The United States Navy saw some big leaps forward over the last year. A total of eight ships were commissioned in 2017, including the first of a new class of nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, an expeditionary support base, and two Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers. That's an increase from the five commissioned in 2016.
These are the new ships:
8. USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10)
This Independence-class littoral combat ship was commissioned on June 10, 2017. Armed with a 57mm gun, the SeaRAM point-defense system, and some .50-caliber machine guns, this vessel primarily brings speed to the table, but still packs a punch.
The littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) transits San Diego Bay to arrive at the ship's homeport of Naval Base San Diego. Gabrielle Giffords is the newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship and one of seven littoral combat ships homeported in San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Nicholas Burgains)
7. USS John Finn (DDG 113)
Named after a sailor who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the first of the restarted Arleigh Burke-class destroyers was commissioned on July 15, 2017. The U.S. Navy decided to begin production on this class of vessel after the decision was made to stop the Zumwalt class at three hulls.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn (DDG 113) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in preparation for its commissioning ceremony. DDG 113 is named in honor of Lt. John William Finn, who as a chief aviation ordnanceman was the first member of our armed services to earn the Medal of Honor during World War II for heroism during the attack on Pearl Harbor. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Randi Brown)
6. USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)
This nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the first in her class, entered service on July 22, 2017. This ship was supposed to replace USS Enterprise (CVN 65) in 2015, but was delayed. She is slated to make her first deployment in 2020.
Sailors man the rails of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) during its commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. Ford is the lead ship of the Ford-class aircraft carriers, and the first new U.S. aircraft carrier designed in 40 years. (Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew J. Sneeringer)
5. USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115)
This destroyer, named for a posthumously awarded Navy Cross recipient from Operation Iraqi Freedom, entered the Navy on July 29, 2017. Funnily enough, the ship with the previous hull number, the future USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), won't be commissioned until March of 2018.
USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) successfully completed acceptance trials after spending two days underway off the coast of Maine. (U.S. Navy photo)
4. USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3)
The USS Lewis B. Puller was commissioned on Aug. 17, 2017 at Khalifa bin Salman Port in Al Hidd, Bahrain, making it the first U.S. ship to be commissioned in foreign territory. The Lewis B. Puller was slated to be operated by Military Sealift Command, but lawyers ended up requiring the ship be commissioned. This is, essentially, a floating base for SEALs and mine-countermeasures units.
USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3). (U.S. Navy photo)
3. USS Washington (SSN 787)
This Virginia-class submarine was commissioned on Oct. 7, 2017 and she has a big legacy to live up to. The last USS Washington (BB 56), a North Carolina-class battleship, is famous for a point-blank slug-fest with HIJMS Kirishima. Only time will tell if SSN 787 will earn the same kind of prestige.
The Virginia-class attack submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Washington (SSN 787) is moored pier side in preparation for commissioning ceremony, Oct. 7. Washington is the U.S. Navy's 14th Virginia-class attack submarine and the third commissioned Navy ship named for the State of Washington. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua M. Tolbert)
2. USS Portland (LPD 27)
This ship, the 11th San Antonio-class amphibious ship, was delivered to the Navy on Dec. 14, 2017. So technically, its actual commission will be in 2018. While the class was slated to stop, it may continue with the future USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28), which is currently under construction.
The amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD 27) has conducts its first set of sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico. (U.S. Navy photo by Lance Davis)
1. USS Little Rock (LCS 9)
Commissioned on Dec. 16, 2017, this Freedom-class littoral combat ship will be the fifth vessel of its class to serve in the Navy. Plans call for another 12 Freedom-class vessels to join the Navy.
USS Little Rock (LCS 9) enters Buffalo prior to being commissioned. (Wikimedia Commons)
According to the Navy League, the Navy has ten ships slated for commissioning through the end of next year. Three ships are planned for 2019 so far. New carriers, the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) and the future USS Enterprise (CVN 80), will enter service in 2020 and 2027, respectively.