The US Navy has awarded an undefinitised contract action to Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) to change the delivery strategy for the second Gerald R Ford-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier John F Kennedy (CVN 79).

The contract will see the originally scheduled two-phased delivery approach shift to a single phase. It will be definitised in 2021.

With a potential total value of around $315m, the award offers initial funding for the long-lead material procurement and planning.

Newport News new construction aircraft carrier programmes vice-president Lucas Hicks said: “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.

“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.”

In 2018, HII announced that the future USS John F Kennedy (CVN 79) reached 75% structural completion. It is now nearly 76% complete.

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The ship will be delivered in September 2024 with a complete warfare system, such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter capabilities.

In December last year, the shipyard launched the vessel. It is currently in the additional outfitting and testing phase.

The US Navy’s first vessel USS Gerald R Ford (CVN78) was commissioned into service on 22 July 2017.

The Gerald R Ford (CVN-78) class carrier design is the successor to the existing Nimitz-class carrier design.

The Ford-class features flight deck changes, enhanced weapons handling systems, a redesigned island, new nuclear power plants, increased electrical power-generation capacity, and more.