18:29 GMT29 March 2020
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    The USS Gerald R. Ford has been turned over to the US Navy to prepare for deployment in 2020, the Navy announced in a press release on Thursday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The USS Gerald R. Ford, the first in a new class of advanced aircraft carriers, has been turned over to the US Navy to prepare for deployment in 2020, the Navy announced in a press release on Thursday.

    "Over the last several years, thousands of people have had a hand in delivering Ford to the Navy — designing, building and testing the Navy's newest, most capable, most advanced warship," the release stated.

    The Ford is the lead ship of its class and the first new-design carrier delivered to the Navy since the USS Nimitz in 1975, the release explained.

    Upgrades include a larger flight deck, the ability to host more aircraft, additional weapons and aviation fuel storage, and an electromagnetic aircraft launch catapult that replaces the steam based launch system on existing carriers, the release noted.

    Prior to deployment, the vessel will undergo a "shakedown period" of multiple sea trials as the crew trains to operate the ship’s systems, according to the release.

    The release also noted that unspecified work on the ship needs to be completed and that any deficiencies identified during trials will be addressed during in-port periods, with the first military deployment likely to occur in 2020.

    The $13-billion aircraft carrier has a troubled history of cost overruns, do-over installations of first-of-its kind technology and a Navy decision to begin building the ship as the vessel was still being designed, according to Navy officials.

    military deployment, navy, aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R Ford, United States
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