NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — History was made Tuesday, as USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) was sent out to sea for its first operational deployment, following a weather delay Monday.
The Ford is the largest aircraft carrier in the world and cost over $15 billion in overall construction, research, and development.
It was scheduled to get underway Monday from Naval Station Norfolk, the U.S. Navy confirmed, but was delayed due to major tidal flooding.
On Tuesday, more than 5,000 crew members bid farewell to their family and friends.
The Ford’s commanding officer says the crew will conduct aircraft operations and air defense exercises, alongside a coalition of allied forces in the Atlantic area of operations.
Sen. Tim Kaine, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, tweeted this message:
“Fair winds and following seas to the USS Gerald R. Ford, the most technologically advanced and combat capable aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy Fleet. I’m proud of Virginians’ hard work over the last 13 years to build this ship, and will keep doing all I can through my work on the Senate Armed Services Committee to support our national security.”
Some of the cutting-edge technology on the ship includes an Electro-magnetic Aircraft Launch System, advanced arresting gear and a new weapons elevators.
The Ford is the flagship of the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG).
“This deployment is an opportunity to push the ball further down the field and demonstrate the advantage that Ford and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 bring to the future of naval aviation, to the region and to our Allies and partners,” said Rear Adm. Gregory Huffman, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12.