The US Navy’s newest, digitally-built, aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) now has a complete flight deck after shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries lifted the final bow section into place.
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.
Weighing 780 tons, the superlift took 18 months to build.
“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.”
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, Gerald R. Ford.
The carrier’s christening is planned for late 2019.
Kennedy is the second ship in the new class of Gerald R. Ford class of carriers. The lead ship was commissioned in July 2017 as the US Navy’s most expensive ship ever built.