Here’s The USS Gerald R. Ford Testing Its Weapons For The First Time – 75 Rounds Per Second

Here’s The USS Gerald R. Ford Testing Its Weapons For The First Time – 75 Rounds Per Second | Frontline Videos

Erik Hildebrandt / Public Domain


USS Gerald R. Ford

The USS Gerald R. Ford preparing to float. | U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua J. Wahl / Public Domain

The USS Gerald R. Ford is the first ship in the newer Ford-class of carriers. It was launched in 2013, commissioned in 2017, and we should get to see it deploy around 2020.

It’s the largest aircraft carrier in the world. But it’s not just its size that makes it exciting. Among the improvements over the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered carriers are:

  • New A1B reactor and propulsion plants
  • EMALS (Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System)
  • New island: The island may be shorter in length, but stands 20 feet/6 m taller than previous aircraft carriers’ islands. It is positioned 140 feet/43 m further aft and 3 feet/0.9 m further outboard than its predecessors
  • All electric ship
  • Major space rearrangement
  • Flight deck extensions
  • AAG (Advanced Arresting Gear)
  • Electromagnetic elevators

Recent Tests

An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 flies over the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). The aircraft carrier is underway conducting test and evaluation operations. | Erik Hildebrandt / Public Domain

The ship recently spent some time testing its weapons with live-fire off the coast of California with Raytheon’s SSDS (Ship Self Defense System) Integrated Combat System. The test, which was a first of its kind, enabled seamless integration between sensors and missiles.

An unmanned drone target was successfully taken down.

First Look

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) conducts a Close-In Weapons System structural test fire. | MiliSource / YouTube

Though the test in the video below isn’t the same test that took out the drone, it’s a pretty impressive first look. It’s a Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) structural test fire and wow, those things sure pop off!

The CIWS is a radar-guided, rapid-fire 20 mm rotating machine gun intended for anti-ship missiles. It can deliver 75 rounds per second.


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