Tuesday, 17 October, 2017

Trump calls aircraft carrier a symbol of power

The freshly painted Gerald R. Ford shines at night in the empty dry dock waiting to meet water for the first time Trump to Attend Navy Commissioning of New US Aircraft Carrier Gerald R. Ford
Steve Phelps | 23 July, 2017, 01:58

The warship also has a smaller island that sits farther back on the ship to make it quicker to refuel, re-arm and relaunch planes, and a nuclear power plant created to allow cruising speeds of more than 30 knots and operation for 20 years without refueling.

US allies will rest easy, Trump said, but America's enemies will "shake with fear" when they see the Ford cutting across the horizon.

The Navy will commission its newest aircraft carrier, the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony Saturday, July 22, at Naval Station Norfolk. He had pledged repeatedly during the presidential campaign to rebuild what he said was the nation's "depleted" military.

The ship that bears Ford's name has adopted those words for its official crest. Construction began in 2008 and was initially slated for completion in September of 2015, but ran into delays.

The USS Gerald R. Ford is the first new aircraft carrier design in 40 years.

A Friday Washington Post story reported President Trump has been exploring the option of exercising his broad constitutional pardon power on behalf of himself or members of his campaign team or family.

The US Navy intends to invest $43bn in the development and construction of the three new Ford-class vessels, USS Gerald R. Ford, the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) and the future USS Enterprise (CVN 80). Compared to Nimitz-class carriers, the new Ford class vessels have more than 23 new or modified systems.

The air wing to support the Ford could add more personnel to the ship, which is created to house more than 4,600 crew members.

The warship is the largest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in the world, and was emblazoned for the event with a banner proclaiming "Made in the US".

But the new carrier, Trump said, will be key in any fight that may become necessary.

He criticized what he called a lack of investment in new military technology and "a shortfall in military readiness" under the previous administration. The work yet to be completed is expected to cost more than $775 million and take another four years.

The US is unmatched in its naval power, with the Ford becoming the 20th commissioned carrier in their fleet - while the rest of the world has just 21 between them.

The Ford's propulsion and basic systems were tested during a first round of sea trials in recent months, but one major remaining hurdle will be to test the carrier's electromagnetic catapult's ability to launch actual aircraft.

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