The Navy’s next aircraft carrier met another major milestone , as shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls’ Newport News Shipbuilding division successfully installed PCU John F. Kennedy’s (CVN 79) final major steel structural section, known as a superlift, July 9.
CVN 79’s final superlift, comprising the upper bow section and the forward portion of the flight deck, weighed 780 tons and took 18 months to construct.
“Getting this superlift in place completes the major ship erection activities on the JFK and allows the shipbuilder to focus on the final preparations for the late- 2019 launch,” said Capt. Phil Malone, program manager for the Future Aircraft Carriers Program Office . “From CVN 78 to CVN 79, we are seeing increased efficiency and improvements to the build process.”
Incorporation of lessons learned from construction of USS Gerald R. Ford
(CVN 78) and changes to the build process, such as fewer and larger superlifts, has proven beneficial, with CVN 79 tracking to 18 percent fewer construction manhours than CVN 78.
Additionally, the shipbuilder has increased the use of digital shipbuilding technologies. Using “virtual walkthroughs” in the 3D product model and other data now available to them, the shipbuilder is able to determine what work, such as equipment installations and electrical work, can occur prior to erecting the superlift on the ship, thus increasing the level of outfitting and equipment installation.
CVN 79’s next major milestone will be launch and christening, anticipated later this year.