Update: US aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy 17% complete

John F. Kennedy superliftPhoto: Huntington Ingalls Industries

American Huntington Ingalls Industries and its Newport News Shipbuilding division responsible for the construction of the U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) have placed a 965-ton structure called a superlift into dry dock thereby making the carrier 17 percent complete.

The superlift was made with more than twice the amount of outfitting accomplished as compared to the same superlift on Kennedy’s predecessor, Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).

The structure comprises two pump rooms and is 80 feet long and about 100 feet wide. It is is complete with grating, pumps, valves, pipe, electrical panels, equipment mounting studs, lighting and other outfitting components. On Ford, a large number of those components were installed after the superlift was placed in the dry dock.

Huntigton Ingalls added that, 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 which are then lifted into the dry dock.

Kennedy is on track to be completed with 445 lifts, 51 fewer than Ford and 149 less than USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), the last Nimitz-class carrier.

Mike Shawcross, Newport News’ vice president, CVN 79 construction, said: “Not only are we taking the lessons learned from the first ship of the class, the Ford, and applying them to our work on Kennedy, we are also approaching the construction of this ship differently to further bring down the cost.”

This is the 21st superlift that has been placed in the dock since the ship’s keel was laid in August 2015. Kennedy is now 17 percent complete.

The ship is scheduled to be launched in 2020 and delivered to the Navy in 2022. John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) is slated to replace USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in the aircraft carrier force structure.

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