Donald Trump to attend commissioning of USS Gerald R. Ford

President Donald Trump will help commission the USS Gerald R. Ford, a $12.9 billion warship that after delays and cost overruns will officially be turned over to the Navy.

Published: 22nd July 2017 05:23 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd July 2017 05:23 PM   |  A+A-

The Navy's newest aircraft carrier will officially join the fleet Saturday, July 22, 2017, at a commissioning overseen by President Donald Trump. (AP File photo)

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump will help commission the USS Gerald R. Ford, a $12.9 billion warship that after delays and cost overruns will officially be turned over to the Navy.

Trump, who is commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces, was traveling to Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia on Saturday to preside over a ceremony during which the USS Ford, the first member of the next generation of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, will be welcomed to the fleet with the words: "Man our ship and bring her to life."

Trump, who visited the carrier in March to promote his plans for a military buildup, told Time magazine this year that the Navy should revert to using steam catapults to launch fighter jets because some of the state-of-the-art systems and technology aboard the USS Ford "cost hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it's no good."

Construction on the USS Ford started in 2009 and was to be completed by September 2015 at a cost of $10.5 billion. The Navy has attributed the delays and budget overruns to the ship's state-of-the-art systems and technology, including electromagnetic launch systems for jets and drones that will replace steam catapults.

The warship also has a smaller island that sits farther back on the ship to make it easier and quicker to refuel, re-arm and relaunch planes, and a nuclear power plant designed to allow cruising speeds of more than 30 knots and operation for 20 years without refueling.

The vessel completed sea trials in April but still will go through a battery of tests and workups at sea before becoming operational and ready for deployment, work that is expected to cost nearly $780 million and take more than four years to complete, congressional auditors said in a report this month.

The USS Ford is named after the country's 38th president, who rose to the rank of lieutenant commander in the Navy during World War II. After military service, Ford was elected to the House of Representatives, serving Michigan until he was tapped by President Richard M. Nixon to become vice president.

Ford became president after Nixon resigned during the Watergate scandal. His daughter, Susan Ford Bales, christened the vessel in 2013.

Docked at Naval Station Norfolk, the USS Ford eventually will house about 2,600 sailors, 600 fewer than the previous generation of aircraft carriers. The Navy says that will save more than $4 billion over the ship's 50-year lifespan.

The air wing to support the Ford could add more personnel to the ship, which is designed to house more than 4,600 crew members.

Trump traveled to the carrier in March to promote his plans to boost spending on the military. He had pledged repeatedly during the presidential campaign to rebuild what he said was the nation's "depleted" military. Lawmakers are working on a budget for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

The president's return visit Saturday was falling during what the White House has coined as "Made in America" week, during which Trump and other administration officials highlighted a wide assortment of products — ranging from trucks and helicopters to baseball bats and glass bottles for pharmaceuticals — that are manufactured in the United States.

"This is American craftsmanship at its biggest, at its best, at its finest," Trump said aboard the carrier earlier this year. "American workers are the greatest anywhere in the world. This warship, and all who serve on it, should be a source of shared pride for our nation."

The Ford was built at Newport News Shipbuilding, the giant Navy contractor in Virginia. Trump tweeted before departing Saturday for the ceremony that the Ford is the largest aircraft carrier in the world.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp