US NAVY CHRISTENS NEXT GENERATION OF AIRCRAFT CARRIER

Fox News on November 9, 2013, published an AP report on the U.S. Navy christening the USS Gerald Ford with the traditional smashing of a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow of the ship — the most technologically advanced aircraft carrier the United States has built. Excerpts below:

The Ford is the lead ship in the Navy’s next class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. It’s designed to get more fighter planes in the sky in less time and to be ready to incorporate unmanned aircraft into its air wing. It’s the first carrier redesign in four decades and is scheduled to join the fleet in 2016.

“She is truly a technological marvel,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert said in a webcast ceremony at the Newport News, Va., shipyard where the Ford is being built. “She will carry unmanned aircraft, joint strike fighters, and she will deploy lasers.”

Saturday’s christening was one part tribute to the future of Naval warfare and one part tribute to the ship’s namesake, former President Gerald R. Ford. Ford was a lieutenant commander aboard an aircraft carrier during World War II and frequently spoke fondly of his time in the Navy.

In her speech to shipyard workers, Navy personnel and other dignitaries, Bales Ford said she hopes future generations of sailors will understand the integrity her father showed during his years of public service — much as the current crew has honored him. The ship’s motto is `Integrity at the helm.’

Other speakers honoring Ford included former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

The Ford — with a new nuclear power plant, electromagnetic catapults and an enhanced 5-acre flight deck — will leave dry dock and head to a pier at Newport News Shipbuilding next week. The Navy says construction on the ship is about 70 percent complete and will finish up in 2015. It will then undergo a series of sea trials before it is commissioned and becomes operational.

Until then, the Navy will be down to a 10-carrier fleet following the USS Enterprise’s deactivation last year.

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