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.