HII receives extension to USS John F Kennedy construction preparation contract

26 March 2013 (Last Updated March 26th, 2013 03:45)

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has secured an extension to the previously awarded construction preparation contract for the second Gerald R Ford-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, John F Kennedy (CVN 79), from the US Navy.

USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79)

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has secured an extension to the previously awarded construction preparation contract for the second Gerald R Ford-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, John F Kennedy (CVN 79), from the US Navy.

Under the $407m follow-on contract, HII's Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division will begin engineering, planning, long-lead time material procurement and initial manufacturing before the full construction contract is awarded.

NNS CVN 79 construction vice president Mike Shawcross said: "It is very important to get a good start on a ship of this magnitude and complexity, and this contract extension allows for those activities to continue and keep the ship on a path for success in meeting our customer's goals."

Currently under construction by HII, the 1,092ft-long aircraft carrier will have a beam of 134ft and can arm, refuel, launch and recover aircraft quicker.

The John F Kennedy features improvements in capabilities and equipment that include a flight-deck, enhanced weapons handling systems and a redesigned island to enable increased aircraft sortie generation rates.

"It is very important to get a good start on a ship of this magnitude and complexity, and this contract extension allows for those activities to continue and keep the ship on a path for success in meeting our customer's goals."

Additional features of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier include increased electrical power generation capacity and flexibility for the implementation of future technologies.

The 100,000t Ford-class ships will be capable of operating up to 90 aircraft, which includes the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, MH-60R/S helicopters and unmanned air vehicles and unmanned combat air vehicles.

Designed to replace Nimitz-class aircraft carriers for the US Navy, the Gerald R Ford-class carriers will be armed with the Raytheon evolved Sea Sparrow missile (ESSM) to strike against high-speed, highly manoeuvrable anti-ship missiles, as well as rolling airframe missile (RAM) close-in weapon system.

The US Navy is expected to award the full contract in 2013.


Image: Illustration of the US Navy's aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79). Photo: Huntington Ingalls Industries.

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