Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) on August 24 cut a 35-ton steel plate at its Newport News Shipbuilding division to kick off advance construction of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-80). The steel plate will become part of the foundation of Enterprise, the ninth U.S. Navy ship to bear the legendary name.
Ship’s sponsors and U.S. Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky gave the order to cut the steel during a ceremony that marks the first construction milestone in the life of the ship. Other ceremony participants included Representative Bobby Scott, Democrat-Virginia; Rear Admiral Brian K. Antonio, program executive officer, aircraft carriers; shipbuilders and their families; and representatives of the recently decommissioned Enterprise (CVN-65).
«Much like U.S. athletes who represent the United States around the world displaying patriotism, pride and strength, so do the ships of our nation», Biles said. «My father served in the U.S. Air Force for over 21 years and taught me discipline, determination and dedication to achieve my goals, and these same values are on display as these advanced ships are built here».
Newport News is performing the work under an advance fabrication contract the shipyard was awarded earlier this year. Award of the USS Enterprise CVN-80 detail design and construction contract is anticipated in 2018. Construction is currently underway on the second ship of the class, USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), with more than 50 percent of the structural units already erected.
«We really, truly would not be able to compete at the level that we do without the freedom that we have, and that’s something we promise we will never take for granted», Ledecky said. «We’re excited to cut this steel today and start this process».
Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin said CVN-80’s construction will incorporate greater innovation and efficiency. «With this ship, we will ‘boldly go where no one has gone before,’» she said. «She will be built using digital technology rather than traditional paper work packages and drawings. We will build more of this ship indoors, in new facilities so that our people have more opportunities to work under cover and out of the weather. CVN-80 will revolutionize how we build ships, just as her predecessor, CVN-65 – the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier – revolutionized our industry».
USS Enterprise (CVN-80) will be the third Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier. Designed to replace Nimitz-class carriers, the Ford-class features a new nuclear power plant, a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapults, improved weapons movement, an enhanced flight deck capable of increased aircraft sortie rates, and growth margin for future technologies. Each Ford-class ship will operate with a smaller crew than a Nimitz-class carrier and will provide $4 billion in total ownership cost savings for the U.S. Navy. Aircraft carriers provide sovereign, mobile U.S. territory and are a visible symbol of U.S. power. They are the centerpiece of our nation’s security strategy and support and protect the global economy through the protection of sea lanes around the world.
|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)|
|USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)||11-13-2009||11-09-2013||07-22-2017||Norfolk, Virginia|
|USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)||08-22-2015|
|USS Enterprise (CVN-80)|