The Navy on Thursday said it has received the first of its new generation aircraft carriers, moving the hulking $13 billion ship closer to becoming operational.
The Gerald R. Ford was delivered to the service at Newport News, Va., and is expected to be commissioned this summer, the service said. Two other Ford-class carriers, the John F. Kennedy and Enterprise, are also planned.
"Over the last several years, thousands of people have had a hand in delivering Ford to the Navy — designing, building and testing the Navy's newest, most capable, most advanced warship," Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, program executive officer for aircraft carriers, said in a released statement.
The ship, built by Newport News Shipbuilding, can carry more aircraft, weapons and fuel with its larger flight deck and features the newly designed electromagnetic aircraft launch system, the Navy said. President Trump recently panned the system, but service officials said they're going ahead with the design.
The launch system, which had a rocky development, will allow the Ford to put more aircraft into the air 30 percent faster than the steam catapults on the current Nimitz-class carriers.
Once commissioned, the Ford will undergo a series of tests and is slated to be operational in 2020.