USS Gerald Ford  2                04-2015

Ships this big have to be built in dry docks like this; twenty two hundred feet long and 250 feet wide.
 

 

 

Replacing the 50 year-old Nimitz-class carrier, engineers at Newport News Shipbuilding designed the Ford to accept technology that won’t be seen for decades.
 

 

 

Some of those advancements are expected, but most are as far-fetched as the Navy’s newest drones were in 1963.
 

 

 

Regardless of what the future brings, all of it will require more power, which is why the Ford will generate three times the energy of Nimitz-class carriers.
 

 

 

Newport News Shipbuilding has learned a lot about building carriers over the years, like the wisdom of leaving the paint job until the ship is finished. This is done to save on repainting over welds and stresses caused during construction. Raw steel exposed to salt air causes the rust, but the various other colors denote the thickness of the plates.
 

 

 

The paint applied to the Ford actually isn’t paint, but a “high solids coating” that lasts longer and doesn’t break down as quickly.
 

 

 

Newport News Shipbuilding rents acres of canvas to cover the hull when it applies the coating.
 

 

 

Moving the island house (the control tower) back further on the ship will accommodate an increased launch rate for the 75+ planes that will live aboard the carrier.
 

 

 

The Ford will be capable of launching and receiving up to 220 planes a day.
 

 

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