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Trump Helps Commission New Warship, Says Vessel Sends ‘Message to the World’

  • VOA News

President Donald Trump, left, puts the USS Gerald Ford into commission as Navy commanders look on, at Naval Station Norfolk, in Norfolk, Virginia, July 22, 2017.

President Donald Trump helped commission Saturday the USS Gerald R. Ford, a technologically-advanced nearly $13-billion warship that he said sends a "100,000 ton message to the world" and will cause enemies of the U.S. to "shake with fear."

After three years of delays and billions of dollars of cost overruns, Trump officially turned over the first of the next generation nuclear-powered aircraft carriers to the U.S. Navy at Naval Station Norfolk in the southeastern state of Virginia.

"Wherever this vessel cuts through the horizon, our allies will rest easy and our enemies will shake with fear because everyone will know that America is coming and America is coming strong," he said.

The president said the warship serves as a "deterrent that keeps us from having to fight" but added, if conflict does arise, "it will always end the same way. We will win, win, win."

FILE - The USS Gerald R. Ford embarks on the first of its sea trials to test various state-of-the-art systems on its own power for the first time, from Newport News, Virginia, in an undated photo provided by the U.S. Navy.
FILE - The USS Gerald R. Ford embarks on the first of its sea trials to test various state-of-the-art systems on its own power for the first time, from Newport News, Virginia, in an undated photo provided by the U.S. Navy.

After criticizing the previous administration for "a shortfall in military readiness," Trump called on Congress to "do its job" and provide "stable and predictable funding levels" for the military.

The new carrier will be the flagship of the new class of "super carriers," the first new class in 40 years and the most expensive warships ever built.

Construction of the USS Gerald R. Ford began in 2009 and was scheduled to be completed in 2015 at a cost of $10.5 billion. The Navy said the cost overruns and construction delays were due to the carrier's cutting-edge technology.

The ship will have a lifespan of 50 years and its nuclear power plant will allow it to operate for 20 years without the need to refuel.

The USS Ford is named after the country's 38th president, a lieutenant commander in the Navy during World War II. The warship was christened by his daughter, Susan Ford Bales, in 2013.

The Ford-class of carriers will replace the current Nimitz supercarriers, a class of 10 nuclear-powered warships named after World War II Navy Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.

The Navy said it would cost $43 billion to construct the first three ships in the Ford-class of carriers, including the USS John F. Kennedy, named after the country's 35th president, and the USS Enterprise.

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