The U.S.S. Gerald Ford is headed for sea trial.

$2,000,000,000 over budget and 18 months late.

The most expensive warship ever built has been put through its paces for the very first time.

The US Navy revealed Saturday the first of its new class of the USS Gerald R. Ford has headed out to sea off the coast of Virginia.

The new aircraft carrier embarked on the first of its sea trials to test various state-of-the-art systems.

The $12.9 billion carrier departed from Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News after more than a year’s delay and cost overruns.

Construction on the Ford started in 2009. It was supposed to finish by September 2015, with costs at $10.5 billion.

But there were issues with the carrier’s advanced systems and technology, including aircraft landing equipment and power generation.

The ship is currently undergoing builder’s trials. It will return to port in Virginia before embarking again for ‘acceptance trials,’ which are conducted by Navy inspectors.

The opening test comes almost an entire year after ‘poor or unknown reliability issues’ were identified in a memo last year.

A military memo dated June 28 detailed just how the issues plaguing the carrier would impact it.

‘These four systems affect major areas of flight operations,’ Defense Department Director of Operational Test and Evaluation Michael Gilmore wrote to Pentagon and Navy weapons buyers.

‘Unless these issues are resolved, which would likely require redesigning, they will significantly limit the CVN-78’s ability to conduct combat operations.

‘Based on current reliability estimates, the CVN-78 is unlikely to conduct high-intensity flight operations at the outset of a war.’

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  1. BobF says:

    You have 2 million over budget, it should be 2 Billion.

  2. Its a crazy amount of money but its still awesome!

  3. Dan says:

    The Ford is only superficially like the Nimitz class it replaces. Many of it’s systems are new and untried. Specifically the launch catapult is electromagnetic instead of a steam piston. More akin
    to a ‘rail gun’ than the standard ‘pneumatic cylinder’ system. As such it has taken a lot more effort than anticipated to get it to work. Whether it’s an improvement over the current design is open to debate….it IS more susceptible to EMP than the old system, and that is an issue. As such, being a new design in many ways there were a lot of unanticipated problems to solve. Only time will tell if we made the right choices. But it’s not a total loss. Much of the research in to the new catapult applies to modern EMF weapons such as the Navy’s new rail guns.

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