Newport News Shipbuilding Inc. won a $3.8 billion U.S. Navy contract to design and construct the 10th and last Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier
, CVN 77. The unnamed carrier is scheduled for delivery in 2008 and will serve as the first transition ship to a new class of carriers, Newport News said.
The company will also be responsible for delivering the ship's warfare systems, which was a task previously performed by the Navy. That includes development and procurement of the warfare system through a subcontract to Lockheed Martin Corp. and overall integration of the system into the ship.
The carrier's warfare system will incorporate a new multi-function radar system and an information network that allows new technology to be inserted in a cost-effective way, the company said.
"Our program objectives for the next class of carriers include reducing the total ownership cost of the ship, reducing crew requirements and improving certain operational capabilities," said Irwin Edenzon, vice president of technology development and carrier fleet support. "CVN 77 is both the last ship of the Nimitz class and the first step in the evolutionary process of developing CVNX."
CVN-77 will use the Nimitz hull platform but incorporate new design features including a modified island house to accommodate new combat and communication systems. It is the next step toward development of the CVNX, or next generation of aircraft carrier. – (Reuters)