Shipbuilding: John F. Kennedy 17% Complete
Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division has placed a 965-ton structure called a superlift into dry dock, continuing the construction of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79). 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 superlift, comprising two pump rooms, is 80 feet long and about 100 feet wide. The section 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.
“We are continuing to make good progress on the Kennedy with a focus on reducing cost,” said Mike Shawcross, Newport News’ vice president, CVN 79 construction. “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. By installing most of the outfitting before the section goes into dry dock, we are able to significantly reduce man-hours, which translates to cost savings for the Navy and the American taxpayer.”
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, equipment is installed, and the large units are lifted into the dry dock using the shipyard’s 1,050-metric ton gantry crane, one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere. 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.
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. She 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.