Newport News Shipbuilding continues construction on John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier

Posted at 11:17 PM, Apr 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-20 13:31:17-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Newport News Shipbuilding has placed a 965-ton “superlift” into dry dock to continue the construction of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79).

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

The superlift is comprised of two pump rooms and is 80 feet long and about 100 feet wide. The section includes grating, pumps, valves, pipes, electrical panels, equipment mounting studs, lighting and other outfitting components. A large number of those components were installed after the superlift was placed in the dry dock on Ford.

“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 parts of the ship are welded together to form large units, equipment is installed, and the large units are lifted into the dry dock using the shipyard’s 1,050-metric ton gantry crane. The crane is one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere.

Kennedy is estimated 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 17 percent complete and 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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