USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Completes Post Shakedown Availability

By Lt. Terrence Smith, SC, USN STOCK CONTROL OFFICER, USS GERALD R. FORD (CVN 78)

Aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) completed its post shakedown availability (PSA) and got under way for sea trials on Oct, 25, 2019.

The newest and most advanced nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, and the first of the Ford class, Ford has been returned to fleet service by Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) after a 15-month maintenance period.

The completion of the PSA was due to a coordinated effort from Program Executive Office Aircraft Carriers; Naval Sea Systems Command; Naval Air Systems Command; Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command; Commander, Naval Air Forces; NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support; Defense Logistics Agency; and HII-NNS.

“The Sailors in the Supply Department – throughout the whole ship, really – are excited to finally get the ship back out to sea and operating. Their level of enthusiasm is simply off the charts with how well they take care of the crew and take pride in their work. I absolutely couldn’t be any prouder of them,” said Cmdr. Carl Koch, Ford’s supply officer.

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) underway for Sea trials. –photo by MC3 Connor Loessin

Ford’s PSA began in July 2018. The PSA included combat systems installations, throttle control system improvements, propulsion train component repairs, corrections to discrepancies identified during prior testing, and completion of berthing spaces. The HII-NNS team also completed construction of multiple advanced weapons elevators, fully outfitted all galley spaces, and completed upgrades to the electromagnetic aircraft launch system and advanced arresting gear. The aircraft carrier will be homeported in Norfolk, Virginia.

Since being commissioned on July 22, 2017, Ford has successfully completed nearly 750 shipboard aircraft launches and recoveries. Ford also certified its air traffic control center, its JP-5 fuel system, and the ship’s defensive systems, and demonstrated daytime and nighttime replenishment capability. The ship is the first of the Ford-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and is expected to remain in service for the next 50 years.