Trump touts plans to bolster military

Indo Asian News Service

Washington, March 3 (IANS) President Donald Trump touted his plans to bolster the US military in front of shipbuilders and sailors aboard an aircraft carrier in Virginia, the media reported.

"This is American craftsmanship at its biggest, at its best, at its finest," Trump told the gathered service members on Thursday on the deck of the USS Gerald R. Ford in Newport News, Virginia -- a brand new carrier that is expected to be commissioned this year.

"Hopefully it's power we don't have to use. But if we do, they're in big, big trouble."

"We will give our military the tools you need to prevent war and, if required, to fight war and only do one thing: win," ABC News reported citing the President as saying.

Trump has proposed an increase in the Defence Department's budget by $54 billion -- up 10 per cent from last year.

The $12.9 billion Gerald Ford is the Navy's most expensive warship, belonging to the next generation of aircraft carriers, which are replacing the Nimitz-class carriers first commissioned in 1975.

"The Gerald R. Ford class will be the premier forward asset for crisis response and early decisive striking power in a major combat operation," the navy said in a statement.

"Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers and carrier strike groups will provide the core capabilities of forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, maritime security and humanitarian assistance. The class brings improved war-fighting capability, quality of life improvements for our sailors and reduced total ownership costs."

A Navy official told ABC News that the Ford will have more electrical power generation, replacing the steam catapult system currently in use.

Approximately 4,500 sailors will make up its crew.

The ship is expected to go through sea trials in the coming weeks, the official added.

--IANS

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