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Covid-19: Carrier Kennedy remains on schedule as US Navy secretary nominee supports carrier force

Despite the impacts of Covid-19 on the contractor workforce – and the recent US Navy (USN) decision to change the delivery plan for the ship – aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) is still tracking for its initial final delivery schedule, according to Michael Petters, CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), whose Newport News Shipbuilding unit is constructing the ship.

        Aircraft carrier 
        John F.Kennedy
         is on schedule for delivery in 2024.

Aircraft carrier John F.Kennedy is on schedule for delivery in 2024.

Petters’ assurances come as Kenneth Braithwaite, who has been nominated to be the next USN secretary, told US lawmakers he supports a carrier force that meets existing nationally mandated needs. The USN is now studying whether changes should be made to the current carrier fleet size.

Initially, the USN had contracted with Newport News Shipbuilding to deliver Kennedy in two phases – the first being mostly the hull and related systems in about two years, with the combat system being installed for the second and final delivery phase in 2024.

Work has continued aboard ship even with changes in the shipyard to meet federal guidance meant to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including a work-shift reduction and other measures to ensure social distancing and a sanitised working environment.

“CVN 79 Kennedy is approximately 72% complete and the team remains focused on compartment completion and preparation for primary system testing,” Petters told investment analysts during a 7 May quarterly earnings call.

“Newport News is working closely with the navy to pursue a single-phase delivery approach on CVN 79,” Petters noted. “Now this change from a two-phase delivery would extend the Newport News performance duration while supporting the navy's plan for efficiently delivering a completed ship in 2024.”

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