March 2 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Thursday used the Navy's brand-new, class-setting aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, as the backdrop for promoting his plans for rebuilding the U.S.military.
In his remarks, Trump repeated pitch his vision for greater U.S. military supremacy -- a promise he has made since taking office in January. Earlier this week, his budget called for an increase of $54 billion in defense spending.
"There is no competition for this ship," Trump said Thursday at Newport News Shipbuilding. "It is a monument of American might that will provide the strength necessary to ensure peace."
The ship, named for the 38th U.S. president, is the first in a new class of Navy supercarriers designed for maximum military efficiency and replacement of the branch's aging Nimitz-class aircraft carriers. Nearly a dozen more Ford-class, formerly known by the designation CVN-21, warships are in either the construction or planning phase. The ships, powered by a pair of A1B nuclear reactors and capable of transporting more than 75 fighter jets, are each expected to have a service life of 50 years.
"This ship, the Ford class, will expand the ability of our nation to carry out vital missions on the oceans, to project American power in distant lands," Trump said.
The USS Gerald R. Ford, which cost nearly $5 billion to develop and $13 billion to build, will be commissioned sometime this year.
"American ships will sail the seas, American planes will soar the skies, American workers will build our fleets," Trump said, echoing promises he made to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. "And America's military will ensure that even though the darkest nights and throughout, a bright and glowing sun will always shine on our nation and our people."