The U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is now in the fleet, restoring the number of active carriers to the legally mandated 11 for the first time since 2015. But now the Gerald R. Ford is not scheduled to deploy until 2024, six years later than its original deployment date, because of problems with some new technologies as well as a testing program that includes a shock trial.
The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act permitted the Secretary of Defense to waive the requirement to shock test the ship, a decision that could move the ship’s first deployment up by a year. But leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee urged the Secretary not to delay shock testing the Gerald R. Ford, and the Department of Defense still has the test scheduled before the ship’s maiden deployment. This is a mistake.