USS “GERALD R. FORD” (Dagbladet): On the flight deck and hangar deck of the world’s largest warship, the American aircraft carrier USS “Gerald R. Ford”, there is room for around 90 combat aircraft and helicopters.
That is almost twice as many fighters as the 52 F-35 aircraft Norway has ordered, and will form the backbone of the Norwegian defense for decades to come.
Dagbladet was allowed inside the warship on Thursday.
SV top: – Not welcome
78 meters wide
On the flight deck on Thursday, there were dozens of F/A-18s in a row on the 78 meter wide flight deck.
On the hangar deck directly below the flight deck, there were additional aircraft.
So did hundreds of members of the roughly 4,500-strong crew on board the ship.
These days, many of them get a land permit in Oslo, and in the queue to get on board a ferry to the capital, there was an increase in crowding.
– You get used to it
One of those who has already received land license is Kenny Liu (25). He has served five years in the US Navy. For almost four of the five years, he has served on board the USS “Gerald R. Ford”.
– Right now we are standing on the bridge. From here, our officers direct the ship and the flight to and from the aircraft, and we look straight out onto the flight deck and the many F/A-18s that are on the ship.
25-year-old Liu works in the sanitation on board the ship, but alternates between being in the infirmary and on the flight deck to be able to provide medical assistance in the event of an accident.
– Sometimes it can be very noisy, especially depending on where your cabin is, but eventually you get used to it. It is often flown from the ship. That is what the assignment is.
– Love the city
On Wednesday, 25-year-old Liu was one of several thousand Americans who disembarked in Oslo, but for Liu’s part, the evening went smoothly.
– I went to the National Museum, and got to see Edvard Munch’s paintings. They can take your breath away, says Liu.
About the visit to Norway and Oslo, the 25-year-old says:
– It is fantastic. I love the city, it is very beautiful.
Will strengthen the defense
The contrast to the massive American warship and to the Norwegian frigate KNM “Roald Amundsen” which is docked at Akershuskaia in Oslo, is striking.
After being on board the USS “Gerald R. Ford”, Dagbladet met the head of the Norwegian Navy, Rune Andersen, on board the Norwegian frigate.
– The contrasts with the aircraft carrier we have just seen are very great. Is it problematic that our defense capability is not greater than it is?
– There are good reasons to strengthen Norway’s defense capabilities. I think there will be quite a few of us who think so, says Andersen to Dagbladet.
– But I would also like to say that we have capacities today for which we get a lot in return, and which are perceived as relevant, good contributions to the alliance, he adds.