Huntington Ingalls Industries' (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division launched John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) aircraft carrier into the James River for the first time, on Monday.
With the aid of six tugboats, Kennedy 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, a HII release said.
“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 Kennedy. “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.
Kennedy is scheduled for delivery to the United States’ Navy in 2022.
At 1,092 feet in length and 100,000 tons, 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.
“In an emerging era of great power competition, 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,” a US DoD release said.