April 10 (UPI) -- USS Gerald R. Ford, the U.S. Navy's developing "super carrier," departed its builder's port to begin sea trials over the weekend.
The vessel, built by defense contractor Huntington Ingalls Industries, is the first new carrier design constructed for the Navy in 40 years. Testers plan to spend several days examining its key systems and technologies.
"The Navy and our industry partners are excited to have the future USS Gerald R. Ford underway under her own power for the first time, executing a rigorous and comprehensive test program for this first-of-class ship," program leader Rear Adm. Brian Antonio said in a press release.
The USS Gerald R. Ford, named for the 38th president of the United States, is being built as a successor to the Navy's existing Nimitz-class carriers. The new class of warships will feature two new reactors designed to produce 250 percent more electricity than their predecessors.
Defense officials say the beginning of sea trials marks a new chapter for the program.
"This milestone is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication, and we look forward to learning a great deal during sea trials. We will continue to work together to deliver Ford's critical capabilities to the fleet," Antonio added.