The US Navy’s Ford-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford has completed its six-month Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) and will soon head for final preparation before its first deployment.
The PIA or inaugural maintenance was completed at Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia and marked the conclusion of sea trials.
The vessel departed on Monday to Naval Station Norfolk, where it will be stationed. Its crew will undertake a period of training before the navy deploys the carrier for the first time in autumn this year.
During the PIA, maintenance and modernization work was performed on the carrier, which includes updates to the galley, reconfiguration of command-and-control spaces, modernization of its Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services system.
Before entering the PIA in September last year, it had also completed full ship shock trials, post-delivery testing, and trials.
In the full ship shock trials, 40,000 pounds of explosives were set off near the vessel to assess its concussion resistance. The vessel also finished a crew certification process in November.
About the USS Gerald R. Ford
Christened in November 2013, USS Gerald R. Ford is the replacement for Enterprise and Nimitz class aircraft carriers for the US Navy. In September 2008, the US Navy signed a $5.1 billion contract to design and develop the carrier.
Built at a cost of $13.3 billion, the carrier is the US’ largest and most expensive vessel. Due to lower maintenance costs and smaller crew requirements, the ship is expected to save billions in the next five decades.
The aircraft carrier has been equipped with advanced technologies such as electromagnetic catapults and weapons elevators installed in the redesigned flight deck and island. Designed to support the US Navy’s air wing, the vessel incorporates 23 new technologies.