Washington: The US Navy is building three super aircraft carriers and plans to induct the first next- generation warship, the USD 12.9 billion 'USS Gerald R Ford' this year, according to a top navy official.
Sean Stackley, the Navy's assistant secretary for acquisitions, unveiled the timetable for the 100,000-tonne, 1,100-foot-long warship in testimony prepared for the Senate Armed Services Committee.
As of March, the Ford, on which construction began in 2009, was 97 per cent complete, Stackley said on Wednesday.
The 'USS Gerald R Ford' is the first in a new class of US Navy aircraft carriers.
He said the carrier is expected to begin sea trials in July and be delivered to the Navy by Newport News Shipbuilding two months later.
The carrier employs an advanced arresting gear ? using water-based technology ? to bring jets to a smooth stop.
The ship is named after the 38th US president, who died in 2006. He served aboard the USS Monterey during World War II and was discharged from the Navy as a lieutenant commander.
Stackley said the next carrier in the Ford class, the USS John F Kennedy, is scheduled to be launched in 2020. That ship was 18 per cent complete as of March, he was quoted as saying by the CNN.
The third Ford-class carrier, the USS Enterprise, is set to begin construction in 2018, Stackley said.
The timetable for the Navy's biggest warships came as he gave lawmakers the Navy's budget request for the next five years. The service wants to spend USD 81.3 billion over that period to build 38 warships, he said.
Included in that request are the first replacement for the aging Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, nine Virginia-class attack submarines, 10 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and smaller numbers of other surface ships.
The goal of the building plan is to have a Navy battle force of 308 ships by 2021, according to Stackley's testimony.