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U.S. Navy Christens Newest Aircraft Carrier USS Gerald Ford

It\'s the first new aircraft carrier designed in 40 years and requires fewer Marines and sailors to operate.
Posted at 7:38 PM, Nov 09, 2013

Crowds flocked to Newport News, Virginia Saturday to see the Navy christen its newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald Ford.

"I christen the United States Ship Gerald R. Ford. May God bless this ship and all who sail her." (Via Fox News)

"The former president's daughter, Susan Ford Bales, smashed the bottle of sparkling wine against the hull of the ship. Former Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who both worked for Ford, were at the ceremony." (Via CNN)

So what's so special about the USS Ford? Well, for starters, it's the first new aircraft carrier designed in 40 years.

"The Ford has a redesigned command center and an enhanced flight deck. It's also the first ever to use electromagnetic force instead of steam to catapult fighter jets into flight." (Via WNBC)

The electromagnetic force works similarly to the way roller coasters are propelled, catapulting planes off the ship's deck. Also, when planes land, the arresting gear will be software-controlled to help protect them. (Via Defense Update)

The ship has a new dual-band radar, which the Pentagon says will keep it relevant and up to date as new technology develops. (Via Discovery)

Another feature is the ship's four 30-ton propellers. The USS Ford can carry more warplanes and launch 25 percent more air missions than other carriers, but CNN reports the vessel requires 1,000 fewer sailors and Marines to operate. (Via CNN)

Although the ship cost more than $12 billion to build — slightly over budget — the Navy says it will save $4 billion dollars over a 50-year time period. (Via The Ford Class)

The USS Ford is expected to be in service until 2057.