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Ford class

Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

Ford class

The Ford class aircraft carriers are the largest and most powerful warships ever built

 
 
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
Propulsion 2 x nuclear reactors
Aircraft
Airwing 85 x fixed-wing, VSTOL aircraft, helicopters, UAVs
Armament
Artillery 4 x Plhalanx CIWS
Missiles 2 x ESSM launchers, 2 x RAM launchers

 

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

   The lead ship, USS Gerald R. Ford, was laid down in 2009. Originally it was planned to be commissioned in 2015, however construction was delayed. It will become operational with the US Navy in 2017. It will replace in service the USS Enterprise, America's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, that was commissioned in 1961 and remains active ever since.

   The second aircraft carrier of the class, the USS John F. Kennedy, was laid down in 2015 and is currently being constructed. It shares the name with a Kitty Hawk class aircraft carrier, John F. Kennedy, that was decommissioned in 2007. Once operational, the second Ford class carrier will replace the USS Nimitz, that was commissioned with the US Navy back in 1975.

   Each of the Ford class aircraft carriers will carry an airwing consisting of 85 fixed-wing aircraft, VSTOL aircraft, helicopters, or unmanned aerial vehicles. These will include F-35 and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet multi-role fighters, EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft, MH-60R and MH-60S naval helicopters. Such airwing is a larger and more powerful force complete air force of many nations. By operating Ford class aircraft carriers the 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. These new aircraft carriers 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 have the same displacement as the previous Nimitz class, however the Ford class warships are fitted with more automated and efficient systems. As a result the new aircraft carriers have around 500-900 fewer crew members.

   Advanced nuclear propulsion system for the Ford class was developed by Northrop Grumman. It is a much more efficient system, providing three times more power.

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

 

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) 2015 expected in 2018 expected in 2020

under construction

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

planned

 

 
Ford class

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Ford class

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Ford class

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Ford class

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Ford class

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Ford class

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Personal appeal from Andrius Genys

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