Home Americas US Navy’s largest aircraft carrier arrives in Split, Croatia

US Navy’s largest aircraft carrier arrives in Split, Croatia

Photo: US Navy

Croatia welcomed the arrival of the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), the latest aircraft carrier of the US Navy’s fleet, as part of a planned port visit on June 26.

During their deployment to the US Naval Forces Europe area of operations, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) and the embarked staff from Carrier Strike Group 12 (GRFCSG) made a second stop in Croatia.

The first-of-class aircraft carrier departed from Norfolk, Virginia on May 2 and has been focused on joint training, exercises, and operations to support maritime stability, security, and defense of US, Allied, and Partner interests.

GRFCSG is currently deployed in the US Naval Forces Europe-Africa/US Sixth Fleet area of operations, with over 6,000 sailors deployed across various platforms.

This visit is part of Ford’s second deployment, following its initial operational deployment in the autumn of 2022, which occurred five years after the ship entered service.

“US Navy units frequently visit Croatia for maintenance, mutual security training opportunities, and liberty, and the Sailors of the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group are excited to continue the tradition,” said Rear Adm. Erik J. Eslich, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 12.

“It is a welcome opportunity for our crews to enjoy a beautiful country and experience the Croatian culture, but also for us to engage with a crucial ally and build upon the strong US-Croatia relationship that is founded on our shared values,” he added.

Initially planned for delivery in 2015, the USS Gerald R. Ford was ultimately delivered to the Navy on May 31, 2017, and officially commissioned by President Donald Trump on July 22, 2017.

It incorporates 23 new technologies, including the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS), advanced arresting gear (AAG), and 11 Advanced Weapons Elevators (AWE), which have contributed to the delay in the first deployment date.

The USS Gerald R. Ford currently holds the distinction of being the world’s largest aircraft carrier and the largest warship ever built.