Acting Navy Secretary launches initiative to fix problems with USS Gerald R. Ford

Posted at 10:15 AM, Jan 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-13 16:51:59-05

NORFOLK, Va. - The Acting Secretary of the Navy has launched an initiative to fix a plethora of problems with the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier.

The Ford is the first in a new class of carriers for the Navy. Delays, cost overruns and issues getting new technology to work, including systems that launch aircraft and Advanced Weapons Elevators, have plagued the Ford.

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly has launched the "Make Ford Ready" initiative. As part of that effort, Modly convened a summit last Thursday bringing together Navy and industry experts to help get the Ford into fleet operations as quickly as possible.

“While this is an 'all hands on deck' priority that can only be accomplished through the dedicated efforts of the Ford team, it will also require broad, department-wide encouragement, enthusiasm, and support for our shipmates and industry partners who will be heads down on the tasks at hand,” Modly said in a statement. “We all have a stake in the success of this effort--for the future of our Navy, our national security, and security of the world.”

“I’m extremely bullish on Ford -- and our Navy should be too,” said Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday in a Navy statement.  “The Ford-class carrier is the future. It is a phenomenal ship designed to deliver increased capability for the carrier air wing of tomorrow.  While good progress has been made over the past several months, together we must keep Ford headed in the right direction – and get her where she needs to be – operating forward at sea to reassure allies, deter adversaries, and protect our national interests around the world.”

The Ford returned to Naval Station Norfolk in late October following a Post-Shakedown Availability at Newport News Shipbuilding.

The carrier is now in the Post-Delivery Test and Trials period, scheduled to continue through mid-2021.

Already, the crew has completed two underway test and training sessions at sea.

More work is expected to certify fuel system, do testing to make sure aircraft are compatible, and conduct combat system testing.