dglobalnews.com President Trump delivers address at commissioning ceremony of USS Gerald R. Ford
Published: Sun, July 23, 2017
Global Media | By Cecelia Webb

President Trump delivers address at commissioning ceremony of USS Gerald R. Ford

President Trump delivers address at commissioning ceremony of USS Gerald R. Ford

Reuters The U.S. Defense Department said the Navy will commission its first "Ford-class" aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, on Saturday at its base in Norfolk, Virginia - three years behind schedule and billions over budget.

Trump will deliver the ceremony's principal address, marking his second visit to the new carrier since his inauguration. The president earlier in the week said in an interview that he regretted appointing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and warned the special counsel leading a probe into Russia's campaign meddling not to investigate unrelated dealings by his family business.

He added, "Now we need Congress to do its job and pass the budget that provides for higher, stable and predictable funding levels for our military needs that our fighting men and women deserve".

The Navy's newest vessel is the lead ship in a new class of aircraft carriers.

"When it comes to battle, we don't want a fair fight".

The vessel completed sea trials in April but still faces a battery of tests at sea before becoming operational and ready for deployment, work that is expected to cost almost 780 million dollars (£670 million) and take more than four years to complete, according to auditors.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is rigged with state-of-the-art technology with a capacity for more aircraft and weaponry than ever before.

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President Trump applauding the military's strength at Saturday's commissioning.

Susan Ford Bales, daughter of former President Ford, is the ship's sponsor.

Among the military brass in attendance were Navy Capt. Richard McCormack, commanding officer of the carrier; Navy Capt. Brent Gaut, prospective executive officer; Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations.

He praised the military members and civilians who worked on developing and building the massive ship, impressing his hope that the carrier serves as "the deterrent that keeps us from having to fight in the first place".

The Navy says the carrier will be operational by 2020.

The Gerald R. Ford-class features advanced technologies such as a new reactor plant, propulsion system, electric plant, electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS), advanced arresting gear (AAG), machinery control, dual-band radar and integrated warfare systems. TheGerald R. Ford (CVN 78)-class will eventually be a "phased replacement" for the Nimitz-class carriers with as many as 10 vessels-or potentially more-eventually being built.

Construction began in 2008 and was initially slated for completion in September of 2015, but ran into delays.

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