USS Gerald R. Ford Completes Qualification Tests, Shows Outstanding Performance

A Navy ship’s journey to her first deployment is a long and difficult one. But, whenever a milestone is reached, there’s a great sense of accomplishment for everyone involved. This is what crew members of the USS Gerald R. Ford felt when the aircraft carrier successfully completed her first 18-month testing period.
USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier conducted multiple carrier strike operations 8 photos
Photo: USS Gerald R. Ford - CVN 78/Facebook
USS Gerald R. Ford during testing periodUSS Gerald R. Ford during testing periodUSS Gerald R. Ford during testing periodUSS Gerald R. Ford during testing periodUSS Gerald R. Ford during testing periodUSS Gerald R. Ford during testing periodUSS Gerald R. Ford during testing period
Named after the 38th President of the United States, who served in World War II, the USS Gerald R. Ford is the largest aircraft carrier in the world and the lead ship of her class. The Gerald R. Ford class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers is meant to replace the Navy’s current carriers with a total of 10 new ships.

Believe it or not, the USS Gerald R. Ford’s construction began back in 2005 and was delivered to the Navy in 2017. Two years later, the first-in-class ship began her 18-month post-delivery test and trials (PDT&T) period. You might think that’s a long time to be tested but, considering that the previous first-in-class aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, was in service for over 50 years, it’s not surprising that it takes a while to prepare a ship for such an impressive career.

The Navy officially announced that the USS Gerald R. Ford has now completed her PDT&T, culminating with the Combat Systems Ship’s Qualification Trials (CSSQT), where it showed excellent performance.

This extended testing period includes complex operations, numerous different trials and a large number of various crew members. Aircraft compatibility testing and flight deck certification are some of the first steps during the trials. Next, the ship begins to embark different aircraft and conduct carrier strike group operations. This implies executing multi-ship operations in various combat scenarios and in all types of weather.

What’s next for the USS Gerald R. Ford? Testing continues this summer with the Full Ship Shock Trials (FSST) that asses the ship’s systems and equipment ability to continue to operate after a shock event. If the aircraft carrier shows the same impressive performance, she will be ready for her first deployment in 2022, earlier than first predicted.
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Editor's note: An earilier version of this article included a photo of a different carrier in the gallery.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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