The USS Gerald R. Ford departed Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia on May 2 for its first worldwide deployment.
Setting out with the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, it is the vessel’s maiden combat mission and second deployment after a two-month deployment in the fall of 2022 to the US 2nd and 6th Fleet regions.
The deployment will “operationalize” a set of new technologies, according to commander Capt. Rick Burgess.
“This ship and crew are actively reshaping the face of our Navy’s capabilities and strengthening the future of naval aviation,” he said.
Although the navy has not outlined its precise areas of operation, USNI News reported that it “will continue the consistent carrier presence in the Mediterranean Sea” begun in December 2021.
“Our presence at sea throughout the deployment will provide reassurance to our allies and partners that sea lanes will remain open, and our joint operations will demonstrate our commitment to interoperability and maritime stability,” Rear Admiral Greg Huffman said in a press release.
The Ford will be escorted by the USS Normandy guided-missile cruiser, the USS Ramage and USS McFaul guided-missile destroyers, and the USS Thomas Hudner.
The USS Gerald R. Ford
The USS Gerald R. Ford was christened in November 2013 as a replacement for the US Navy’s Enterprise and Nimitz-class aircraft carriers. A $5.1 billion contract was signed in September 2008 to design and build the carrier.
The US Navy’s largest and most expensive vessel, the carrier was built at a cost of $13.3 billion. The ship is expected to save billions in the next five decades due to lower maintenance costs and smaller crew requirements.
The carrier features advanced technologies such as electromagnetic catapults and weapons elevators on its redesigned flight deck and island, incorporating 23 new technologies.
The newly-revamped vessel completed its Planned Incremental Availability early last year after undergoing full ship shock trials to test its ability to withstand underwater explosions in preparation for its final readiness for global deployment.