On Thursday, the US aircraft carrier the USS Gerald R. Ford pulled into Athens for its third port call of the summer deployment.
The USS Gerald Ford, the lead ship of its class in the United States Navy, bears the name of the 38th President of the United States, Gerald Ford. President Ford’s World War II naval service involved combat duty aboard the light aircraft carrier Monterey in the Pacific Theater.
The US aircraft carrier was first spotted entering the Mediterranean earlier in June. Washington has maintained an extended carrier presence in the region since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
US aircraft carrier stops at Athens
The USS Gerald R. Ford, designated CVN-78, announced on Instagram that it had pulled into the waters just off the Greek capital as part of its summer deployment. The US Navy vessel anchored at Phaleron Bay in Piraeus.
The aircraft carrier’s entry into Mediterranean waters was heralded by its passage through the Straits of Gibraltar earlier in June.
As part of Washington’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the USS Gerald Ford has become the third carrier to enter the Mediterranean, alongside the USS George H.W. Bush and USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75).
In May, the USS Gerald Ford embarked on its inaugural worldwide deployment as part of the strike group. Originally intending to continue its presence in the Mediterranean, as previously reported by USNI News, the USS Gerald Ford is playing a crucial role in the ongoing operations.
“Our presence at sea throughout the deployment will provide reassurance to our allies and partners that sea lanes will remain open, and our joint operations will demonstrate our commitment to interoperability and maritime stability,” said Rear Admiral Greg Huffman, commander of Carrier Strike Group 12 upon previously announcing the deployment.
With a displacement of approximately 100,000 long tons (100,000 tonnes) at full load, the carrier measures between 1,092 feet (333 meters) and 1,106 feet (337 meters) in length. The vessel has a waterline beam of 134 feet (41 meters) and a flight deck width of 256 feet (78 meters). Standing tall at 250 feet (76 meters), it features 25 decks.
Powered by two Bechtel A1B PWR nuclear reactors with HEU 93.5%, the USS Gerald Ford operates on four shafts and can achieve speeds in excess of 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph). It has an impressive range of approximately 25 years before requiring mid-life refueling.
Accommodating a complement of 4,539 personnel, including the air wing, the carrier houses various advanced sensors and processing systems. These include the AN/SPY-3 Multi-Function Radar (MFR) X band active electronically scanned array and the AN/SPY-4 Volume Search Radar (VSR) S-band active electronically scanned array.
For armament, the USS Gerald Ford is equipped with surface-to-air missiles, featuring 2 RIM-162 ESSM launchers and 2 RIM-116 RAM launchers. Additionally, it boasts defense capabilities with 3 Phalanx CIWS systems, 4 Mk 38 25 mm Machine Gun Systems, and 4 M2 .50 Cal. (12.7 mm) machine guns.
The aircraft carrier can carry an impressive complement of 75 or more aircraft, and its aviation facilities encompass a flight deck measuring 1,092 feet by 256 feet (333 meters by 78 meters). Overall, the USS Gerald Ford stands as a formidable and versatile force in naval operations.