The US Navy is no stranger to spending vast sums of money, but when it comes to this ship everything else pales in comparison.
The USS Gerald R Ford is the most expensive warship America has ever built, and right now it’s undergoing its first set of sea trials.
Costing an eye-watering $13bn, it is a supercarrier in every single sense of the word.
A floating city of metal and advanced electronics, the USS Gerald R Ford is essentially just a collection of incomprehensibly vast numbers.
Take the electrical systems on board.
It has 10 million feet of electrical cabling and 4 million feet of fibre optic cables. That’s 14 million feet of wiring on board – enough to reach the International Space Station from Earth more than 10 times.
There are so many cables on this ship that when installing them the designers constantly hit junctions where they just couldn’t fit them in. So on the next carrier, the USS John F Kennedy, they’ve actually created their own version of Google Maps just to help them find the most optimal route for all these cables.
All of this cabling powers a brand-new catapult system which replaces the old steam systems used in older aircraft carriers.
The Gerald R Ford ditches steam, instead using advanced electromagnets to shoot fighters into the air in seconds.
Then there’s the sheer size of the thing. It weighs around 100,000 tonnes, as much as 400 Statues of Liberty.
The flight deck is 5 acres in size, allowing it to carry a compliment of 75 aircraft. At peak efficiency the Ford can launch over 200 airstrikes every day.
Inside there’s enough room to comfortably house 4,660 personnel who will be fed a staggering 15,000 meals every single day.
Its weapons systems can be upgraded with lasers while the flight deck will be compatible with both manned aircraft and any new drones that are developed during its 50 year lifespan.
The carrier’s journey to sea trials hasn’t been an easy one. Around a year ago inspectors highlighted some “poor or unknown reliability issues” which could prevent the vessel from being combat ready.
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