18:28 GMT +321 October 2019
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    USS Gerald Ford

    Despite Bashing Costly Carrier, Trump to Preside Over USS Ford’s Commissioning

    © US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni
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    The US Navy confirmed Wednesday that President Donald Trump will preside over the commissioning of the country’s newest nuclear aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford.

    The ceremony is to take place at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia on Saturday, July 22. This will be Trump’s second visit to the carrier, despite having criticized the delays and cost overruns stemming from some of the vessel’s new technology.

    In a May interview with Time Magazine Trump said that the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) used by Ford-class carriers, of which the USS Gerald Ford is the first, "costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it's no good," and suggested they continue to use steam instead.

    He added that "it’s very complicated, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out." 

    Over the next few years, the $12.9 billion ship will undergo a set of workups at sea and various tests before it becomes fully operational in 2020. The USS Ford is the Navy’s most advanced and most expensive carrier, according to the service.

    The ceremony website says the ship also features "a new island structure, expanded flight deck that will allow aircraft to be launched faster than ever before, 250 percent more electrical power, two next generation nuclear reactors and 500 fewer crew members."

    Executive Officer Captain Brent Gaut told a CBS affiliate on Monday that the Ford signifies "A step forward. It’s evolution. It’s progress. Taking a lot of technology and try to implement ways to improve the way we do our business. We are warfighters first and foremost." 

    The future USS Enterprise and USS John F. Kennedy, the next two carriers in the Ford Class, are scheduled to use EMALS as well.

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