Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carrier
The "Gerald R. Ford"-class aircraft carriers (or "Ford"-class) will be the next generation
supercarrierfor the United States Navy. Before its redesignation as the "Ford"-class (CVN-78), this new class of carriers was known as the "CVNX" carrier program ("X" meaning "in development") and then as the "CVN-21" carrier program. (Here, the "21" is not a hull number; it is common in "future" plans in the U.S. military, as an allusion to 21st century, to distinguish from existing 20th century equipment.)
The first hull of the "CVN-21" line will be USS|Gerald R. Ford|CVN-78|2. [cite news|title=Next aircraft carrier named Gerald R. Ford|date=1/3/07|url=http://www.forbes.com/entrepreneurs/feeds/ap/2007/01/03/ap3296796.html|publisher=Forbes] The "CVN-21" uses the basic hull design of the preceding sclass|Nimitz|aircraft carrier|0.
Carriers of the "Ford" class will incorporate many new design features including a new nuclear reactor design (the
A1B reactor), stealthier features to help reduce radar profile, electromagnetic catapults, advanced arresting gear, and reduced crewing requirements. [cite web|url=http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&tid=250&ct=4|publisher=US Navy (Navy Fact File)|title=Aircraft Carriers – CVN 21 Program|accessdate=2007-11-07|date= 8 October 2007] The U.S. Navy believes that with the addition of the most modern equipment and extensive use of automation they will be able to reduce the crew requirement and the total cost of future aircraft carriers.cite web|url=http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/2005/12/costing-the-cvn21-a-did-primer/index.php|title=Costing the CVN-21: A DID Primer|publisher=Defense Industry Daily|date= December 19, 2005|accessdate=2007-11-07 Covers the true costs of the CVN-21, how those are calculated, and where the $5 billion savings on operational costs is expected to come from over the ship's planned 50-year lifetime.] The primary recognition feature compared to earlier supercarriers will be the more aft location of the navigation "island".
Construction began on components of CVN-21 in the spring of 2007cite web|url=http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=121712&ran=174849|title=Construction Begins on the First Ford-class Carrier|accessdate=2007-09-11|publisher=The Virginian-Pilot|author=Jon W. Glass] , and is planned to finish in 2015. It will be constructed at
Northrop Grumman Shipbuildingin Newport News, Virginia, the only shipyard in the United Statescapable of building and refueling nuclear powered aircraft carriers. It is estimated to cost at least $8 billion excluding the $5 billion spent on R&D and is not representative of the cost of future members of the class.
A total of three carriers have been authorized for construction, but if the "Nimitz" class and USS|Enterprise|CVN-65|2 were to be replaced on a one-for-one basis, eleven carriers would be required over the life of the program. However, the last Nimitz-class aircraft carrier will not be decommissioned until 2058.
There was a movement by the USS|America|CV-66|6 Carrier Veterans' Association to have CVN-78 named after the "America" rather than after President Ford.
If the current USS|Ford|FFG-54 (commissioned in 1985 and named after a Vietnam era
Gunner's Mate Patrick O. Ford, not President Ford) is still in commission when CVN-78 enters service, there will be two commissioned warships on the Naval Vessel Registernamed "Ford."
December 7, 2007, the 66th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. Representative Harry Mitchellproposed naming CVN-79 USS|Arizona. [cite web|url= http://mitchell.house.gov/news/view_article.asp?ID=159|title= Mitchell Urges Navy to Name Ship Arizona|accessdate= 2008-01-21|last=Giblin |first=Paul |date= 2007-12-07]
*, (2015) — Scheduled to replace USS|Enterprise|CVN-65|3.
CVN-79, unnamed (2018)
CVN-80, unnamed (2021)
* "Queen Elizabeth" class aircraft carrier
Future French aircraft carrier
* [http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/2005/11/design-preparations-continue-for-the-usas-new-cvn21-supercarrier-updated/index.php Design & Preparations Continue for the USA's New CVN-21 Super-Carrier (updated)] , Defense Industry Daily. Provides an extensive briefing re: the new ship class, and adds entries for many of the contracts under this program.
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