Trump helps commission USS Gerald R. Ford, newest aircraft carrier

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NORFOLK The aircraft carrier Pre Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford pulls into Naval Station Norfolk for the first time. The first-of-class ship- the first new U.S. aircraft carrier design in 40 years-

"We demand victory, and we will have total victory, believe me".

Trump and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis took part in commissioning the USS Gerald R. Ford, the Navy's newest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, named in honor of the 38th president, in Norfolk, Virginia, today.

"It's been a very, very bad period of time for our military", Trump said.

Trump, the commander in chief of the US military, will be on hand at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia to preside over the commissioning ceremony.

'To every patriot who will serve on this ship, I say this: Keep the watch, protect her and defend her, ' he said. Taken on her own, the Ford is the most expensive ship of any kind ever built, with a construction cost of almost $13 billion. Compared to Nimitz-class carriers, the Gerald R. Ford-class carriers have more than 23 new or modified systems.

Trump visited the $12.9 billion nuclear-powered carrier in Newport News, Virginia, to cap off the White House's "Made in America" week, a series of events created to highlight the administration's push to increase domestic manufacturing.

The US Navy intends to invest $43bn in the development and construction of the three new Ford-class vessels, USS Gerald R. Ford, the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) and the future USS Enterprise (CVN 80).

The Ford is the first of three Ford-class carriers ordered by the Navy.

Many of these challenges stemmed from the multiple new technologies that the Navy incorporated into her design - including technologies that were not fully developed before they were installed.

But the new carrier, Trump said, will be key in any fight that may become necessary.

Naval Operations chief admiral John Richardson said: "The nation is going to be very proud of USS Gerald R. Ford".

Despite the challenges that come with developing and testing a carrier that is first in its class, commanding officers touted the expertise demonstrated by the Ford's crew members in operating its advanced systems. "This has led to deferred maintenance, a lack of investment in new equipment and technology and a shortfall in military readiness".

Former defense secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney were among a host of officials attending the commissioning ceremony. In addition, the carrier hasn't yet been cleared to launch fighters carrying extra fuel in wing tanks because of software issues with the new electromagnetic catapult system that cause excessive stresses at launch.

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