The US Navy's new futuristic aircraft carrier just passed its first major test

Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher LindahlThe aircraft carrier Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) arrives at Naval Station Norfolk after returning from builder’s sea trials, April 14, 2017.

The US Navy’s USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier just returned home to Newport News, Virginia, on Friday after hitting the seas for the first time during builder’s trials.

During the trials, shipbuilders from Huntington Ingalls tested out the basic functions of the Ford, including cranking up its nuclear power plant, tracking aircraft with its new and improved radar, and dry-firing the new electromagnetic catapults meant to give aircraft a smoother launch, according to a US Navy release.

The Ford carrier is the first of its class and the first totally new aircraft carrier design in four decades. The ship boasts a power plant three times as powerful as previous Nimitz-class aircraft carriers that can accommodate future weapons like directed-energy lasers and electromagnetic railguns.

The US Navy said it expects the delivery of the Ford by spring and told Business Insider that it hopes to commission the US’s new carrier this summer.

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