Watch live: Trump speaks, Navy commissions USS Gerald R. Ford

The USS Gerald R. Ford, a first-of-class aircraft carrier, is being commissioned into service in today.
By Richard Tomkins  |  July 22, 2017 at 9:36 AM
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July 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy is commissioning the new aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford into service today at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia.

The USS Gerald R. Ford, named after the 38th President of the United States, is the lead ship of the new class of aircraft carrier replacing Nimitz-class carriers now in use.

Among the carrier's features are a new reactor plant, propulsion system, electric plant, and the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System. Advanced aircraft arresting gear, machinery control, dual band radar and integrated warfare systems are also included.

The Navy said the ship -- 1.106 feet long, 256 feet in the carrier deck beam, 256 feet high -- has more than 23 new or modified systems.

President Donald J. Trump will deliver the ceremony's principal address on Saturday's commissioning ceremony. A White House live stream will start at 10:10 a.m.

"The nation's going to be very proud of USS Gerald R. Ford," Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said in a press release. "I am incredibly thankful for the shipyard workers and sailors who worked amazingly hard to bring this mighty ship to life."

"This Saturday will be a huge day for our Navy and our nation. The new technology and warfighting capabilities that Ford brings will transform naval warfare, making us a more lethal Navy. The increased combat power will enable new ways to combine information, ships, aircraft and undersea forces, changing how we operate and fight."

The USS Gerald R. Ford was built by Huntington Ingalls Industries. Other Ford-class vessels will be the future USS John F. Kennedy, CVN 79, and the future USS Enterprise, CVN 80.

The Navy plans to spend $43 billion for the development and building of the ships.

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