Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News shipbuilding division has begun the test float for its new aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), on a flooded dry dock as part of the ship’s multi-phase evaluation.
Susan Ford Bales, the carrier’s sponsor and Gerald Ford’s daughter, led the flooding of the dock with more than 100 million gallons of water to float the the aircraft carrier, which NNS started building in 2009, Huntington Ingalls said Friday.
Rolf Bartschi, NNS’ vice president for the carrier project, said the shipbuilding team looks forward to the ship’s next phase of construction and testing at the pier.
The dock was first flooded nearly 4 feet high to the keel blocks that served to support the ship during fabrication and will undergo another test float after a week when it will be outfitted at a pier.
Ford is scheduled for christening on Nov. 9 and for U.S. Navy delivery in 2016.
The carrier features a nuclear power plant, an island, electromagnetic catapults, weapons movement, flight deck for aircraft sortie rates and growth allowance for future technologies and reduced manning.