The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is rigged with state-of-the-art technology with a capacity for more aircraft and weaponry than ever before.
It features an electromagnetic launch system and advanced arresting gear for faster and more efficient take-offs and landings. The vessel is outfitted with touchscreen navigation display in place of a traditional throttle and is equipped with a reactor plant that can power the ship for up to 20 years without refueling.
The USS Ford is also massive, with its length of 1,106-feet comparing to the size of about three football fields. The extra room allows for an expanded flight deck that’s easier for jets and drones to maneuver around. Additionally, it features a better-positioned “island” structure, giving the captain of the ship improved visibility.
More than double the electrical capacity and automated equipment means the ship can sail more efficiently with at least 600 less crew members. Once officially deployed in 2020, it will house 2,600 sailors, which the Navy says will save more than $4 billion over the ship’s 50-year lifespan, according to the Associated Press.
Trump, the commander in chief of the U.S. military, was on hand at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia to preside over the commissioning ceremony.
The President initially criticized the USS Gerald Ford, one of three of the futuristic ships the Navy has ordered, telling Time in May that the digital aircraft carrier “costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.”
The final price tag for the ship came out to about $13 billion and was delayed over the course of its construction.