This post has been updated to correct the title of Ye-Ling Wang, who now serves as program manager for future aircraft carriers. A previous version of this post referred to her as deputy program manager, which is her previous title.
Aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) will head to sea for builders trials next month, a next step leading up to its commissioning later this year.
The ship is currently participating in a series of certifications – part of the critical path testing that ensures the ship is in good material condition to go to sea and the crew is proficient enough to safely operate the carrier, Ye-Ling Wang, program manager for future aircraft carriers at the Program Executive Office for Aircraft Carriers (PMS 378), said today at the American Society for Naval Engineers’ Technologies, Systems and Ships event.
As part of this “safe to sail” event, she said navigation certification activities are currently taking place, as well as an overall crew certification effort run by the type commander.
Before the ship can go to sea for builders trials, the crew and the ship will go through certifications on navigation, communications, ship handling, habitability, propulsion plant, damage control and more. Those involved will also be looking ahead for any possible hazards during the planned builders trials and, if any exist, find ways now to mitigate those potential problems.
Builders trials are hosted by the contractor to demonstrate the ship’s quality and ability to perform at sea. Wang told USNI News that Ford would not launch or recover any airplanes during this test, but rather just demonstrate the ship’s more basic functions.
Acceptance trials would be the next step, when a government team of evaluators would ensure the ship and crew are ready to join the fleet. PEO Carriers officials told USNI News that a commissioning date has not yet been scheduled and is currently slated for “later this year.”