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Ford class

Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

Ford class

The Ford class aircraft carriers will be the mainstay of the US Navy's force projection capability

Country of origin United States
Entered service Expected in 2017
Crew 2 500 ~ 2 700 men
Aircrew ~ 2 500 men
Flag staff ~ 70 men
Dimensions and displacement
Length 337 m
Beam ~ 45 m
Draught ~ 12 m
Flight deck length ~ 335 m
Flight deck width ~ 78 m
Hangar deck length ?
Displacement, standard 92 500 tons
Displacement, full load ?
Propulsion and speed
Speed over 30 knots
Nuclear reactors 2 x ?
Airwing 85 x fixed-wing, VSTOL aircraft, helicopters, UAVs
Missiles 2 x ESSM launchers, 2 x RAM launchers
Other 4 x Phalanx CIWS


   The Ford class is a successor to the Nimitz class aircraft carriers. It is planned that a total of 9-10 aircraft carriers of this class will be built. These will replace the Nimitz and Improved Nimitz class warships. It is planned that new Ford class carriers will be commissioned every 5-6 years with construction continuing to 2058. These new ships will have 50-years operational service life. The Ford class aircraft carriers will be the mainstay of the US Navy's power projection throughout the 21st century.

   Currently two ships of the class are under construction. The first of the class will be the USS Gerald R. Ford. It was expected to be commissioned in 2015. However construction was delayed. The lead ship should be commissioned with the US Navy in 2017 and replace in service the USS Enterprise, America's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which was commissioned in 1961 and remains active ever since. The second Forc class aircraft carrier is the USS John F. Kennedy. It is worth noting that another US Kitty Hawk class aircraft carrier had the name of the John F. Kennedy until 2007 when it was decommissioned. The second ship of the class will replace the USS Nimitz, which was commissioned with the US Navy back in 1975.

   The Ford class aircraft carriers will be the largest and most powerful warships ever built. Each of these vessels will carry an airwing that will include 85 fixed-wing aircraft, VSTOL aircraft, helicopters, or unmanned aerial vehicles. These will include F-35 JSF and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets multi-role fighters, EA-18G Growlers electronic warfare aircraft, E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes early warning aircraft, MH-60R and MH-60S naval helicopters. It is larger and more powerful force than many nation's complete air force. By operating these aircraft carriers United States will remain unchallenged sea force on earth throughout the 21st century.

   Hull design of the Ford class is similar to that of the Nimitz class. The new aircraft carriers will have a smaller, redesigned and more stealthy island. The flag bridge was relocated from the carrier's island to a lower deck in order to minimize the size of the island. The flight deck design was changed for a higher sortie rate. The Ford class aircraft carriers will have 3 elevators and 4 catapults for the airwing. The new aircraft carriers will have the same displacement as the previous Nimitz class, however it will be fitted with more automated and efficient systems. The Ford class will have about 500-900 fewer crew members.

   Advanced nuclear propulsion system for the Ford class aircraft carriers s currently being developed by Northrop Grumman. It will be a much more efficient system, providing three times more power.

   Weapons of the Ford class will include two launchers with 16 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) each. These missiles are used against incoming high-speed, maneuverable anti-ship missiles. It will also have two launchers with 21 Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) that are also used against anti-ship missiles. Also there will be four 20-mm Phalanx close-in weapon systems.

   The new Ford class aircraft carriers will replace the existing fleet of Nimitz class carriers over the coming decades.


Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) 2009 2013 expected in 2017

sea trials

USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) expected in 2015 expected in 2018 expected in 2020

under construction

USS Enterprise (CVN-80) expected in 2018 expected in 2023 expected in 2025



Ford class

Ford class

Ford class

Ford class

Ford class

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