The Navy accepted delivery of the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) aircraft carrier in Newport News, Virginia, May 31. Delivery followed the ship's successful completion of acceptance trials May 26.

"Congratulations to everyone who has helped bring CVN 78 to this historic milestone," said Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, program executive officer for aircraft carriers. "Over the last several years, thousands of people have had a hand in delivering Ford to the Navy -- designing, building and testing the Navy's newest, most capable, most advanced warship. Without a doubt, we would not be here without the hard work and dedication of those from the program office, our engineering teams and those who performed and oversaw construction of this incredible warship. It is because of them that Ford performed so well during acceptance trials, as noted by the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey."

"Well done to our shipbuilding partners, Ford's crew and everyone who supported them," said Vice Adm. Tom Moore, commander, Naval Sea Systems Command, who also embarked for acceptance trials.

Ford is the lead ship of its class and the first new-design aircraft carrier delivered to the Navy since USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in 1975. It is also the first aircraft carrier to join the fleet since USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) delivered in 2009. The future USS Gerald R. Ford honors the 38th president of the United States and pays tribute to his lifetime of service to the nation in the Navy and in the U.S. government.

The next generation of aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford class delivers unprecedented flexibility to the fleet. Due to a larger flight deck, the ability to host more aircraft, additional weapons and aviation fuel storage, and the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System and Advanced Arresting Gear, Ford will be able to increase sortie rates by one-third when compared to the Nimitz class. Further, the Navy's newest aircraft carrier generates three times the amount of electricity as previous classes and is designed to rapidly add capabilities as new systems become available over the course of its projected 50-year service life.

Ford will be commissioned into the fleet this summer, formally placing the ship into active service. Following this, there will be a "shakedown" period where the ship will conduct several at-sea events to provide longer underway periods for the ship's crew to operate and train on ship's systems. In addition, planned deferred work will be performed, and any deficiencies identified during trials will be addressed during in-port periods.

Ford is expected to be operational in 2020 following achievement of initial operational capability.

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