding)

The FORD will have an overall length of 1,106 feet (337 m), and the flight deck at its widest is 252 feet (77 m). The ship will displace more than 100,000 tons when she goes to sea.

The FORD will have an overall length of 1,106 feet (337 m), and the flight deck at its widest is 252 feet (77 m). The ship will displace more than 100,000 tons when she goes to sea.

Workers aboard the FORD look out at the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) as the Navy's newest carrier is brought to berth alongside its oldest ship. The Big E is in the process of being deactivated. (Photo via PCU Gerald R. Ford)

Workers aboard the FORD look out at the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) as the Navy’s newest carrier is brought to berth alongside its oldest ship. The Big E is in the process of being deactivated. (Photo via PCU Gerald R. Ford)

Compare this shot of the FORD with the USS GERALD R FORD (CVN 77) below.

Compare this shot of the FORD with the USS GEORGE H W BUSH (CVN 77) below.

For comparison, here's a shot of the last ship of the Nimitz class, the USS GEORGE H W BUSH (CVN 77), anchored in Spithead off Portsmouth, England on May 27, 2011. Among the most obvious changes to the BUSH from the previous design is the much higher and narrower island superstructure -- designed to accommodate the phased array antennae of the dual band radar -- and the enormous sponsons built to either side of the FORD's stern.  By comparison, the BUSH seems almost narrow aft. (Photo courtesy Leo van Ginderen)

USS GEORGE H W BUSH (CVN 77), last ship of the preceding Nimitz class, anchored in Spithead off Portsmouth, England on May 27, 2011. Among the most obvious changes to the FORD from the previous design is the much higher and narrower island superstructure — designed to accommodate the phased array antennae of the dual band radar — and the enormous sponsons built to either side of the FORD’s stern. By comparison, the BUSH seems almost narrow aft. (Photo courtesy Leo van Ginderen)

 

Christopher P. Cavas
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Christopher P. Cavas

If it's on, over, under or around the water, I write about it. Ships and aircraft, units, tactics, leadership, strategies, acquisition, politics, industry. In the USA and around the world.
Christopher P. Cavas
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