Home Americas US Navy switches to single-phase delivery for second Ford-class carrier

US Navy switches to single-phase delivery for second Ford-class carrier

John F. Kennedy (CVN 79)
Aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) sits at Pier 3 at Newport News Shipbuilding division. Photo: HII

The US Navy has decided to shift the delivery strategy for the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) from a two-phase delivery to a single phase that will allow the carrier to operate F-35C aircraft before it is commissioned.

The service awarded Huntington Ingalls Industries an undefinitized contract award worth up to $315 million for the required work.

The shipbuilder said the contract was a result of extensive collaboration with the Navy to support legislative requirements for Kennedy to be delivered with its complete warfare system, including F-35 Joint Strike Fighter capabilities, before the ship is commissioned into the fleet.

“Shifting to single phase and incorporating the F-35C modifications will enable the delivery of a more capable and lethal carrier,” said James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition. “Initiating this work now will build on the lessons learned from USS Gerald R Ford to maintain the optimal construction timeline for the shipyard and to avoid inefficiencies.

“From the shipbuilder’s and Navy’s perspective, this is the most efficient and effective way to get this capability quickest into the hands of our warfighters,” Geurts added.

“We are pleased to have worked with the Navy to adopt lessons learned in the construction of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) to improve cost, production and planning efficiencies on Kennedy,” said Lucas Hicks, Newport News’ vice president of new construction aircraft carrier programs. “We believe that the single-phase approach ensures the most effective build plan for all remaining work and provides the best value for the navy by supporting its ability to accelerate operational deployment of this maritime force asset.”

Kennedy, as the second ship in the Gerald R. Ford-class, is approximately 76% complete. The ship was launched in December 2019, and currently is undergoing additional outfitting and testing at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division. The ship is scheduled to be delivered to the navy in 2024.

John F. Kennedy is slated to replace USS Nimitz (CVN 68), when that ship is decommissioned.