The US Navy has officially welcomed the world's largest aircraft carrier into the fleet. At 10:00 am today at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, the 110,000 ton, nuclear-powered USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) was formally commissioned in a ceremony where President Donald Trump gave the principal address inaugurating the vessel into its half century of active service.

The ceremony was attended by US government officials, naval personnel and their families, contractors, and guests as well as the ship's first commander, Captain Richard McCormack. The Ford's sponsor was Susan Ford Bales, daughter of the late President Gerald Ford after whom the ship is named.

The keel for the US$12.8 billion aircraft carrier was laid down in 2009 and is the first new US aircraft carrier design in 40 years as well as the first in the Gerald R. Ford class, The second ship, USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) is under construction and work has begun on the future USS Enterprise (CVN 80). The Ford will now undergo final outfitting and testing before operational deployment in 2021.

"The nation's going to be very proud of USS Gerald R. Ford," says Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson. "I am incredibly thankful for the shipyard workers and Sailors who worked amazingly hard to bring this mighty ship to life. This Saturday will be a huge day for our Navy and our nation. The new technology and warfighting capabilities that Ford brings will transform naval warfare, making us a more lethal Navy. The increased combat power will enable new ways to combine information, ships, aircraft and undersea forces, changing how we operate and fight."

Source: US Navy View gallery - 2 images