By Shaunta Saxton, November 18, 2019
Newport News, VA – The United States Navy will be acquiring three new Supercarriers in the coming years, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), the USS Enterprise (CVN-80), and the John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). All three are Ford-class carriers (formerly CVN-21 class), and come equipped with new technologies including the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, advanced arresting steering, updated munitions, stealth features, and more.
The first of these vessels, the John F. Kennedy, is in its construction phase and is expected to be commissioned by the Navy in 2020. This ship will be powered by 2 x A1B nuclear reactors that will provide a speed of roughly 32 knots in favorable conditions. This is a remarkable speed if you take into consideration the size of the vessel and its complement of crew and cargo.
Advancements of the John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)
The John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) will boast new technologies and features which will go a long way to strengthen the United States Navy. This new class of vessel is less reliant on steam and hydraulics as it possesses more electrical power. The twin nuclear reactors can generate two and a half times more electrical power than the previous Nimitz-class vessels. This surplus of power gives the Kennedy the ability to mount futuristic, cutting edge weapons such as laser weapons and rail guns.
Moreover, Kennedy’s anti-missile and anti-aircraft weapons encompass Rolling Airframe Missile launchers, two 0.5-caliber Machine guns, Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapon System) to combat air threats and Evolved Sparrow Missiles. The 1,106-foot ship can also accommodate a staggering 90 combat aircrafts at one time.
John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) features the most modern processing and sensor systems offered by the Navy. It will boast the AN/SPY-3 Dual Band Radar System, full 3-dimensional combat and tracking control suites, system automation, encrypted data links, and GPS support. All these features combined, coupled with the fact that no other vessel outside the United States Navy has a similar design, will undoubtedly make the John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) an ultra-advanced and extremely efficient surface fighting vessel.
Dry Dock Floods 3 Months Ahead of Schedule – An Admirable Achievement
Huntington Ingalls, the United States Navy’s largest shipbuilder, commenced the dry dock flooding process at the Newport News Shipbuilding Division in Virginia. This was where the keel of the John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) Supercarrier was first laid in 2015.
The process of gradually filling the dry dock with more than 90 million gallons of water happens in a controlled environment and takes place over several days. It marks the first instance that the vessel has been in the water.
The flooding of the dry dock in the construction phase of the John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is definitely a historical achievement for everyone involved in the project. This accomplishment is even more remarkable owing to the fact that the carrier has reached this stage of construction three months before the original schedule and has utilized fewer-than-expected labor hours.
The launching of the Kennedy is also expected to take place three months ahead of schedule with the United States Navy planning to receive the vessel in 2022.
Kudos to the Workers Who Made It Possible
More than 2,000 suppliers and 3,000 shipbuilders across the United States have been involved in the construction of the John F. Kennedy. Program Director Mike Butler stated that the flooding of the dry dock ahead of schedule marks a moment to reflect on this incredible achievement. The men and women working at the shipyard have put in a tremendous effort to get the construction to this stage so quickly.
There is no doubt that the massive success of the construction of the John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) so far is primarily because of the workers who are a part of this grand project. It goes to show that having the right people on your team does indeed make a monumental difference.
Hiring the Right Craftsmen for the Job
Long project delays cost companies, organizations, states, and governments more than one could imagine. In many cases, a delay arises from choosing the wrong people for the job at hand. Bearing that in mind, it only makes sense to engage the services of the right firm that specializes in the hiring of skilled and competent workers. Be sure to reach out to Ameri-Force if you are a business seeking skilled and reliable workers.
Shaunta Saxton has worked with Ameri-Force since 2006 and is currently the Manager of our Norfolk, VA branch office. Her work has focused primarily on the Newport News shipyard for the past 13 years. Shaunta is well known throughout the shipyard as she has spent a great deal of time aboard the various vessels under construction. This has given Shaunta a first-hand appreciation of the work our craftsmen put into every inch of the ships they help create. Shaunta has developed a passion for the Maritime Industry and says “it isn’t work for me, it’s one of the things I love.”