USS Gerald R. Ford finishes combat systems qualifications; next up: shock trials

Ford is the first in a new class of carriers
Posted at 9:01 AM, Apr 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 10:28:45-04

ATLANTIC OCEAN — The Navy's newest aircraft carrier has crossed another milestone off the list to becoming deployment ready: completion of the Combat Systems Ship’s Qualification Trials earlier this month.

Those trials are designed to ensure the ship can defend itself and the crew.

During the qualifications, Ford faced off against rocket propelled drones capable of speeds 600 miles per hour or faster, as well as towed drone units that simulate rockets; and remote controlled, high-speed maneuvering surface targets.

"[This was] more than just single target coming in very predictably and shout out of the sky. We certainly did that, but we took that up a level and were able to to see how the command control set-up on the Ford class I think is a step-up, and more smooth and more efficient than the previous ship class," Captain Paul Lanzilotta, Ford’s commanding officer, said in on a teleconference with News 3 anchor Todd Corillo.

The Combat Systems Ship’s Qualification Trials marked the last part of the post-delivery test and trials phase, an 18-month period that started once the Ford left an availability at Newport News Shipbuilding in October 2019.

Since then, the Ford has completed Flight Deck Certification and Carrier Air Traffic Control Center Certification, as well as served as the carrier qualifications ship for Naval aviators on the East Coast.

All that while mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Next up for the Ford: preparing for Full Ship Shock Trials.

Those are set to happen this summer and will test the ability of the ship to carry out the mission and survive after exposure to an underwater shock.