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November 27, 2019

US Navy to christen aircraft carrier John F Kennedy in December

US aircraft carrier John F Kennedy (CVN 79) will be christened by Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of former President John F Kennedy and sponsor of his namesake ship, on 7 December.

US aircraft carrier John F Kennedy (CVN 79) will be christened by Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of former President John F Kennedy and sponsor of his namesake ship, on 7 December.

Kennedy is an electric aircraft carrier with several systems powered by steam on Nimitz-class carriers powered by electricity.

The ship is designed to save the navy $4bn in total ownership costs over the 50-year lifespan of the vessel and features fewer overall components, extended drydocking interval, and improved ship-wide air conditioning.

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) was awarded a $3.35bn contract in June 2015 for the design and construction of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

The company also received a $941m modification to a construction preparation contract to continue material procurement and manufacturing for the ship.

John F Kennedy is the second aircraft carrier in the Ford-class and second ship built by HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division.

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Work under the contract included ship construction and design, engineering services, procurement of materials, and hardware to support construction and logistics activities.

The first steel for John F Kennedy was cut in December 2010 and since then over 450 of the 1,100 structural units have been constructed under the construction preparation contract.

The keel-laying ceremony for the aircraft carrier was held in August 2015.

HII installed the final superlift on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier in July 2019. The Newport News Shipbuilding has added the upper bow section, one of the last steel structural units to be placed on CVN 79.

In October this year, the dry dock was flooded in phases with more than 100 million gallons of water. Several tests were carried out during the flooding process.

Over 3,200 shipbuilders and 2,000 suppliers supported the construction of the ship.

HII said that the aircraft carrier will undergo outfitting and systems testing in the James River after its christening and is expected to be delivered to the US Navy in 2022.

The 1,092ft-long Ford-class carriers will replace the Nimitz-class models. The vessels can operate up to 90 aircraft and feature a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapults and an enhanced flight deck.

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