VIDEO: USS Gerald R. Ford back in Norfolk after two months in the Atlantic | Rare Techy
The first USS of its class Gerald R. Ford The U.S. 2nd Fleet reported to Naval Station Norfolk (CVN-78) on Saturday after a 53-day operational period in the Atlantic.
Ford arrived in Norfolk after returning last week from a UK port visit and exercises with allied nations across the North Atlantic.
“The flagship departed Norfolk, Virginia on October 4th and traveled more than 9,275 nautical miles,” the US 2nd Fleet said in a statement.
“During the planned deployment, Ford operated with eight allies and partners Canada, Denmark, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden to strengthen interoperability while conducting a variety of maritime operations and exercises.”
Major events for the strike group included port calls to Halifax, Canada on 28 October and to Portsmouth, UK on 14 November. Ford and its escorts also took part in the massive Silent Wolverine exercise with ships from Canada, Denmark, Germany, Spain, France and the Netherlands.
“Through integrated and combined operations such as Carrier Air Wing 8’s live and inert munitions expenditure, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare and air defense, we have established the foundation for operating Ford-class technologies in an operational environment,” said Ford commander Capt. Paul Lanzilotta in Saturday’s release.
“We completed over 1,250 sorties, expended 78.3 tons of ordnance, and completed 13 pending replenishments.”
Ford took on board a partial air wing consisting of all types of aircraft used on an aircraft carrier. At any given time, up to 60 aircraft – about 80 percent of the air wing – were embarked on the aircraft carrier. Ford It also took over 1,200 tons of ammunition as an ongoing unit.
In addition, the strike group used the cruiser USS with guided missiles Normandy (CG-60) and guided missile destroyers USS Thomas Hudner (DDG-116), USS Rage (DDG-61), USS McFaul (DDG-74 with Fighter Squadron 26. Additionally, the strike group used the Coast Guard cutter USCGC Hamilton (WMSL-753).
The time spent at sea was an opportunity to prove the systems that were introduced Ford designed to increase the flight generation rate of an aircraft carrier. The carrier’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Device (AAG) are both new systems with software elements that have required extensive testing in recent years. Also Advanced Weapon Elevators (AWE) which are overdue Forddeployment capability is fully operational and thoroughly tested.
Now back in Norfolk, Ford and its crew is now preparing for a longer deployment planned for next year, defense officials told USNI News.
“This deployment laid a strong foundation for the strike group, provided the impetus to move us forward for future operations, and prepared us to respond to the call of our country if needed,”
Rear Adm. Greg Huffman, commander of Carrier Strike Group 12, said in a statement Saturday.
Carrier Strike Group 12
U.S.S Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
Carrier Air Wing 8
Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., embarked Ford and includes nine squadrons and units:
- The Golden Warriors of VFA-87 Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) fly F/A-18Es from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
- VFA-37 “Ragin’ Bulls” – F/A-18E – from Naval Air Station Oceana.
- VFA-213 “Black Lions” – F/A-18F – from Naval Air Station Oceana.
- VFA-31 “Tomcatters” – F/A-18E – from Naval Air Station Oceana.
- VAQ-142 “Grey Wolves” – EA-18G – Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) – From Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.
- VAW-124 “Bear Aces” – E-2D – Air Force Early Warning Squadron (VAW) – From Naval Air Station Norfolk, Va.
- VRC-40 Rawhides – Unit – C-2A – Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) – From Naval Air Station Norfolk.
- HSC-9 – MH-60S – Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) “trinds” from Naval Air Station Norfolk.
- HSM-70 “Spartans” – MH-60R – Helicopter Sea Strike Squadron (HSM) – From Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.
U.S.S Normandy (CG-60), posted at Naval Station Norfolk.
Fighter Squadron 26
U.S.S Thomas Hudner (DDG-116), docked at Naval Station Mayport, Fla.
- U.S.S Rage (DDG-61), homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.
- U.S.S McFaul (DDG-74), docked at Mayport Naval Station.
- USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753) homeported in North Charleston, SC