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USS Gerald Ford wraps tests of combat system capabilities

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USS Gerald Ford wraps tests of combat system capabilities
Sailors assigned to o USS Gerald R. Ford's combat systems department stand watch in the ship's combat direction center during sea based developmental testing. (This photo has altered for security purposes by blurring screens. Photo by Ruben Reed/U.S. Navy

April 7 (UPI) -- USS Gerald Ford recently completed tests of its combat system capabilities while deployed in the Atlantic, the Navy announced Tuesday.

According to Cmdr. Ron McCallister, the testing was a collaborative effort between Naval Sea Systems Command along with the greater technical community and the ship's crew.

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"The tests exercise the combat systems suite as a complete unit and ensure maximum availability to meet combat and self-defense mission requirements," McCallister said. "In the end, the combat systems suite achieves maximum readiness and the Sailors develop more operational and technical competence."

The Ford's crew tested in the Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon and Identification of Friend or Foe, which is used for secure friend identification but also to control aircraft.

"We use an interrogator system to challenge aircraft transponders for identification," said Operations Specialist 2nd class Juannietagrace Okeli, from Moss Point, Mississippi. "The interrogator, cooperative engagement capability, and the Ships Self-Defense Systems (SSDS) work together to provide us the combat identification."

Carrier Strike Group 12 assumed operational control of the USS Gerald Ford at the beginning of March after the vessel completed 16-day compatibility testing.

The Ford is the first of a new class of carriers intended to replace the Nimitz carriers.

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The ship has been troubled by cost overruns and delays, including problems with its electromagnetic elevators. It is currently conducting carrier qualifications in the Atlantic.

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