Future USS Gerald R. Ford set to be commissioned next month

170414-N-WZ792-078 NORFOLK, Va. (April 14, 2017) - The future USS GERALD R. FORD (CVN 78) arrives at Naval Station Norfolk after returning from Builder's Sea Trials and seven days underway. During this initial at-sea period, Ford's crew, representatives from Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding, the Navy's CVN 78 Program Office, the Navy's Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair and various technical subject matter experts demonstrated many of the ship's key systems. Primary risk reduction objectives were successfully met, and, as is typical with sea trials, the Navy and shipbuilder learned a great deal about the ship's performance during the extensive testing. Analysis continues, and any identified corrective actions will be addressed. CVN 78 remains on track to conduct Acceptance Trials and delivery to the Navy this spring. (U.S. Navy Combat Camera photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni)

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The future USS Gerald R. Ford is set to be commissioned next month.

The U.S. Navy says the Ford is the first new-design carrier since the USS Nimitz in 1975 — and the first to join the fleet since the USS George H. W. Bush in 2009. The Navy’s newest carrier will be commissioned on Saturday, July 22.

The $12.9 billion ship features state-of-the-art technologies like electromagnetic catapults and arresting gear, a new island structure, an expanded flight deck that will allow aircraft to be launched faster than ever before, 250 percent more electrical power, two next generation nuclear reactors and 500 fewer crew members.

Gallery: Future USS Ford returns from sea trials

The Gerald R. Ford was delivered to the Navy on June 1, after the ship completed its second set of sea trials, known as acceptance trials.

Sailors aboard the Ford completed the first sea trials in April, testing the ship’s state-of-the-art systems.

Gerald R. Ford helps rescue sick sailor during sea trials

Construction of the Ford began in 2008 and was initially slated for completion in September of 2015, but ran into delays. The ship ended up costing a little over $2 billion more than it was supposed to cost.

The Navy says the carrier will be operational by 2020.

For more information on commissioning events, go online.