After completing a round of trials with shipbuilders at Newport News Shipbuilding, the US Navy has its hands on the USS Gerald R. Ford, the futuristic new aircraft carrier that promises a new area of naval aviation.
Now, the Navy plans to send the Ford out to sea by Memorial Day for the first round of at-sea acceptance trials, the US Naval Institute reports.
These trials will only verify the findings of the ship’s builders and test the basic motor functions of the boat, while more controversial elements of the ship won’t be tested until after the Navy formally accepts delivery of the Ford.
The Ford’s electromagnetic aircraft launch system, which has been plagued by development setbacks, has been criticised directly by President Donald Trump himself, who bashed the system in favour of the older, steam-powered system.
“You going to goddamned steam,” Trump told TIME.
But for now, the Ford just has to get through basic trials.
“I’m pretty confident right now in a good [acceptance trials] and a quick turn around to deliver the ship,” Sean Stackley, acting secretary of the Navy, told the US Naval Institute.
The Ford represents the first new US aircraft carrier design in 40 years with a whole host of new and expanded capabilities, like a nuclear power plant that generates three times the power of previous carriers to accommodate weapons of the future like laser or railguns.
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