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Carrier Kennedy set to enter combat system test programme this quarter

Newport News Shipbuilding is preparing to test the combat systems for the carrier John F Kennedy . (Janes/Michael Fabey)

Aircraft carrier John F Kennedy should enter combat system testing this quarter, according to Christopher Kastner, president, CEO, and director of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), whose Newport News Shipbuilding unit is constructing the ship.

“CVN 79 Kennedy is well into the test programme,” Kastner said during a quarterly investment call with investment analysts on 9 February. “Distributed systems such as fire main, potable water, air conditioning, and ventilation are coming to life. The EMALS [Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System] catapult system, which we began testing in 2022, remains on track and is progressing as planned through her test programme, and we expect to enter into the combat systems test programme later this quarter.”

“CVN 79 had a pretty solid year. They met their compartment commitments for the year, [and] EMALS is essentially built out. I was up there last week and the equipment is in, and they started that test programme. The topside test program has begun. They've got a bit of momentum. I hate to use football reference, but 79 is what I call ‘four yards in a cloud of dust'. They're executing on a lot of volume work. They met their commitments for last year,” he added.

Kennedy is scheduled to be delivered to the navy in 2024.

While Kennedy is still being constructed, the Newport News Shipbuilding yard is also conducting the refuelling and complex overhaul of USS George Washington (CVN 73). “We are 98% complete as we near planned re-delivery later this year,” Kastner said.

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