The US Navy's second Ford-class aircraft carrier is in the water as the first conducts sea trials
US Navy/Newport News Shipbuilding
- Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding flooded the dry dock for the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) Tuesday morning, bringing the ship afloat for the first time.
- The Kennedy is the second Ford-class carrier and one of four new flattops the Navy is currently pursuing.
- The USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) wrapped up its post-shakedown availability and set sail last Friday for sea trials, a short evaluation process which will be followed by 18 months of post-delivery tests and trials in the Atlantic Ocean.
The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), the first of a new class of US Navy flattops, set sail for sea trials last Friday, and the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), the second of the new Ford-class carriers, is finally in the water.
Shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries - Newport News Shipbuilding, a leading defense company that Navy leadership has repeatedly criticized lately for its handling of the Ford-class carrier program, began flooding the dry dock at the shipyard in Norfolk, Va. Tuesday morning, starting an hours-long process that will bring the Kennedy afloat for the first time in preparation for the ship's christening in December.
The keel for the carrier was first laid down on Aug. 22, 2015. The latest development is an important milestone for the new Navy aircraft carrier.
CVN-79 "is going afloat with about 5 percent more completeness than 78 at her launch, and she is being launched about three months early to her original schedule," Navy acquisitions chief James Geurts told reporters at the Pentagon Monday afternoon.
US Department of Defense
The Navy is pursuing four Ford-class carriers, and with each new ship, the service is working hard to avoid past mistakes and leverage the lessons learned from the $13 billion USS Gerald R. Ford, a ship that is over budget and behind schedule.
Last Friday, CVN-78 wrapped up a post-shakedown availability that officials characterized as "action packed" and "challenging," due largely to the difficulties the Navy and the shipbuilder have encountered developing and integrating the Advanced Weapons Elevators. The ship is currently undergoing sea trials.
As of Tuesday, the Ford was about 50 percent finished with sea trials. Following these trials, the ship will set out for 18 months of post-delivery tests and trials in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Kennedy has required less construction man-hours than its predecessor, and CVN-80, the future USS Enterprise, is projected to require roughly 41 million man-hours, 9 percent less than the 10th ship of the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers that preceded the new class of supercarriers, Geurts revealed.
CVN-81, a carrier which does not currently have a name, is projected to require only 38 million man-hours, 16 percent less than the USS George H.W. Bush, which required 45 million man-hours.
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