Navy crew members standing at attention aboard an aircraft carrier (© Rob Ostermaier/Newport News Daily Press/TNS/Getty Images)
Crew members man the deck during the July 2017 commissioning ceremony for the USS Gerald R. Ford. (© Rob Ostermaier/Newport News Daily Press/TNS/Getty Images)

The U.S. Navy’s newest and most technologically advanced aircraft carrier took to the seas in July as President Trump commissioned the USS Gerald R. Ford in Newport News, Virginia.

This is the “newest, largest, and most advanced aircraft carrier in the history of this world” and “a symbol of American power and prestige,” the president said. “American might is second to none, and we’re getting bigger, and better, and stronger every day.”

The carrier is named after the 38th president, Gerald R. Ford, who served on an aircraft carrier during World War II. The new design is the first update to aircraft carriers in 40 years and ushers in a new generation of high-tech carriers, the “Ford class.”

The USS Ford joins 10 existing Nimitz-class carriers that currently serve in the United States Navy. The Nimitz class was named for World War II U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.

Aircraft carrier at sea (© AP Images)
The USS Gerald R. Ford on an April 2017 test trial off the coast of Virginia (© AP Images)

State-of the-art technology

Central to the new carrier’s futuristic technology are the catapults that launch planes. Previously, aircraft carriers used steam to build up pressure, which was then used to project an aircraft forward. The USS Ford uses electromagnets to launch the aircraft into the sky faster and with better efficiency. The electromagnetic catapult is so strong that the new carrier can launch heavier, more powerful planes. (Watch the video below to see the Navy try out the catapult on a test vehicle.)

A new nuclear reactor powers the electromagnet, as well as the rest of the ship. The Ford’s reactors are smaller but can produce approximately three times the power output of the reactors on the Nimitz-class carriers.

The USS Ford is constructed in such a way that the Navy will be able to add future technologies and stay up-to-date.

“Wherever this vessel cuts through the horizon, our allies will rest easy and our enemies will shake with fear because everyone will know that America is coming and America is coming strong,” President Trump said.