Take a Look Inside the Amazing Power of a U.S. Aircraft Carrier

The U.S. Navy is the most powerful navy in the world. To add to that, a brand new, largest of its kind, aircraft carrier has been launched: The USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). This is the most advanced aircraft carrier in the world, and it has the stats to prove it. Check out what this aircraft carrier brings to the war table.

1. Commissioned in 2007

US Vice President Dick Cheney looks at a scale model of the new US Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford during a naming ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, 16 January 2007.

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney looks at a scale model of the new U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford during a naming ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, 16 January 2007. | Jason Reed/AFP/Getty Images

The vessel was named under George W. Bush’s administration in 2007 ,and was built by Huntington Ingalls Industry – Newport News Shipbuilding. The ship cost about $13 billion to bring to life.

Next: This ship moves some serious water.

2. That’s quite a bit of displacement for an aircraft carrier

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)

The first new U.S. aircraft carrier design in 40 years. | Chief Mass Communication Specialist Christopher Delano/U.S. Navy via Getty Images

The Ford is a massive ship. It can displace more than 100,000 long tons full load. That’s the equivalent of moving 224 million pounds of water out of the way.

Next: That’s a huge flight deck.

3. It’s the largest flight deck in the world

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) | Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni/U.S. Navy via Getty Images

The flight deck of this beauty is 256 feet wide, and 1,092 feet long. You may also notice that the island, or the flight deck’s observation tower, is located more towards the rear of the vessel, rather than the center.

Next: Size does matter.

4. The island is much smaller

Marine One sits on the flight deck during the commissioning ceremony for the USS Gerald R. Ford in Norfolk, Virginia, on July 22, 2017. | Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Thanks to a huge amount of advancements in technology, the island on this craft is much smaller. That allows for more room on the flight deck to store planes after or before they launch.

Next: Get out of the way of this anchor.

5. Anchors away!

Deck Department Sailors assigned to Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), polish the capstone inside the ship's forecastle.

Sailors polish the capstone inside the ship’s forecastle. | U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristopher Ruiz/Released

The anchor on this behemoth is actually smaller than its predecessors. It weighs in at 30,000 pounds, which is actually half of the former Nimitz-class carrier’s anchors. The chain on this bad-boy is an impressive 1,440 feet long.

Next: That’s a whole lot of power.

6. Nuclear powered propulsion

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)

This is actually a really fast ship. | Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni/U.S. Navy via Getty Images

The Ford is powered by two — not one, two — nuclear reactors attached to four shafts. This vessel can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. In maritime terms, that is extremely fast for this size of a vessel. With that kind of power, it won’t have to refuel for a long time.

Next: Let’s talk defense.

7. A “Rolling Airframe Missile” system

Fire Controlman 2nd Class Shelby Edson and Fire Controlman 3rd Class Lawrence Batcheller insert a Load-Out Test Adapter into a Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launching system

Rolling Airframe Missile launching system. | U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ryan Litzenberger/Released

The RAM is one of the Navy’s most powerful defensive tools. It uses radio and infrared frequencies to track and destroy anti-ship missiles. Accompanying this powerful automated defense shield is the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles, for added range and precision.

Next: If something were to get past that, this defense system farts bullets.

8. The Phalanx

A sailor conducts maintenance on the Phalanx CIWS close-in weapon system aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Stout at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia, May 8, 2013, during the Department of Defense's tour deemed Navy 101. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON

A Phalanx close-in weapons system. | Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

From the sound that this thing makes, the Phalanx close-in weapons system basically farts bullets. It’s the last line of defense, and throws up a wall of bullets at any incoming ordinance. The Phalanx can fire 4,500 bullets in a minute.

Next: Enough about defense, let’s talk about offense.

9. The Ford can hold a little over 75 aircraft

An F/A-18 Hornet is seen in the hangar of the USS George H.W. Bush

A shot of the hangar on the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) is pretty similar to the Ford. | Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

First and foremost, the Ford is a support ship. We deploy our aircraft carriers to conflict zones around the world to provide support. This ship is equipped to house over 75 aircraft, and all the ammunition they need.

Next: This amazing new system helps get all those ships in the air, fast.

10. Electromagnetic catapults

A catapult officer gestures just before a Boeing EA-18G Growler takes off. | Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Traditional aircraft carriers used a steam-powered system of cables to catapult aircraft off the flight deck. The USS Gerald R. Ford uses an electromagnetic system that takes up much less room, and lasts much longer than the former system. Plus, it allows aircraft to launch incredibly fast.

Next: This baby is built to last.

11. The Ford will last 50 years

The USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)

It could remain at sea indefinitely. | Ridge Leoni/US Navy via Getty Images

With proper maintenance, this craft is meant to last more than 50 years. Best of all, with all the advancements in the design of the ship, maintenance visits will be drastically reduced, letting the ship stay out to sea longer.

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