On June 22, 2017, Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced that the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) grew about 70 feet/21.3 m in length with the addition of the lower stern. The lower stern was lifted into place at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division, where the second Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier is now 50 percent structurally complete.
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.
«This is a significant milestone in the ship’s construction schedule», said Mike Shawcross, Newport News’ vice president, USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) and USS Enterprise (CVN-80) aircraft carrier construction. «We are halfway through lifting the units onto the ship, and many of the units are larger and nearly all are more complete than the CVN-78 lifts were. This is one of many lessons learned from the construction of the lead ship that are helping to reduce construction costs and improve efficiencies on Kennedy».
After several days of preparations, the 932-metric ton lower stern lift took about an hour to complete, thanks to a team of about 25 shipbuilders – from riggers and the crane operator to shipwrights and ship fitters. The lower stern consists of 30 individual units and includes the ship’s rudders, steering gear rooms and electrical power distribution room. The carrier is on track to be completed with 445 lifts, which is 51 fewer than Ford and 149 fewer than USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), the last Nimitz-class carrier.
|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)|
* – Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. serves the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program
|USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)||11-13-2009||11-09-2013|
|USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)||08-22-2015|
|USS Enterprise (CVN-80)|
John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) Lower Stern Lift