By Rear Adm. Moore
This week, we celebrate the 101st birthday of former President Gerald Ford, namesake of the CVN 78-Class, as well as CVN 78 herself. We have made tremendous progress since the launch of the ship in November 2013, having nearly completed installation of all major ship’s systems. Later this year, we will begin shipboard testing of many of the ships new technologies, including the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS) and Dual Band Radar (DBR).
The ship is coming to life, and remains on track for delivery in 2016. The teamwork among PEO Carriers, Fleet stakeholders, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), and the shipbuilder has been instrumental in completing more than 75 percent of CVN 78.
Every ship starts as a vision. For the Navy, the vision of an aircraft carrier that would have greater operational availability and increase sortie generation rates by 33 percent while, at the same time, reduce total ownership costs, took root in the mid-1990s, around the same time PEO Aircraft Carriers was formed. The Future Carriers Program (PMS 378) in PEO Carriers worked with NAVSEA and Fleet stakeholders to determine alternatives. We then turned to our shipbuilder, Newport News Shipbuilding, to partner on a design for the ship.
As of Friday, July 11, 2014, 955 Sailors have reported to the CVN Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU), and are being introduced to the revolutionary capabilities their new ship will provide them. We are especially excited to introduce to the crew their new berthing compartments, which will provide a huge quality of life improvement while aboard the ship. As we plan ahead for the future, PMS 379 is improving the CVN 78 build process by implementing lessons learned for construction of the next carrier in the class, John F. Kennedy (CVN 79).
President Gerald Ford said on assuming the Presidency “I have not sought this enormous responsibility, but I will not shirk it.” The men and women at PEO Carriers, NAVSEA, PCU CVN 78, and the shipbuilder are honored to have the responsibility to build an aircraft carrier worthy of President Ford’s name.