On October 11, 2013, Huntington Ingalls’/Newport News Shipbuilding started flooding the dry dock. Aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) has been under construction since November of 2009. This is the first time the aircraft carrier has touched sea water. The ship's sponsor Susan Ford Bales initiated the flow of more than 100 million gallons of water into the dry dock.
Dry dock floating takes place in phases, during these phases tests are conducted. The dock is first flooded about 4 feet high to its keel blocks (wooden capped concrete pads that the ship has been supported on during construction). Once the dock is fully flooded and afloat testing is complete, water will be partially pumped out and the ship will be returned to her keel blocks. The Gerald Ford's christening is scheduled to take place on November 9. The ship will float again (about a week later) it will be moved to a pier for outfitting.
The Gerald Ford is scheduled for delivery to the United States Navy in 2016. This all represents a tremendous amount of work by the talented shipbuilders at Huntington Ingalls. “Thanks for holding my hand,” Bales said, she is Gerald Ford's daughter, she was addressing a group of shipbuilders as she pushed the buttons to flood the dry dock. “It has been really specail, and walking down the side of the ship today, I wished my dad was here. He would have been so proud of all of you, and I'm proud of all of you.”
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