USS Gerald Ford  1                04-2015

14 billion for a ship and they call it a Ford!

The Most Expensive Ship Ever Built

The United States is building its next generation of aircraft carrier, the FORD-class carriers. The U.S. Navy gave us access to photograph construction of the USS Gerald R. Ford at Newport News Shipbuilding, Virginia.

The numbers behind the USS Gerald R. Ford are impressive; about $14 billion in total cost, 224 million pounds, about 25 stories high, 1,106 feet long, and 250 feet wide. But the sheer enormity of the ship and construction operation is hard to grasp until you’re nearly face-to-metal with the massive military beast.



At Newport News Shipbuilding the power of new technology and 100 years of carrier design is built into every facet of the new ship. The Ford will handle up to 220 takeoffs and landings from its deck every day. Part of that quick turnaround is because, when aircraft like the new F-35 return for maintenance, the plane’s network will already have alerted ground crews to what’s needed so they can get the aircraft on its way faster than ever before. The new FORD-class aircraft carrier will be the largest, most lethal ship ever when it joins the US fleet in 2016.



The scope of the ship’s construction is hard to fathom, but that chain is made up of links weighing 360-pounds each.



It’s the weight of the chains that immobilize the 224 million pound carrier, not the anchors like those seen here on the USS Abraham Lincoln.



All that weight starts up here in the “Bulbous Bow” that displaces the ship’s center of gravity, allowing her to cruise on just the energy required for a much smaller ship.



This bow alone is more than three stories tall and weighs 116,000 pounds.



With its nuclear power plant and extraordinary size, the Ford is manufactured only here at Newport News Shipbuilding, VA.



Using “Big Blue”, the largest crane in the Western Hemisphere, towering 235 feet above the shipyard.



Big Blue can lift nearly 2.5 million pounds at a time and is essential for assembling the new class of ship.


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