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CVN 78 returns to Newport News Shipbuilding for yearlong PSA/SRA

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Sailors man the rails of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) during its commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, VA, last July

JULY 16, 2018 — Naval Sea Systems Command report that the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) arrived Newport News Shipbuilding July 14 to begin a yearlong maintenance and upgrade period.

The ship’s post-shakedown availability/selected restricted availability (PSA/SRA) follows the ship’s successful completion of its post-delivery test and evaluation.

“Congratulations to everyone who has helped bring CVN 78 to this historic milestone,” said Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, program executive officer for aircraft carriers. “Following Gerald R. Ford’s delivery to the Navy on May 31, 2017, the ship’s crew has been diligently and successfully conducting post-delivery testing and trial operations that identify construction and design issues. They have been extremely effective in identifying any issues early, which helps us address them prior to returning to the fleet.”

Operating at sea for 81 days through eight independent steaming events, USS Gerald R. Ford successfully completed fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft integration and compatibility testing, air traffic control center certification, JP-5 fuel system certification, daytime and nighttime underway replenishment capability demonstration, ship’s defensive system demonstration, Dual Band Radar testing and propulsion plant operations. The ship completed nearly 750 shipboard aircraft launches and recoveries against a plan of approximately 400.

“One year ago this month we commissioned USS Gerald R. Ford, the world’s most technologically advanced aircraft carrier. Since that historic day, Ford has performed exceptionally due to a combination of innovative engineers, skilled craftsmen and professional and dedicated Sailors,” said Rear Adm. Roy Kelley, commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic. “Since commissioning, her accomplishments are many. As she enters a necessary maintenance period, I’m excited to see what the future holds for CVN 78 when she returns to sea. No nation on earth can match the capability of USS Gerald R. Ford, a class of ship which will lead our Navy well into the 21st century.”

The scheduled 12-month PSA/SRA will see the installation of the ship’s remaining combat systems, completion of deferred work and correction of remaining discrepancies identified during sea trials and shakedown.

The longest sequence of events, or “critical path” for this PSA/SRA period are Advanced Weapons Elevator construction and Advanced Arresting Gear upgrades.

Following the PSA/SRA, USS Gerald R. Ford will conduct further trials and testing, including full-ship shock trials, prior to its first deployment. The ship will work up for deployment in parallel with its initial operational testing and evaluation.

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