FFS assists the world's largest aircraft carrier

28 May 2023

FFS CEO John W. Nilsen is delighted that the company gets to contribute a tugboat and two barges, when the world's largest aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford visits Oslo.


FFS Atlas and FFS barges contribute during the Oslo visit to USS Gerald R. Ford this week.

Text: Sveinung W. Jensen, Tellus Kommunikasjon

- We are of course humble and proud to once again contribute to these special assignments, says Nilsen.

Because it is not the first time that FFS has had the opportunity to assist the NATO fleet. When HMS "Queen Elizabeth" - the flagship of the British Navy - visited the Norwegian capital last November, provided the company with Ponton 6 as a distance barge at Søndre Akershuskai.

FFS ALSO HAS assisted German submarines with similar services on several occasions in Norwegian ports.

This time, FFS is mobilizing one towboat, two barges and several large Yokohama fenders.

FFS Ponton 10 is used as a distance barge between the aircraft carrier and the supply boats that transport fresh water and septic.

FFS Ponton 6 is moored completely aft of the warship, and functions as a ferry terminal. Up to three passenger boats, which shuttle between the ship and the quay in the centre, can dock here.

FFS Atlas is engaged as an escort boat when sailing in and out. In addition, the towboat contributes by handling barges that ensure supplies and waste management during the stay.

- WE ARE ENOUGH ONE of very few Norwegian suppliers who can contribute in so many areas and with so much special equipment. This is equipment that is normally used in connection with ship storage or which is part of our emergency equipment in connection with salvage, says Nilsen.

Accommodating a ship with a crew of over 4,500 on board working on 25 decks requires a lot of organization and a solid dose of infrastructure. The ship weighs over 100,000 tonnes, equivalent to the weight of 66,000 medium-sized passenger cars.

WITH A HEIGHT at 78 metres, it is 12 meters higher than Oslo City Hall. It is 337 meters long and 78 meters wide. The four bronze propellers weigh 30 tonnes each and are 6.4 meters in diameter.

And to put the ship in purely military perspective; it should be able to bring between 75 and 90 aircraft or helicopters. This means that Norway's entire combat aircraft fleet, consisting of 52 F-35s, would have a place on board.

USS Gerald R. Ford can store fighter aircraft in hangars below deck. The ship was started in 2009, but was only put into operational use in 2022 after years of construction and testing.

IT IS ESTIMATED to have cost close to 13 billion dollars. Today, this corresponds to around NOK 140 billion. In comparison, the Norwegian annual defense budget is around NOK 76 billion.

The plan is for the USS Gerald R. Ford to stay in Oslo until Monday. According to NRK, the ship will continue to Vesterålen where it will participate in the Arctic Challenge Exercise.


Barge / 1982


Barges / 2000


Tugboat / 1986