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USS Gerald R. Ford returns to Naval Station Norfolk after sea trials

After taking to the sea for more trials, the USS Gerald R. Ford has returned to Naval Station Norfolk. It's spent more than a year undergoing upgrades and repairs.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The USS Gerald R. Ford, the Navy's newest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, returned to Naval Station Norfolk on Wednesday morning.

The ship left Huntington Ingalls-Newport News Shipbuilding for acceptance trials on Friday. It spent some time at the shipyard for post-shakedown availability and a 15-month pier-side maintenance period, where it underwent some upgrades and repairs.

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The Ford was commissioned in July 2017 and is a leading-class aircraft carrier. However, it's spent two years at port as crews worked out some glitches with its cutting-edge technology system -- something that's drawn backlash from some lawmakers after billions of dollars were spent just to build it.

Its launch system has even received criticism from President Trump, who questioned the new electromagnetic aircraft system built into the Ford versus older steam catapults on previous classes of aircraft carriers.

However, Navy officials have cited that issues like these are expected when building ships of new classes.

The USS Gerald R. Ford is the most expensive warship ever built, at an estimated $12.9 billion. It was delivered to the Navy nearly two years late and 23 percent over budget.

RELATED: Gerald R. Ford: A Legacy of Service

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