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American Aircraft Carriers

USS Gerald R. Ford CVN-78

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USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is to be the lead ship of her class of United States Navy supercarriers. As announced by the U.S. Navy on January 16, 2007, the ship will be named after the 38th President of the United States, Gerald R. Ford.

Hull #

CVN 78

Navy Awards $5 Billion Contract for Future Carrier USS Gerald R. Ford
Story Number: NNS080911-04
Release Date: 9/11/2008 6:35:00 AM
US Navy News

From Naval Sea System Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy awarded a $5.1 billion contract to Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Newport News Sept. 10 for the detail design and construction of the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), the lead ship in the Navy's newest class of aircraft carrier.

Under this contract, Northrop Grumman will complete the detail design and construction of CVN 78, which includes engineering; integration; related development efforts including drawing and work package development; advanced planning; design weight estimate; lifecycle support products and related logistics data; production planning; test and evaluation; further definition of initiatives to reduce CVN 78 class total ownership costs; and data necessary to support construction of CVN 78.

"This is an exciting day for the CVN 78 Program Office and for the Navy," said Capt. Brian Antonio, CVN 78 program manager in the Program Executive Office for Aircraft Carriers.

"When USS Gerald R. Ford is delivered to the fleet in 2015, it will bring superior warfighting capability and meaningful quality-of-life improvements for Sailors, in addition to greatly reduced lifecycle costs. Most important, CVN 78-class carriers will be able to adapt and evolve to defend this nation and our allies well into the 21st century," he said.

CVN 78 is the Navy's first major investment in aircraft carrier design in more than three decades and features many improvements over the 1960's Nimitz-class design. CVN 78 includes a new flight deck with an improved weapons handling system, advanced arresting gear, a completely re-engineered electro-magnetic aircraft launch system, new and simplified nuclear propulsion plants, a new electrical power generation system and reconfigurable design architecture.

"Together, these improvements provide transformational warfighting capabilities and enable reduced manning, ultimately reducing the total ownership cost of each Ford-class carrier by approximately $5 billion over the life of the ship," said Antonio.

CVN 78 was officially named Gerald R. Ford by the Secretary of the Navy in January 2007 and will be constructed in Newport News, Va. The keel is scheduled to be laid in late 2009, and the ship is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in 2015. The Navy plans to build 11 Ford-class aircraft carriers, and construction of Ford-class aircraft carriers is projected to continue through 2058.


Laid down:  est. 2009


Builder: Northrop Grumman Newport News

Cost: 5.1 Billion


est. 2015

Sister Ships

11 Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers planned

History Highlight

Ford is scheduled to be laid down in 2009, concurrently or nearly so with the commissioning of USS George H. W. Bush. Construction work has begun; on August 11, 2005, Northrop Grumman held a ceremonial steel cut for a 15-ton plate that will form part of a side shell unit of the carrier. The schedule calls for the ship to join the U.S. Navy’s fleet in 2015. Ford is slated to replace the current USS Enterprise, CV 65, ending her 50-plus years of service with the United States Navy.



Final Disposition


Related Info

General characteristics

Class and type:

Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier


appx. 100,000 tons


1,092 ft (333 m)


134 ft (41 m)


2 x A1B reactor


30+ knots


Essentially unlimited


Limited only by supplies on board




Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile

Rolling Airframe Missile

Close-in weapons system(CIWS)

Aircraft carried:

More than 75

Source: Wikipedia

Related Links

Wikipedia; CVN 78

Navy Names New Aircraft Carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (16 January 2007)

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cvn 78 model

Model displayed at the unveiling and naming of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). Washington, D.C. (Jan. 16, 2007)

cvn 78

050708-D-8455H-001 Washington, D.C. (July 8, 2005) -- Artist’s concept of CVN 21 one of a new class of aircraft carriers. A new nuclear propulsion plant will power the next class of aircraft carriers. The new plant will require fewer operators thereby lowering life-cycle costs, and will provide increased electrical power that will be available for the demands of developing technology. Smart sensors will assist in further reducing Navy watch standing requirements and in automating damage control functions such as detecting fire and flooding situations. Flight deck redesign and a transition to an advanced aircraft recovery system (AARS) will reduce crew workload, enhance safety and reduce the costs of operating and maintaining a carrier throughout its planed 50-year life cycle. U.S. Navy graphic. (RELEASED) Click for larger image

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