The first-in-class aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) will head to sea by the end of the month for its last set of trials before the Navy accepts delivery of the ship and commissions it into the fleet, the acting Navy secretary said today.
Sean Stackley told reporters after delivering a speech at the U.S. Naval Institute’s annual meeting that the carrier would head to sea before Memorial Day for its acceptance trials.
Ford completed its builders trials on April 14, marking the last time shipbuilder Newport News Shipbuilding would oversee a test event with the ship.
Acceptance trials will look similar to builders trials but will be run by the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). The trials will ensure the ship’s systems all work – from power generation to navigation to communications – and that the crew is ready to operate the carrier at sea, but it will not include launching and recovering airplanes. That testing will take place after the Navy accepts delivery of the ship, service leaders have said previously.
“Delivery, pending the results of acceptance trials, we expect to turn delivery around quickly after that,” Stackley said.
“The crew is already onboard, operating and running the systems; she’s at the naval station; she’s loaded out; so the steps to go from acceptance trials to delivery, it’s going to be contingent on, what are the critical starred card type of deficiencies – if any – that are identified during acceptance trials,” he said, referring to the Navy test community’s way of denoting the most serious issues they find during sea trials.
“We came out of builders trials strong, we’re correcting those deficiencies” now before the ship heads back out to sea, Stackley continued.
“I’m pretty confident right now in a good [acceptance trials] and a quick turn around to deliver the ship.”