Friday, October 28, 2022

USS Gerald R. Ford

 The newest aircraft carrier in the United States Navy arrived in Halifax this morning on its first deployment. USS Gerald R. Ford CVN-78 is the lead ship of its class and as usual with such huge and sophisticated vessels it has been a long time coming into service. Actual construction (following several years of pre-build componenent construction) started in 2000, with launch in 2013 and delivery in 2017 by Newport News Shipbuilding. Commissioning also took place in 2017, but the ship was not declared "fully delivered" until last month.

It sailed from its home port of Norfolk on October 4 and has been exercising with its own destroyer squadron and many units the NATO navies -  most of which also arrived in Halifax today. Due to its size the ship took two Halifax harbour pilots, who boarded the ship by helicopter at the outer pilot boarding ground.

The 100,000 tonne (approximate) displacement ship can accommodated 4,539 persons and approximately 75 aircraft fully deployed. This is all contained in an overall length of 337m (1,106 ft) and hull breadth of 41m (134 ft) at the waterline. The breadth at the flight deck is 78m (256 ft). There is considerable published data on the ship's weapons, systems and aircraft which are presumably state of the art. Its nuclear power plant can speed the ship along far in excess of the published 30 knots.

Circumstances beyond our control prevented Shipfax from actually photographing the ship today. If photos becomer available in subsequent days they may be added to this post or will be published in a new post.

As stated above the Gerald R. Ford arrived with a nice bevy of US and NATO vessels, mostly frigates, and many new to Halifax.(Once again - sorry - no photos available.):

USS Normandy CG-60, USS Ramage DDG-61, HMNLS De Seven Provincien F 802, HMNLS Van Amstel F 831, FGS Hessen F 221, HDMC Peter Willemoes F 362 and ESP Alvaro de Bazan F101. Civilian tugs and civilian pilots were busy berthing these ships well into the afternoon, while Canadian navy tugs were presumably handling RCN ships (sorry no names available.)

Once the Gerald R. Ford was brought up at anchor the usual array of harbourcraft flocked round to carry out several chores.

To transport prople to and from shore the harbour ferry Rita Joe and harbour tour boat Harbour Queen I were joined by the Eastern Points from Lunenburg. (The usual harbour craft Kawartha Spirit was not available due to a grounding the other day, which caused it to be sent to Sambro for survey and repairs.)

There was also considerable waste removal of various sorts including compostable and recyclable, which was discharged to the barge Irving Cedar which had been fitted out with special containers. I assume some of the waste would have to be incinerated as does all international garbage from cruise ships. Dominion Diving's tug/workboats Dominion Rumbler, Halmar and Dominion Warrior were noted alongside, likely with smaller barges or "camels".

Numerous other patrol craft - unidentifiable by name or number - were controlling an exclusion zone around the ship as well. On line photos have shown them to be heavily armed.


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