Shipbuilding company Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has announced that the US Navy’s Gerald R. Ford-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), has reached 75% structural completion.

The 750t forward section of the ship’s main deck was successfully installed as part of the latest development, including the machinery spaces located over the forward diesel generators.

HII has also installed the first piece of the aircraft carrier flight deck, which includes command and control, pilot ready rooms and additional support spaces, and a jet blast deflector, as well as various components of the advanced arresting gear system.

"A total of 341 of the aircraft carrier’s 447 sections are currently in place following the completion of the latest superlifts."

The keel for the US Navy’s future USS John F. Kennedy was originally laid in August 2015.

The vessel represents the second ship of the US Navy’s Gerald R. Ford-class fleet.

CVN 79 is being built by HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division using a modular construction process, which involves smaller sections of the vessel being welded together to form a structural unit.

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The structural unit, known as a superlift, is subsequently outfitted with piping, electrical equipment, cables, ventilation and joinery works before being lifted from the assembly area into the dry dock.

A total of 341 of the aircraft carrier’s 447 sections are currently in place following the completion of the latest superlifts.

Newport News Shipbuilding CVN 79 Programme vice-president Lucas Hicks said: “The ship now is 75% structurally erected and more than 40% complete.

“Many of the improvements we have made over the construction of CVN 78, including increased pre-outfitting and performing more complex assemblies in our shops, will allow us to launch the ship three months earlier than planned.”

CVN 79 is slated to be christened in the fourth quarter of 2019 and will be delivered to the US Navy in 2022.