First-in-class Ford aircraft carrier to deploy 'by fall'

By Aidan Quigley / January 21, 2022 at 5:04 PM

The Navy's aircraft carrier Gerald Ford (CVN-78), the first carrier of its class, will deploy "by fall," Rear Adm. James Downey, the program executive officer for aircraft carriers, told reporters Friday.

“The plan is toward the end of the summer, she goes,” Downey said. “She’s going to visit multiple theaters of operations with multiple allies, and her strike group, and her wing.”

Downey said he could not release specifics of the Ford’s deployment plans.

The Ford concluded its full ship shock trials in April 2021 and is currently undergoing a planned incremental availability.

During the PIA, the Navy is evaluating any damage sustained during shock trials and modernizing and maintaining the carrier to prepare for its deployment. Downey said the PIA is set to be concluded by the end of February.

After the PIA, Ford will do more trials, Downey said. The strike group and carrier wing will embark this spring as the ship starts its workups, he said.

The Navy announced in December that it had received the eleventh and final elevator following lengthy development, installation and delivery delays.

The Ford was commissioned in 2017 but has faced long-lasting issues with its elevators and reliability concerns with its electromagnetic aircraft launch system and arresting gear, according to the Government Accountability Office’s annual acquisition programs assessment, released in June 2021.