The world's largest warship, the future USS Gerald R Ford (CVN-78), has begun sea trials off the East Coast of the United States. The 100,000 tonne (110,000 ton) nuclear-powered supercarrier has left the Newport News shipyard and will spend the next week undergoing Builder's Sea Trials (BST) under the supervision of the US Navy and the builders who will conduct the first at-sea tests of the ship's systems, components, and compartments.
Construction began on the Ford in 2009 and it is scheduled to be commissioned later this year. Exactly when is still uncertain because the carrier is so large and complex that there are many last minute details and problems to be addressed before the commissioning can take place.
When it is cleared for active service, it will carry a complement of 4,660 and will operate over 70 aircraft built around a wing of Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning IIs, which are the carrier variant of the F-35 combat aircraft. It will also carry a mix of helicopters and support aircraft.
"The Navy and our industry partners are excited to have the future USS Gerald R. Ford underway under her own power for the first time, executing a rigorous and comprehensive test program for this first-of-class ship," says Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, program executive officer for aircraft carriers. "This milestone is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication, and we look forward to learning a great deal during sea trials. We will continue to work together to deliver Ford's critical capabilities to the fleet."
Source: US Navy
Ed's note: This article originally stated that construction began in 2017, which is clearly wrong. Apologies for the error - the correct date is 2009.