USS John F Kennedy on schedule
Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division has placed a 900-ton superlift into dry dock as part of construction of the future USS John F Kennedy (CVN 79), the second Gerald R Ford-class aircraft carrier for the US Navy, the company announced on 12 September.
According to HII, the ship’s cost and construction schedule is on track, with CVN 79 set to be completed with 445 superlifts.
Mike Shawcross, Newport News’ vice president, CVN 79 carrier construction, said: ‘The incorporation of lessons learned from CVN 78 on to CVN 79—and major build strategy changes to construct the ship a different way—are having a significant impact on our construction efficiencies.’
The ship is built using modular construction, where smaller sections are welded to form larger structural units called superlifts. The equipment is installed in these units, which are then lifted into the dry dock with the company's 1,050-metric ton gantry crane.
Mike Butler, Newport News’ Kennedy construction programme director, said: ‘Fewer lifts to the dock means we’re building larger superlifts with more outfitting installed prior to erecting the sections in dock. This translates to man-hour savings because the work is being accomplished off the ship in a more efficient work environment.’
Since the ship’s keel was laid in August 2015, almost 90 lifts have been placed in the dock and joined together. CVN 79 is scheduled to be launched in 2020 and delivered to the US Navy in 2022. It will be replacing the supercarrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68).
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