Tag Archives: USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)

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)

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.

Digital Technology

An improved build strategy, which includes the use of digital technologies to improve efficiencies, has allowed Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division to reach another milestone in the construction of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79).

USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) Lower Bow Lift
USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) Lower Bow Lift

The company on Friday lowered the final piece of the ship’s underwater hull into place. The joining of the 726-ton lower bow, which includes the distinctive bulbous feature, completes the section of the ship below the waterline and extends the nuclear-powered warship an additional 122 feet/37 m.

At 1,096 feet/334 m, Kennedy’s hull is longer than three football fields.

The lower bow is more than 64 feet/19.5 m tall and 54 feet/16.5 m wide and is one of the heaviest planned steel structures, known as superlifts, to be placed on the ship. The unit consists of 84,000 square feet/7,804 square meter of tanks and chain lockers.

«This superlift completes the underwater hull of the ship and completes the erection of all of the ship’s structures from main deck down», said Lucas Hicks, Newport News’ vice president, CVN-79 carrier construction. «The lower bow superlift is another good example of how the use of technology is driving how we are building the next generation aircraft carrier. This brings us one step closer to launching the ship next year», Hicks said.

More than 3,000 shipbuilders and 2,000 suppliers from across the country are supporting the construction of Kennedy.

Kennedy’s keel was laid in 2015. The christening is planned for late 2019.

50 Percent of Kennedy

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division reached the midpoint in the construction of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) following the installation of one of the largest units on the ship.

USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) Aft Section Superlift
USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) Aft Section Superlift

Weighing approximately 905 metric tons, the unit is one of the heaviest of the planned steel structures, known as superlifts, that will be joined together to make up the second ship in the Gerald R. Ford class. The superlift of the aft section of the ship between the hangar bay and flight deck is 80 feet/24.4 m long, about 110 feet/33.5 m wide and four decks in height.

Combining 19 smaller units into one superlift allowed Newport News to install a majority of the outfitting equipment – grating, pumps, valves, pipe, electrical panels, mounting studs, lighting, ventilation and other components – before the structure was hoisted into the dry dock using the shipyard’s 1,050-metric ton gantry crane. This approach resulted in this work being completed 14 months earlier than it was on Ford, said Lucas Hicks, Newport News’ vice president, CVN-79 program.

«This was a game changer for us», Hicks said. «Performing higher levels of pre-outfitting represents a significant improvement in aircraft carrier construction, allowing us to build larger structures than ever before and providing greater cost savings».

«This superlift represents the future build strategy for Ford-class carriers», said Mike Butler, program director of CVN-79. «Not only did we build this superlift larger and with significantly more pre-outfitting, we managed much of the work on the deckplate with new digital project management tools as part of our Integrated Digital Shipbuilding initiative. The lessons we learned from this successful superlift will allow us to build even more similar superlifts on future ships in the Ford class».

Kennedy is scheduled to move from the dry dock to an outfitting berth in the fourth quarter of 2019, three months ahead of schedule.

 

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)

 

50 Percent
structurally complete

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.

Shipbuilders at Newport News Shipbuilding lifted the lower stern of CVN-79 into place
Shipbuilders at Newport News Shipbuilding lifted the lower stern of CVN-79 into place

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.

The lower stern, which weights 932 metric tons, consists of 30 individual units and includes the ship’s rudders, steering gear rooms and electrical power distribution room
The lower stern, which weights 932 metric tons, consists of 30 individual units and includes the ship’s rudders, steering gear rooms and electrical power distribution room

 

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

Aircraft Carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) Reaches 50 Percent Structural Completion
Aircraft Carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) Reaches 50 Percent Structural Completion

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
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

Superlift to Kennedy

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced today that its Newport News Shipbuilding division lifted a 704-metric ton unit into Dry Dock 12, where the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is taking shape. The superlift is part of an improved build strategy implemented on the second ship of the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) class, resulting in superlifts erected at a higher state of outfitting completion.

On January 17, Newport News Shipbuilders lifted a 704-metric-ton unit into Dry Dock 12, where the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is taking shape (Photo by Chris Oxley/HII)
On January 17, Newport News Shipbuilders lifted a 704-metric-ton unit into Dry Dock 12, where the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is taking shape (Photo by Chris Oxley/HII)

«For Kennedy, increased pre-outfitting puts into practice one of many lessons learned from Gerald R. Ford», said Mike Shawcross, Newport News’ vice president, CVN-79 construction. «This superlift will erect the first portion of hangar bay».

The unit, which has been under construction since August 2015, is made up of 22 smaller units and comprises small equipment and machinery rooms, berthing, and other quality-of-life spaces, such as the barber shop and post office. It measures about 80 feet/24.4 m long and 105 feet/32 m wide. Like Ford, Kennedy is being built using modular construction, a process where smaller sections of the ship are welded together to form large structural units, equipment is installed, and the large units are lifted into the dry dock using the shipyard’s 1,050-metric ton gantry crane.

Kennedy is about 25 percent complete. The carrier 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. About 140 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).

 

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+

John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) Superlift

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
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)

 

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+

 

John F. Kennedy

Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), on August 22 celebrated the keel laying of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), the second ship of the Gerald R. Ford class. Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the ship’s namesake, the 35th President of the United States, is the ship’s sponsor. She declared the keel «truly and fairly laid» via video to signify the ceremonial start of construction.

Newport News Shipbuilding Celebrates the Keel-Laying of Aircraft Carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)
Newport News Shipbuilding Celebrates the Keel-Laying of Aircraft Carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)

«The aircraft carrier came of age in a time of conflict», Caroline said. «It was untested, and the capabilities it brought were questioned. Since those early days, the carrier has come to be recognized as a symbol of peace, strength and freedom».

Caroline’s video was introduced by her cousin, Representative Joseph Kennedy, Democrat-Massachusetts. Other ceremony participants included Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe; Representative Randy Forbes, Republican-Virginia; Representative Bobby Scott, Democrat-Virginia; Vice Admiral William Hilarides; Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy Sean Stackley; Rear Admiral Earl Yates, the first commanding officer of CVA-67, the first aircraft carrier to bear the name John F. Kennedy; and Newport News Shipbuilding President Matt Mulherin.

During the ceremony, Caroline’s initials were welded onto a steel plate by Leon Walston, a Newport News welder from Massachusetts. The plate will be permanently affixed to the ship, signifying the sponsor’s enduring relationship with the shipbuilders and crew.

In his remarks, Stackley expressed the significance of aircraft carriers, calling upon shipbuilders to recognize the importance of what they build. «They are our nation’s great instruments of security and … of goodwill», he said. «In times of crisis, they are the first to respond, and when called upon, they will deliver the final word in the bidding of our nation. So let this great purpose serve as a constant reminder – as inspiration to you, the men and women of Newport News Shipbuilding – that shipbuilding is not just what you do; it is who you are. And that building great ships – it is not just your tradition; it is your duty».

USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is the second aircraft carrier in the Ford Class
USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is the second aircraft carrier in the Ford Class

Governor McAuliffe emphasized the importance of John F. Kennedy’s future presence in the U.S. Navy fleet. «President John F. Kennedy was an inspiration to all of us», he said, «so it is only fitting today that we now have a U.S. President who now will have two aircraft carriers named after him».

Representative Joseph Kennedy spoke of the original USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67) and its legacy that will continue with the new aircraft carrier. «USS John F. Kennedy demonstrated strength to our enemies and support for our allies», he said. «Today, as we lay the keel of CVN-79, the next USS John F. Kennedy, we begin construction on a ship with the same mission and the same spirit, but with new capabilities and a new generation».

Mulherin spoke of the shipbuilders constructing USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), highlighting their commitment to ethics once emphasized by President Kennedy. «While this aircraft carrier that we lay the keel for today will serve as a tangible legacy of our nation’s 35th President, so too will the people behind the steel», he said. «When we say the greatest shipbuilders in the world work right here, it isn’t just because we build the most sophisticated ships known to man. It is also because of the way in which we build them. Our shipbuilders demonstrate ethics, integrity and courage every day».

John F. Kennedy will be the second U.S. Navy ship to bear the name of the 35th President. Crew members who served on the first USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67) attended and were recognized during the ceremony. To conclude the event, Yates, the first commanding officer of CVA-67, signaled crane operators to lift the aircraft carrier’s engine room No. 2 unit into the dry dock while more than 1,500 guests watched.

A composite photo illustration representing the Ford-class aircraft carrier, USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). The carrier, underconstruction at Newport News Shipbuilding, is the second Ford-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the second U.S. Navy carrier named for the 35th U. S. President
A composite photo illustration representing the Ford-class aircraft carrier, USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). The carrier, underconstruction at Newport News Shipbuilding, is the second Ford-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the second U.S. Navy carrier named for the 35th U. S. President

 

Quick Facts about CVN-79

Kennedy is the 2nd ship of the Ford class.

At an official naming ceremony at the JFK Library on May 29, 2011, U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier CVN-79 would be called the USS John F. Kennedy. The announcement was made on what would have been the 94th birthday of President John F. Kennedy.

Since the first cut of steel in 2010, more than 450 of the ship’s 1,100 structural units have been constructed, and more than 60 percent of the total ship’s material funding has been committed to vendors.

CVN-79 marks the second aircraft carrier to be named for the late president. The first, a conventionally-powered carrier, served from 1968 to 2007 and was also built by Newport News Shipbuilding.

Shipbuilders have captured 60,000 lessons-learned from the seven-year process of building Gerald R. Ford, many that are already being implemented as cost-saving initiatives in building John F. Kennedy.

Caroline Kennedy smashes a bottle of American sparking wine across the bow of USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67) in 1967 (Image courtesy of the Daily Press)
Caroline Kennedy smashes a bottle of American sparking wine across the bow of USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67) in 1967 (Image courtesy of the Daily Press)

 

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+
Leon Walston, a Newport News Shipbuilding welder from Massachusetts, displays the welded initials of Caroline Kennedy, the sponsor of the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). Also pictured (left to right) are Rear Admiral Earl Yates, the first commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67); Newport News Shipbuilding President Matt Mulherin; Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe; and Representative Joseph Kennedy (Photo by Chris Oxley/HII)
Leon Walston, a Newport News Shipbuilding welder from Massachusetts, displays the welded initials of Caroline Kennedy, the sponsor of the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). Also pictured (left to right) are Rear Admiral Earl Yates, the first commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67); Newport News Shipbuilding President Matt Mulherin; Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe; and Representative Joseph Kennedy (Photo by Chris Oxley/HII)