Tag Archives: Gerald R. Ford class

First Cut of Steel

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) hosted a ceremonial event on August 25, 2021 at its Newport News Shipbuilding division that marked the first construction milestone in the life of the aircraft carrier USS Doris Miller (CVN-81).

USS Doris Miller (CVN-81)
Shipbuilder Gerald Bish operates plasma-cutting machine during the ceremonial first cut of steel for the aircraft carrier USS Doris Miller (CVN-81)

During a small ceremony held inside of a manufacturing facility, Thomas Bledsoe, the great nephew of the ship’s namesake, gave the order to «cut that steel» to shipbuilder Gerald Bish, who operated a large plasma-cutting machine that sliced into a steel plate. Shipbuilders, U.S. Navy leadership, elected officials and Doris Miller’s relatives signed their names on the plate.

«Today we recognize the start of construction of the fourth ship of the Gerald R. Ford class», said Jennifer Boykin, president of Newport News Shipbuilding. «From this day forward, our shipbuilders will put their hearts into every pipe they fit, every unit they lift and every inch of steel they weld. Shipbuilders, I thank you for the hard work, innovation and dedication you will put into transforming this first piece of steel into an awe-inspiring aircraft carrier».

Ceremony participants included U.S. Representative Bobby Scott, Democratic-Virginia, who offered remarks; Rear Admiral James Downey, program executive officer for aircraft carriers; Master Chief Petty Officer of the U.S. Navy Russell Smith; shipbuilders and six members of Doris Miller’s family.

«It is so fitting and timely during a period of significant discussion and change we come together to begin construction of one of our Navy’s next great aircraft carriers, in the name of one of the finest heroes of the greatest generation», Downey said. «We will construct a sound and mighty warship worthy of his legacy».

Members of Virginia’s Congressional delegation, including Representatives Rob Wittman, Republican-Virginia and Elaine Luria, Democratic-Virginia also attended the event. Other guests included, and Captain Andrew P. Johnson, commanding officer of Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair, Newport News.

USS Doris Miller (CVN-81) is the second ship named in honor of Miller, and the first aircraft carrier ever named for an African American. This also is the first aircraft carrier named in honor of a sailor for actions while serving in the enlisted ranks.

Miller is credited with heroic actions while serving aboard the Newport News-built USS West Virginia (BB-48) during the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Miller’s bravery earned him the Navy Cross.

USS Doris Miller (CVN-81) also is the second ship of the two-carrier contract award HII received in January 2019 for the detail design and construction of the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers; USS Enterprise (CVN-80) being the first ship of the contract.

Newport News currently is performing early manufacturing of the USS Doris Miller (CVN-81), which includes structural fabrication and shop work. The ship also will be the second aircraft carrier built completely using digital drawings and procedures rather than traditional paper work packages and products.

Doris Miller’s keel is scheduled to be laid in 2026 and delivered to the Navy in 2032.

«The Doris Miller story provides so many lessons to us as Americans», said Thomas Bledsoe, great-nephew of the ship’s namesake. «The Miller family cannot express in words what this means to us, to Americans and to anyone inspired by Doris Miller’s story».

The Ford class features new software-controlled electromagnetic catapults and weapons elevators, a redesigned flight deck and island, and more than twice the electrical capacity of the preceding Nimitz-class carriers. These aircraft carriers are designed to be the centerpiece of the nation’s security strategy and support and protect the global economy through the protection of sea lanes around the world.

 

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+

* – Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. serves the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
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 10-29-2019
USS Enterprise (CVN-80)
USS Doris Miller (CVN-81)
CVN-82

 

Significant progress

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced today that it is making significant progress in the compartment and systems construction of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79).

USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)
Newport News Shipbuilding division is progressing through construction of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) turning over more than 500 of the total 2,615 compartments, including the machine room which is one of the larger spaces. The completed spaces allow sailors to begin training on the ship while final outfitting and testing continues

Newport News Shipbuilding division recently eclipsed the 20% mark on compartment completion, turning over to the ship’s crew more than 500 of the total 2,615 spaces. It also has installed more than 8 million feet/2,438,400 m of cable – or more than 1,500 miles/2,414 km – of the approximately 10.5 million feet/3,200,400 m of cable on Kennedy.

The most recently completed spaces include berthing, machinery and electrical. This allows sailors assigned to the pre-commissioning unit to continue training on the ship while final outfitting and testing progresses.

«We are pleased with the progress being made on Kennedy», said Lucas Hicks, vice president of the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) and USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) aircraft carrier programs. «We are in the very early stages of systems testing, and look forward to successfully executing our work on equipment, systems and compartments that brings us closer to delivering the ship to the fleet».

Kennedy is more than 80% complete overall, and is scheduled to be delivered to the U.S. Navy in 2024.

 

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+

* – Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. serves the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
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 10-29-2019
USS Enterprise (CVN-80)
USS Doris Miller (CVN-81)
CVN-82

 

Full Ship Shock Trials

On Friday, June 18, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) successfully completed the first scheduled explosive event as part of Full Ship Shock Trials (FSST).

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) Completes First Full Ship Shock Trial Event

The first-in-class aircraft carrier was designed using advanced computer modeling methods, testing, and analysis to ensure the ship is hardened to withstand battle conditions, and these shock trials provide data used in validating the shock hardness of the ship.

The U.S. Navy has conducted FSSTs over several decades, most recently for the Littoral Combat Ships USS Jackson (LCS-6) and USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) in 2016; as well as for the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19) in 2008, the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD-1) in 1990, and the guided missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) in 1987. The last aircraft carrier to execute FSST was USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) in 1987.

The Navy is conducting the shock trial testing in accordance with Office of the Chief of Naval Operations Instruction 9072.2, and as mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016.

Ford’s shock trials are being conducted off the East Coast of the United States, within a narrow schedule that complies with environmental mitigation requirements, respecting known migration patterns of marine life in the test area. The Navy also has employed extensive protocols throughout FSST to ensure the safety of military and civilian personnel participating in the testing evolution.

Ford is the newest and most advanced aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy. The ship closed out a successful 18-month Post Delivery Test & Trials period in April, during which the crew completed all required testing, accomplished planned improvements and maintenance ahead of schedule, and learned valuable lessons to increase the reliability of Ford-Class systems. At the same time, the ship also served as the sole East Coast platform for conducting carrier qualifications.

Upon completion of FSST later this summer, Ford will enter a Planned Incremental Availability for six months of modernization, maintenance, and repairs prior to its operational employment.


Full Ship Shock Trials Aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)

 

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+

* – Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. serves the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
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 10-29-2019
USS Enterprise (CVN-80)
USS Doris Miller (CVN-81)
CVN-82

 

Ford’s Combat Systems

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) recently completed testing of vital combat systems while underway in the Atlantic Ocean.

Sailors assigned to USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN-78) combat systems department stand watch in the ship’s Combat Direction Center (CDC) during Sea Based Developmental Testing (SBDT). SBDT is conducted to stress the ship’s combat system capabilities to include the integration of new technologies Dual Band Radar with Rolling Airframe Missile and Sea Sparrow missiles. During SBDT operation 6B, Ford ran a risk reduction scenario for an AQM-37 high diving missile, an exercise that will be required during Combat System Ship Qualification Trial in order for the ship’s combat systems to be considered fully operation capable (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ruben Reed) (This photo has altered for security purposes by blurring screens)

These tests, conducted during Ford’s Post-Delivery Test and Trials (PDT&T) phase, are designed to stress the ship’s combat system capabilities and demonstrate the successful integration of new technologies, which the crew employs to defend the aircraft carrier.

Commander Ron McCallister, Ford’s combat systems officer, noted the testing was a collaborative effort between Naval Sea Systems Command along with the greater technical community and the ship’s force.

«The tests exercise the combat systems suite as a complete unit and ensure maximum availability to meet combat and self-defense mission requirements», said McCallister. «In the end, the combat systems suite achieves maximum readiness and the Sailors develop more operational and technical competence».

Ford’s first certification of integrated combat systems tested the Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon (ATCRB) and Identification of Friend or Foe (IFF). The tests, conducted over several days, evaluated the ATCRB’s ability to track air and surface contacts and to identify friendly and enemy aircraft using an advanced identification system. IFF is used not only for positive, secure, friend identification, but also to control aircraft.

«We use an interrogator system to challenge aircraft transponders for identification», said Operations Specialist 2nd class Juannietagrace Okeli, from Moss Point, Mississippi. «The interrogator, cooperative engagement capability, and the Ships Self-Defense Systems (SSDS) work together to provide us the combat identification».

Ford also recently completed Sea-Based Developmental Testing (SBDT) of vital combat systems. This was the first full test of the integrated combat system against tactical adversaries. Testing was conducted with Kfir and Hawker Hunter jet aircraft from the Airborne Tactical Advantage Company. Ship’s crew tracked the aircraft, using Ford’s Dual Band Radar (DBR).

«SBDT is a stepping stone towards Ford’s Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trial (CSSQT), and follow-on operational tests by the Navy», said Commander William Buell, Ford’s combat direction center officer. «Our SBDT operations ran very smoothly, which is a good indicator of future success on CSSQT».

As part of the SBDT, Sailors in Ford’s combat systems department conducted an up-load of simulated munitions for operators in the ship’s Combat Direction Center (CDC) to simulate engaging the aircraft.

«It was encouraging to see the results of our collective labor pay off and prove the warfighting capability of the class», said Fire Controlman 2nd class Sam Lantinga, from Grand Rapids, Michigan. «Without these self-defense systems, Gerald R. Ford wouldn’t be able to deliver lethal effects to our nation’s adversaries».

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is a first-in-class aircraft carrier and the first new aircraft carrier designed in more than 40 years. Ford is underway conducting carrier qualifications in the Atlantic Ocean.

 

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+

* – Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. serves the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
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 10-29-2019
USS Enterprise (CVN-80)
USS Doris Miller (CVN-81)
CVN-82

 

1000th Arrestment

An F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to «Blue Blasters» of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34, landed aboard USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN-78) flight deck marking the 1,000th recovery of a fixed wing aircraft using Ford’s Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) March 19, 2020 at 5:13 p.m.

Lieutenant Scott «Gameday» Gallagher lands an F/A-18F Super Hornet, attached to «Blue Blasters» of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34, for the 1,000th trap on USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN-78) flight deck during flight operations. Ford is currently underway conducting its flight deck and combat air traffic control center certifications (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary Prill)

Minutes later, the crew celebrated a second milestone launching an F/A18 E Super Hornet attached to «Warhawks» of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 97 from Ford’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) catapults for the 1,000th time.

This significant milestone in the ships’ history began on July 28, 2017 with Ford’s first fixed wing recovery and launch using its first-in-class AAG and EMALS technologies.

Captain J.J. «Yank» Cummings, Ford’s commanding officer, explained how the entire Ford crew has worked together over the last few years to reach this achievement.

«I couldn’t be more proud of our crew, their motivation is amazing», said Cummings. «We’ve been working extremely hard to get here today, and to see this 1,000th trap completely validates their efforts and the technology on this warship».

Boasting the Navy’s first major design investment in aircraft carriers since the 1960s, Ford’s AAG and EMALs support greater launch and recovery energy requirements of future air wings, increasing the safety margin over legacy launch and arresting gear found on Nimitz-class carriers.

Lieutenant Scott Gallagher, assigned to VFA 34, has landed on five other carriers, but became a part of Ford’s history with his, and the ship’s 1,000, recovery.

«There are a lot of people who are working night and day to make sure that this ship is ready to go be a warship out in the world», said Gallagher. «To be a part of that; and this deck certification is super cool. Also getting the 1,000th trap helps the ship get one step closer to being the warship that it needs to be».

Captain Joshua Sager, commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, explained why his squadron’s integration with the ship’s personnel is important and how their relationship impacts operations.

«It’s great to share this moment in history with Ford. Integration between the air wing and ship’s company is crucial to the everyday success of carrier operations», said Sager. «Completion of the 1,000th catapult and arrestment shows that the ship and her crew have tested and proven the newest technology the Navy has, and together we are ready to meet the operational requirements of our nation».

With 1,000 launches and recoveries complete, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) will continue its flight deck and combat air traffic control certifications in preparation to deliver to the fleet regular flight operations in support of East Coast carrier qualifications.

Into the James River

Nine days after christening the U.S. Navy’s newest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division launched USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) into the James River for the first time, on Monday, December 17, 2019.

Newport News Shipbuilding division successfully launched the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) into the James River on Monday, December 17, 2019, four weeks ahead of the original schedule (Photo by Ashley Cowan/HII)

With the aid of six tugboats, the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) was guided down the river about a mile from Newport News Shipbuilding’s Dry Dock 12, where it has been under construction, to the shipyard’s Pier 3. There, the ship will undergo additional outfitting and begin its testing program three months ahead of its original schedule.

«This move is significant in that it represents a shift in focus from erecting the ship in dock to final completion and outfitting at the pier», said Mike Butler, program director for the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). «It is also a testament to the amazing teamwork I see every day between Newport News Shipbuilding and the Navy as we work together to build Kennedy with valuable first-of-class lessons from the Ford».

During this phase of construction, which is expected to take about two and a half years, habitability spaces, such as berthing and mess areas, will be completed, and distributive, mechanical and combat systems, such as catapults and radar arrays, will be tested.

The USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is scheduled for delivery to the U.S. Navy in 2022.

Tugboats move the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) from Newport News Shipbuilding’s Dock Dry 12 to Pier 3 on December 16, where the ship will undergo final completion and outfitting (Photo by Matt Hildreth/HII)

 

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+

* – Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. serves the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
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 10-29-2019
USS Enterprise (CVN-80)

NNS Launches USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)

Serve with Courage

The U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), was christened on Saturday, December 7, 2019, during an 11 a.m. EST ceremony at Newport News, Virginia.

New Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) christened December 7

USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is the second aircraft carrier of the Gerald R. Ford class, slated to replace USS Nimitz (CVN-68), when that ship is decommissioned.

Former NASA Administrator Major General Charles F. Bolden, USMC (Retired), delivered the ceremony’s keynote address. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, President Kennedy’s daughter, served as the ship’s sponsor and broke a bottle of American sparkling wine against a plate welded to the hull.

«USS John F. Kennedy will carry the legacy of its namesake and the power of our nation», said Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly. «The advanced technology and warfighting capabilities this aircraft carrier brings to our global challenges will strengthen our allies and partners, extend our reach against potential adversaries, and further the global mission of our integrated naval force».

USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is the second aircraft carrier to honor President John F. Kennedy for a lifetime of service to the nation. The president wore the uniform of our nation as a Navy lieutenant during World War II and served as the 35th President of the United States, from January 1961 to November 1963.

USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), along with its embarked air wing and other strike group assets, will provide the core capabilities of forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, maritime security and humanitarian assistance.

Built by Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division, the Gerald R. Ford class incorporates advances in technology, such as a new propulsion system, electric plant, Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), machinery control, radars and integrated warfare systems.

«This is a very proud and particularly poignant moment for the CVN-79 shipbuilding team», said Rear Adm. James P. Downey, program executive officer for Aircraft Carriers. «We are grateful to the thousands of engineers and planners from Naval Sea Systems Command, to the HII-NNS shipbuilders, and to the sailors and crew of the John F. Kennedy, who are working tirelessly as a team to construct this formidable aircraft carrier».

At 1,092 feet/333 m in length and 100,000 tons, USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) incorporates more than 23 new technologies, comprising dramatic advances in propulsion, power generation, ordnance handling and aircraft launch systems. These innovations will support a 33% higher sortie generation rate at a significant cost savings, when compared to Nimitz-class carriers. The Gerald R. Ford class also offers a significant reduction – approximately $4 billion per ship – in life cycle operations and support costs compared to the earlier Nimitz class.

The new technology and warfighting capabilities that the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) brings to the fleet will transform naval warfare, supporting a more capable and lethal forward-deployed U.S. naval presence. In an emerging era of great power competition, USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) will serve as the most agile and lethal combat platform in the world, with improved systems that enhance interoperability among other platforms in the carrier strike group, as well as with the naval forces of regional allies and partners.

The ship’s crest for the Ford-class aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) (U.S. Navy graphic/Released)

 

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+

* – Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. serves the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program


USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) christening ceremony

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
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 10-29-2019
USS Enterprise (CVN-80)

 

Floods Dry Dock

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) on October 29, 2019 began flooding the dry dock at its Newport News Shipbuilding division where the keel of aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) was laid in 2015.

JThe flooding of Dry Dock 12, which began on Tuesday at Newport News Shipbuilding, was the first time the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) touched water. The ship will be christened in December (Photo by Ashley Cowan/HII)

The controlled process of slowly filling the dry dock with more than 100 million gallons/379 million liters of water takes place over several days, and marks the first time the ship has been in water.

«The flooding of the dry dock is truly a historic event in the construction of the ship and a special moment for the men and women who have worked to get the ship to the point», said Mike Butler, program director for Kennedy. «We have made remarkable progress with Kennedy’s construction, and are pleased to get to this phase of construction three months ahead of the original schedule and fewer man hours. We look forward to the upcoming christening and launch as we prepare to start our testing program».

The flooding of the dry dock takes place in phases during which various tests are conducted. The dock initially was flooded about 10 feet high to its keel blocks, wood-capped concrete pads on which the ship has been supported during construction. Once the dock is fully flooded and initial testing is complete, the ship will be floated to the west end of the dry dock. Next month, additional tests will take place prior to Kennedy’s christening on December 7.

More than 3,200 shipbuilders and 2,000 suppliers from across the country are supporting the construction of Kennedy. Following the christening, the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) will undock into the James River where outfitting and testing of the ship’s systems will continue until the ship is delivered to the U.S. Navy in 2022.

More than 100 million gallons/379 million liters of water began flowing into Newport News Shipbuilding’s Dry Dock 12, where the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is being constructed (Photo by Matt Hildreth/HII)

 

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+

* – Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. serves the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
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 10-29-2019
USS Enterprise (CVN-80)

 

Newport News Shipbuilding Floods Dry Dock for the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)

Upper Bow Lift

The installation of the final piece of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy’s (CVN-79) flight deck is yet another example of how Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) is using transformative construction methods and the latest industrial technology to improve the way the ship is being built.

Huntington Ingalls Industries Completes Flight Deck on Aircraft Carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) (Photo by Ashley Cowan/HII)

The addition of the upper bow section at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division is one of the last steel structural units, known as a superlift, to be placed on Kennedy. It was built using digital technology, such as visual work instructions to install piping in the upper bow on the final assembly platen instead of on the ship.

«We are very pleased with the progress being made on Kennedy as we inch closer to christening the ship later this year», said Mike Butler, Newport News’ CVN-79 program director. «The upper bow is the last superlift that completes the ship’s primary hull. This milestone is testament to the significant build strategy changes we have made – and to the men and women of Newport News Shipbuilding who do what no one else in the world can do».

Weighing 780 tons, the superlift took 18 months to build.

Kennedy is being built with an improved build strategy that includes the increased use of digital tools to build superlifts that are much larger and more complete at ship erect than on prior carriers. Leveraging lessons learned and key build strategy changes, Kennedy is on track to be built with considerably fewer man-hours than the first ship in its class, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78).

More than 3,200 shipbuilders and 2,000 suppliers from across the country are supporting the construction of Kennedy. The ship is in the early stages of its testing program and is on schedule to launch during the fourth quarter.

The christening is planned for late 2019.

The 780-ton upper bow unit was lowered into the dry dock on Wednesday and placed on the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) (Photo by Ashley Cowan/HII)

 

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+

* – Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. serves the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
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)
CVN-81

 

Digital Technology

Digital technology marked the exact location where Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) landed the island onto the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) during a ceremony on May 29, 2019, at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division. The event coincided with the birthday of the ship’s namesake, former President John F. Kennedy.

HII landed the island onto the flight deck of aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) during a ceremony at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division on May 29, 2019 (Photo by Matt Hildreth/HII)

«Landing the island is a key milestone in preparing the ship for launch in the fall», said Jennifer Boykin, president of Newport News Shipbuilding. «Reaching this milestone on schedule demonstrates the significant lessons learned we are applying to this ship’s construction, as well as the strides we’ve made to use new technologies to gain efficiencies».

The 588-ton island, which will serve as the command-and-control center for flight deck operations, is one of the last steel structures, known as a superlift, to be placed onto the ship, signifying that Kennedy is one step closer to being launched.

The ship is being built in sections with more outfitted equipment – valves, pipe, electrical panels, mounting studs, lighting, ventilation and other components – than any other aircraft carrier built at Newport News. The use of new technologies, including digital work instructions that provide shipbuilders digital 3-D data versus traditional paper drawings, has increased efficiency and productivity.

With the island, Kennedy is more than 90% structurally complete. The island stands 72 feet/22 m above the flight deck and is 56 feet/17 m long and 33 feet/10 m wide.

In keeping with the Navy tradition, Capt. Todd Marzano, the ship’s prospective commanding officer, placed his aviator wings underneath the island during the ceremony. This custom, known as mast-stepping, recognizes an ancient maritime custom of placing a coin at the base of a mast of a ship under construction to bring good fortune.

«It’s an absolute honor and privilege to be selected as the first commanding officer of the new aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy, and I’m truly humbled to be joining such an impressive team of highly talented shipbuilders who have worked so hard to make this historic event possible», Marzano said. «Landing the island on the flight deck is a significant construction milestone, bringing John F. Kennedy one very important step closer to being commissioned into the fleet, where its value to our nation cannot be overstated».

Caroline Kennedy, John F. Kennedy’s daughter, serves as the ship’s sponsor. She could not participate in today’s event but shared a 1964 silver Kennedy half dollar that Marzano placed under the island house.

«The island landing is an important milestone in the life of this ship», Kennedy wrote in a letter. «I know how proud my father would be of the ship that will bear his name and the patriotism and dedication of all who sail in her».

Boykin placed a Newport News Shipbuilding president’s coin, which was designed to recognize dedication, service and leadership – three qualities that the ship and its crew will demonstrate when they set sail in our nation’s defense, she explained.

The other ceremony participants – James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition; Rear Admiral Roy J. Kelley, commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic; and Rear Admiral Brian Antonio, program executive officer for aircraft carriers – also placed coins.

A time capsule containing all of items placed under the island will be welded into the ship at a later time.

Kennedy is scheduled to move from the dry dock to an outfitting berth in the fourth quarter of 2019, three months ahead of schedule. The ship’s christening is planned for later this year.

More than 4,500 shipbuilders and 2,000 suppliers from across the country are supporting the construction of Kennedy.