The USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group Is Set to Soon Depart on Its First Operational Deployment With Other Nations

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Recently, the Navy announced that its "newest and most advanced aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) will deploy alongside a coalition of allied forces in the Atlantic area of operations Monday, Oct. 3." [i]
The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) completes the final explosive event of the Full Ship Shock Trials on Aug. 8, 2021.MC3 Novalee Manzella/Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Admiral Daryl Caudle, commander of the US Fleet Forces Command, provided conscious reasoning for the critical nature of this deployment. He stated,

The USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group will deploy, integrating with Allies and partners, to demonstrate its unmatched, multi-domain, full-spectrum lethality in the Atlantic. This trans-Atlantic deployment will strengthen our relationships, capacity, and trust to forge a more peaceful and prosperous world by leveraging the 'One Atlantic' Command and Control Concept." [ii]
The US navy Gerald R Ford (CVN-79) and the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75)MCSN Riley McDowell/Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

The deployment will focus on "training on air defense, anti-subsurface warfare, distributed maritime operations, mine countermeasures, and amphibious operations." There are approximately 9,000 personnel from nine nations, 60 aircraft, and 20 ships. The participating nations are the: following:

  1. United States
  2. Canada
  3. Denmark
  4. Finland
  5. France
  6. Germany
  7. Netherlands
  8. Spain,
  9. Sweden [iii]

CVN 78 is a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier sporting an identical hull form as the CVN 68 Nimitz class. The Ship's nuclear power plant can operate with 50% fewer crewmembers than a CVN68-class ship but produces remarkably larger quantities of electricity. Many areas on the Ship were "redesigned" to "reduce manning, increase safety, and increase throughput of weapons." [iv]
An F/A-18F Super Hornet approaches the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) on Jul. 28, 2017.US Navy/Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

CVN 78 honors the 38th US President and includes a slightly larger flight deck, enhancing its ability to "launch, recover, and service aircraft." The Ship measures nearly 1,093 feet with a speed of 30 knots or 34.5 mph. The crew size decreased from 5,5000 on Nimitz class ships to 4,550 on Gerald R. Ford class ships. [v]
A Lockheed Martin F-35 'Lightning II' demonstration.aeroman3/Wikimedia Commons

The Ship can carry "the Navy's most advanced aircraft." This includes the F-35C Lightning II, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, and EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft. The Growler is "an Airborne Electronic Attack aircraft [that] integrates the latest electronic attack technology. It is fitted with ALQ-99 tactical jamming pods and an ALQ-227 Communication Countermeasures Set. [vi]

All EA-18G Squadrons are based at NAS Whidbey Island except for VAQ-141 at Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Japan. The Growler is most useful at "creating a safe path for follow-on attack aircraft." It has a top speed of roughly 1218 mph. [vii]

Watch the video below for more details on the EA-18G and its ability to 'confuse the enemy.'


[i] US Navy Press Release, USS Gerald R. Ford Set to Depart on First Deployment, (Sep. 29, 2022)

[ii] Id.

[iii] Id.

[iv] US navy, CVN 78 Gerald R. Ford Class Nuclear Aircraft Carrier, (Accessed: 2022)

[v] Id.

[vi] Id.

[vii] US Navy Press Release, USS Gerald R. Ford Set to Depart on First Deployment, (Sep. 29, 2022)

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