The USS Gerald R. Ford, is set to go into active duty on July 22. The 1,100-foot ship will have a total of 4,660 sailors, approximately 600 less than a Nimitz-class flattop, according to the carrier’s commissioning website.
It displaces more than 100,000 tons fully loaded and will carry 75 combat aircraft. Watch the video:
Navy Times recently spent a day with the Ford’s builders, leaders and crew to get their thoughts on life aboard the next-generation flattop. While the Ford still has many hurdles to surpass before its 2016 sea trials, the crew gave their ship high marks, with some saying the smaller berthing’s and shorter chow lines meant that sailors could live more like chiefs.
Among the amenities the plankowners were talking about:
- Smaller berthing. Gone are the huge, 180-man berthing’s common on Nimitz-class carriers. They’ve been replaced by 40-man or smaller berthing’s to reduce noise and distractions.
- Better gyms. The Ford features three huge gyms to accommodate weight lifting, cardio exercises, even boxing.
- Cooler spaces. More air-conditioning and vastly reduced steam piping will make the Ford’s engineering spaces the coolest in the flattop fleet.
- Redesigned flight deck. Larger elevators and re-positioned fueling and arming spots are expected to increase sorties by 25 percent.
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