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Ford set for sea trials

24 October 2019
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Aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford is slated for sea trials. Source: US Navy

The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) completed a five-day pierside fast-cruise evolution on 23 October at the Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding yard to help the ship prepare for sea trials scheduled for later this month, US Navy (USN) officials confirmed.

The fast cruise was a culminating training evolution designed to "bring Ford to life" after its 15-month post-shakedown availability (PSA), USN officials noted.

"While in Newport News, the crew has been regularly conducting General Quarters drills, man overboard evolutions, and the like," Lieutenant Commander Nick Devorak, Ford 's training officer, said in a 24 October statement.

"The last five days allowed the team a dedicated period to put their knowledge and skills to the test in a simulated at-sea environment," Lt Cdr Devorak said. "Evolutions like the fast cruise are critical because it gets sailors in the right mindset before taking a warship to sea."

The fast cruise came about a week after Ford had completed Phase III Crew Certification, which focused on how Ford 's medical and damage control training teams accomplished necessary crew training needed to return the ship to sea. The two-day training evolution tested each team individually and together to assess the crew's availability to respond to personnel and material casualties at sea.

Ford 's PSA was extended to October partly to give the navy and Newport News Shipbuilding additional time to work out operational issues with the ship's 11 Advanced Weapons Elevators (AWEs).

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