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    Exploring the $13 Billion USS Gerald R. Ford: The US Navy’s More Efficient and Powerful Giant

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    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

    In an era of proliferating threats and evolving conflict scenarios, the United States Navy has introduced the pinnacle of maritime dominance and technological innovation: the $13 billion Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier.

    The lead ship of its class, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), was ordered on September 10, 2008, from Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding and was scheduled to be delivered in 2016, marking a new chapter in naval warfare.

    The Gerald R. Ford class will serve as the primary asset for rapid crisis response and early decisive striking power in significant combat operations.

    Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carriers and carrier strike groups will offer essential capabilities including forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, maritime security, and humanitarian assistance.

    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

    The new A1B reactors and electromagnetic systems underpinning the Ford-class carriers not only promise a 33 percent increase in Sortie Generation Rate (SGR) over the Nimitz-class but also allow for operation with approximately 700 fewer crew members.

    This reduction in manpower, coupled with an overall design geared towards minimizing maintenance and watch standing requirements, is expected to save more than $4 billion in total ownership costs over each ship’s projected 50-year service life.

    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

    The Gerald R. Ford is the first aircraft carrier designed with all-electric utilities, eliminating steam service lines and improving corrosion control.

    Additionally, technological advancements like the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) enhance the vessel’s capabilities while reducing the required crew for operation.

    The staggering size of the Ford-class carrier does not impede its agility.

    CGI: A F-35 Lightning II Landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth” by Defence Images is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    Boasting a top speed of over 30 knots.As for its lethality and force projection, the carrier is an airstrip at sea, capable of supporting up to 90 aircraft, including the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II, F/A-18 Super Hornet, and EA-18G Growlers.

    An F/A-18F Super Hornet performs a touch-and-go on the flight deck of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    These aircraft form the core of the carrier’s power, enabling it to project American military might across the globe without the need for host-nation support.

    As of its service entry in 2017, the USS Gerald R. Ford is a testament to the U.S. commitment to maintaining sea supremacy in an increasingly complex and contested global arena.

    While carriers such as the Ford-class demand substantial investment, they provide unparalleled strategic mobility, self-sufficiency, and a formidable presence that solidifies their importance in U.S. national security.

    USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)” by tabounds is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    The Ford-class carriers represent a crucial asset for the U.S. Navy, enabling quick response to aggression and support for allies.

    USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) conducts flight operations in the Atlantic Ocean March 21, 2020.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    This was exemplified by the recent deployment of the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean in aid of Israel.

    Relevant articles:
    Gerald R. Ford Class Aircraft Carrier, Military.com
    How Aircraft Carriers Work, howstuffworks.com
    Important Links and Info, navy.mil
    USS Gerald R Ford deployed to assist Israel: 5 things to know about the $18 billion aircraft carrier, indianexpress.com

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