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    USS Gerald R. Ford Leads NATO Exercise Silent Wolverine, Demonstrating Cutting-Edge Naval Capabilities In 2022

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    USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) transits the Atlantic Ocean.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    The USS Gerald R. Ford, the U.S. Navy’s most sophisticated and largest aircraft carrier, embarked on an emblematic mission in the Eastern Atlantic on November 8, 2022.

    As part of the NATO exercise Silent Wolverine, the supercarrier, alongside six NATO allies, retraced WWII supply routes, reaffirming the transatlantic bond and shared commitment to security.

    USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group sails in formation” by NATO is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the epitome of naval engineering.

    USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) pulls alongside USNS Patuxent (T-AO 201) during a replenishment-at-sea, May 15, 2020.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    It features 23 new technologies that demonstrate notable progress in propulsion, power generation, ordnance handling, and aircraft launch systems.

    USS Gerald R. Ford pulls alongside USNS William McLean during a replenishment-at-sea..” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    These innovations promise an amplified aircraft launch and recovery capacity, even with a crew size 20 percent smaller than that of its predecessors in the Nimitz class.

    USS Gerald R. Ford conducts high-speed turns in the Atlantic Ocean, Oct. 29, 2019.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Measuring 337 meters long and 78 meters wide, the USS Gerald R. Ford Class carriers have a total load displacement of 100,000 tons.

    USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) steams in the Atlantic Ocean, Oct. 27, 2019, for the first time since July 2018.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    The flight deck, spanning 78 meters, is equipped with an electromagnetic aircraft launch system and advanced arresting gear.

    This aircraft carrier can house more than 75 aircraft and accommodate 4,539 personnel.

    With propulsion from two nuclear reactors, it is armed with various weapons such as RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles, Airframe Missiles, and Phalanx close-in weapon systems (CIWS).

    USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) conducts carrier qualifications.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    This advanced capability was put to the test during the exercise, with Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Spain participating in high-end naval warfare scenarios to gauge Ford’s operational readiness and combat support potential.

    Rear Admiral Greg Huffman, commander of Carrier Strike Group 12, expressed pride in the multi-national operation: “We are honored to be sailing alongside some of the most capable navies in the world during our first deployment as we increase our proficiencies and demonstrate the warfighting capabilities that Ford brings to the fight.”

    An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter delivers cargo to USS Normandy (CG 60) during a vertical replenishment.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Composing the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group are the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS McFaul (DDG 74) and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).

    USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group sails in formation” by NATO is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    This deployment marks Ford’s first to the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) area of responsibility.

    As operations continue, the USS Gerald R. Ford is expected to undergo more evaluations to confirm its effectiveness in launching aircraft more efficiently than older carriers.

    This will determine whether America’s costliest and most formidable carrier has indeed transitioned out of its test phase, as claimed by its captain, Rick Burgess, who professed: “I really grew to love this ship, and I honestly believe that it is everything that the American taxpayers hoped it would be and more.”

    Relevant articles:
    Middle East mission was a chance to justify aircraft carrier’s price tag, npr.org
    15 Best Aircraft Carriers in the World, ssbcrack.com
    Navy’s newest aircraft carrier joins allies for exercise Silent Wolverine, Naval Forces Europe (.mil), Nov 9, 2022
    US Navy’s CVN 78 joins allies for exercise Silent Wolverine, Naval News, Nov 9, 2022

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