Construction of
the carrier

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced on September 12 that its Newport News Shipbuilding division placed a 900-ton superlift into dry dock, continuing construction of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). As Kennedy begins to take shape in the dry dock, the ship’s cost and construction schedule continue on track with significant improvement over its predecessor, the first-of-class Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78).

Newport News Shipbuilding placed a 900-ton superlift into dry dock, continuing construction of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). Nearly 90 lifts have been placed in the dock and joined together since the ship’s keel was laid in August 2015 (Photo by John Whalen)
Newport News Shipbuilding placed a 900-ton superlift into dry dock, continuing construction of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). Nearly 90 lifts have been placed in the dock and joined together since the ship’s keel was laid in August 2015 (Photo by John Whalen)

«We continue to focus on reducing cost, and we are pleased with our progress», said Mike Shawcross, Newport News’ vice president, CVN-79 carrier construction. «The incorporation of lessons learned from CVN-78 on to CVN-79 – and major build strategy changes to construct the ship a different way – are having a significant impact on our construction efficiencies, just as we anticipated they would».

Like Ford, Kennedy is being built using modular construction, a process where smaller sections of the ship are welded together to form larger structural units (called «superlifts»). Equipment is then installed, and the large superlifts are lifted into the dry dock using the company’s 1,050-metric ton gantry crane.

Kennedy is on track to be completed with 445 lifts, which is 51 fewer than Ford and 149 less than USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), the last Nimitz-class carrier. «Fewer lifts to the dock means we’re building larger superlifts with more outfitting installed prior to erecting the sections in dock», said Mike Butler, Newport News’ Kennedy construction program director. «This translates to man-hour savings because the work is being accomplished off the ship in a more efficient work environment».

Close to 90 lifts have been placed in the dock and joined together since the ship’s keel was laid in August 2015. Kennedy is scheduled to be launched in 2020 and deliver to the Navy in 2022, when it will replace USS Nimitz (CVN-68).

Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of engineering, manufacturing and management services to the nuclear energy, oil and gas markets. For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. Headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, HII employs nearly 35,000 people operating both domestically and internationally.

 

General Characteristics

Builder Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia
Propulsion 2 A1B nuclear reactors, 4 shafts
Length 1,092 feet/333 m
Beam 134 feet/41 m
Flight Deck Width 256 feet/78 m
Flight Deck Square 217,796 feet2/20,234 m2
Displacement approximately 100,000 long tons full load
Speed 30+ knots/34.5+ mph/55.5+ km/h
Crew 4,539 (ship, air wing and staff)
Armament ESSM (Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile), RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile), Mk-15 Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapon System)
Aircraft 75+

 

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