(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Defense said the Navy will commission its first "Ford-class" aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, on Saturday at its base in Norfolk, Virginia - three years behind schedule and billions over budget.

U.S. President Donald Trump will deliver the principal address at Naval Station Norfolk, the DoD said in a statement. (http://bit.ly/2tuInzU)

Trump said in March that the newest generation of Ford-class carriers - the most expensive warships ever built - will remain the centerpiece of projecting American power abroad.

He has vowed to expand the number of carriers the United States fields from 10 to 12.


The new carrier is the lead ship of the Ford-class of "super -carriers", the first new class in more than 40 years, and will replace the current Nimitz-class carriers.

The Navy also said it would spend $43 billion in total to build the first three ships in the class, including the USS John F. Kennedy and the USS Enterprise.

The warships are being built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.

(Reporting by Radhika Rukmangadhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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