- REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
US President Donald Trump will head to Newport News Shipbuilding on Thursday to talk about the most expensive ship ever built, the US’s new USS Gerald R. Ford, a spokesperson for the shipyard told The Virginian-Pilot.
The news comes after Trump announced he planned to boost defense spending by a “historic” $54 billion, or about 9% in an effort to rebuild the military, which he will likely push in the speech. Trump’s proposal was met with widespread criticism, as it entailed slashing funding to the State Department.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said the proposal would be “dead in the water” upon hitting the Senate floor due to its cuts, but Sen. John McCain took issue with the proposal, essentially saying it didn’t provide enough funding for the military.
Trump campaigned on a building the Navy’s 272-ship fleet up to 350, and the latest budget plan seems to support that initiative. Trump has also mentioned cutting wasteful spending and increasing efficiency within the Pentagon, something McCain has forcefully advocated throughout his career.
- US Navy
The Ford, the most complicated warship ever created, has a price tag of almost $13 billion and, like the F-35 that Trump often criticizes, has hit several cost and schedule overruns.
Also like the F-35, the Ford promises to deliver next-generation capabilities, like a nuclear reactor that’s three times as powerful as older models to accommodate future weapons like lasers and railguns.
But despite a rocky development, the first-in-class Ford seems ready to hit the high seas for builder’s trials next month. The Navy hopes to commission the Ford sometime later this year, USNI News reports.