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



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)