CVN 78
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The Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the lead ship of its class of U.S. Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and is named after the 38th President of the United States Gerald R. Ford, Jr., (1913-2006), whose World War II naval service included combat duty aboard the light aircraft carrier Monterey (CVL 26) in the Pacific Theater. Construction began on August 11, 2005, when Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding held a ceremonial steel cut for a 15-ton plate, at the shipyards new heavy-plate bay facility, that will form part of a side shell unit of the carrier; The ship is named on January 16, 2007.

Compared with the Nimitz-class, the Gerald R. Ford possess a new nuclear power plant (A1B), Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) instead of steam catapults, a redesigned and relocated island (It is shorter in length but stands 20 feet taller), three (instead of four) faster and more powerful elevators, an Advanced Aircraft Recovery System (AARS), new combat system, increased electrical power generation capacity and allowance for future technologies and reduced manning. Also the sortie rate is increased by 25% thanks to an enhanced flight deck layout, with improved weapons movement and "pit stops" to fuel and arm aircraft.

September 10, 2008 A Northrop Grumman Corporation was awarded a $5.1 billion, 7-year cost plus incentive fee contract, for detail design and construction of the Gerald R. Ford nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

November 14, 2009 The keel laying and authentication ceremony for the CVN 78 was held at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia.

May 12, 2010 A Northrop Grumman Corporation was awarded a $186.6 million cost plus fixed fee contract to continue the engineering and design effort for the Gerald R. Ford; A $189.2 million contract was awarded on November 10.

July 29, 2011 The Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) was awarded a $504 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract extension to continue engineering work associated with construction of the CVN 78.

May 24, 2012 Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding reached a construction milestone by lowering the final keel section, 680-metric-ton lower bow, of the Gerald R. Ford. The aircraft carrier is being built using modular construction, a process where smaller sections of the ship are welded together to form large structural units, outfitting is installed, and the large unit is lifted into the dry-dock. Of the nearly 500 total structural lifts needed to complete the ship, 390 have been accomplished.

October 4, HII Newport News Shipbuilding reached a construction milestone by placing the 1,026-metric ton gallery deck onto the CVN 78. This is the heaviest unit to be moved during the ship's construction and the largest lift that has ever made at Newport News shipyard.

January 26, 2013 HII Newport News Shipbuilding completed a significant milestone with the installation of the 555-metric ton island.

May 7, The forward end of the Catapult #3 was placed on the flight deck, completing the last of 162 super lift evolutions scheduled during the construction of the Gerald R. Ford at Huntington Iningalls Industries shipyard in Newport News, Va.

July 8, Capt. John F. Meier assumed command of the Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Gerald R. Ford.

November 9, The PCU Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) was christened during an 11 a.m. EST ceremony at HII Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va. Miss. Susan Ford Bales, daughter of President Gerald R. Ford, served as sponsor of the ship.

November 17, The Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford was launched for the first time from Dry Dock #12 and moved "dead-stick" to Pier 3 at Newport News shipyard.

June 5, 2015 The Gerald R. Ford successfully conducted its first "dead-load" test of the new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) at Newport News shipyard. The 15,500-pound sled was launched into the James River where it was recovered for additional test launches over the next several weeks.

August 3, More than 1,600 Sailors enjoyed their first meal prepared in the galley after moved aboard the PCU Gerald R. Ford.

April 8, 2016 Capt. Richard C. McCormack relieved Capt. John F. Meier as CO of the CVN 78 during a change-of-command ceremony aboard the ship at Newport News shipyard.

June 11, The Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Gerald R. Ford completed a major milestone by conducting a Turn Ship evelution at Pier 3. The new (port side) position will allow the ship and shipyard team to complete the remaining pierside testing required before upcoming sea trials.