The US Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier has been deployed for the first time


The U.S. Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier departed Norfolk, Virginia on Tuesday on its first deployment, designed to put the ship through its paces and exercise with North American and European allies.

The USS Gerald Ford is the first new aircraft carrier designed in “more than 40 years,” the US Navy says. Construction on the carrier formally began in November 2009 and was commissioned by former President Donald Trump in 2017, according to a US Navy statement.

The ship is the first aircraft carrier of the Ford class. The Navy has begun construction on the next two Ford-class ships, the USS Kennedy and the USS Enterprise.

The aircraft carrier features new and advanced technology, including “nearly three times the amount of electrical power” compared to Nimitz-class carriers and uses the electromagnetic aircraft launch system, or EMALS, according to the Navy.

The EMALS system uses electric power to launch aircraft from the ship, instead of the previous steam catapult system. The system puts less stress on the aircraft as they launch from the carrier and will allow less time between launches, a Navy official said.

The carrier also has a dual-band radar, which is a more advanced radar system. It is the only forward-class carrier 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 the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea in the 2nd and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility, a US Navy official said. The extension will be shorter than the standard six-month extension, the official added.

“This deployment is an opportunity to push the ball further down the field and demonstrate the advantage Ford and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 bring to the future of naval aviation, the region and our allies and partners,” Carrier Strike Group. 12 Commander Rear Admiral Gregory Huffman said in a statement.

The deployment will involve “about 9,000 personnel from nine nations, 20 ships and 60 aircraft,” according to a US Navy statement. Among the nations participating in the exercise are the USA, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden, the statement added.

While the USS Gerald Ford deployed on Tuesday, other ships in the carrier strike group will join the Ford on Wednesday, a second Navy official said. This is common for these deployments.