Sea Platforms

US Navy decides to change JFK delivery plans as Ford readies for flight-deck certification

06 March 2020

The US Navy decided on a single-phase delivery schedule for aircraft carrier (CVN 79). Source: Jane's/Michael Fabey

The US Navy (USN) has opted for a single-phase delivery for second Ford-class aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), as the lead ship USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) prepares for flight-deck certification.

Before Kennedy , Newport News Shipbuilding had delivered USN carriers in a single phase – that is with hull and combat systems intact at the same time. However, in trying to reduce man hours, costs, and related issues for Kennedy construction, the navy had opted for a dual-phase delivery plan for CVN 79, with the yard delivering the hull in 2022 during the initial phase and the combat systems being completed during the second phase, which marked the final delivery.

It was also thought that the installation of combat systems in a later secondary phase would result in more modern and relevant systems being incorporated into the ship, as those systems often become dated or obsolete during the years it takes to build the entire carrier. Delivering Kennedy in two phases would – it was argued – cut down on the costs and time to overhaul and revamp the combat systems installed in a carrier before the ship entered the USN fleet. USN officials involved in that decision noted the shipyard had to rip out the initially installed combat systems to replace them with newer and more advanced components that were then available and needed to make the new ship relevant.

But USN officials recently started considering a return to the single-phase delivery as a more efficient option. Newport News Shipbuilding officials have told Jane’s such a change would not interfere with CVN 79’s overall schedule for construction and delivery.

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