USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)

PCU John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is the second Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier being built for the United States Navy. The ship is under construction and planned to be commissioned in 2022.

USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)
John F. Kennedy on 29 October 2019
United States
Name: John F. Kennedy
Namesake: John F. Kennedy
Builder: Huntington Ingalls Industries
Cost: $11.341 billion [1]
Laid down: 22 August 2015
Launched: 29 October 2019[2]
Sponsored by: Caroline Kennedy
Christened: 7 December 2019[3]
Identification: CVN-79
Status: Fitting out
General characteristics
Class and type: Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier
Type: Nuclear Aircraft Carrier
Displacement: About 100,000 long tons (100,000 tonnes) (full load)[4]
Length: 1,106 ft (337 m)
  • 134 ft (41 m) (waterline)
  • 256 ft (78 m) (flight deck)
Draft: 39 ft (12 m)
Installed power: Two A1B nuclear reactors
Propulsion: Four shafts
Speed: In excess of 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Range: Unlimited distance; 20–25 years
Complement: 4,660
Aircraft carried: More than 80, can hold up to 90 combat aircraft
Aviation facilities: 1,092 ft × 256 ft (333 m × 78 m) flight deck
External video
on Huntington Ingalls Industries Official YouTube Channel(in English)
Building John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) on YouTube
Bringing John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) to Life on YouTube
John F. Kennedy (#CVN79) Christening Ceremony on YouTube


On 7 December 2007, the 66th anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, Congressman Harry Mitchell (D-AZ) proposed naming this ship USS Arizona. In 2009, Congressman John Shadegg (R-AZ) proposed naming either CVN-79 or the subsequent CVN-80 Barry M. Goldwater, after Barry Goldwater, the late senator from Arizona.[5] On 29 May 2011, the Department of Defense announced that the ship would be named for John F. Kennedy (1917–1963), the 35th President of the United States, who served in the navy during World War II[6]. She will be the third navy ship named after members of the Kennedy family, and the second aircraft carrier named John F. Kennedy, succeeding USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), which served from 1968 to 2007.


On 15 January 2009, Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding was awarded a $374 million contract for design work and construction preparation for John F. Kennedy.[7] On 30 September 2010, Northrop Grumman announced that preparations were under way to begin construction.[8] On 25 February 2011, the Navy conducted the First Cut of Steel ceremony at Northrop Grumman in Newport News, signalling the formal start of construction for John F. Kennedy.[9][10]

John F. Kennedy was originally planned to be completed in 2018. This was extended to 2020 after Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced in 2009 that the program would shift to a five-year building program so as to place it on a "more fiscally sustainable path". By late 2012, delays had occurred in construction, and the Navy Department was investigating extending the construction time of both Enterprise and John F. Kennedy by an additional two years which could delay the carrier's entry into service until 2022.[1] In September 2013, the Government Accountability Office recommended delaying the detail design and construction contract for John F. Kennedy until programmatic shortfalls are sorted out. The Navy and Defense Department have rejected the recommendation. The Navy faces technical, design, and construction challenges to completing Gerald R. Ford, including producing systems prior to demonstrating their maturity to meet required installation dates. Gerald R. Ford had costs increase by 22% to $12.8 billion, and additional increases could follow due to uncertainties facing critical technology systems and shipbuilder under performance. Risk is introduced in the Navy's plan to conduct integration testing of key systems at the same time as initial operational test and evaluation. One action the GAO says could be taken to ensure Ford-class carrier acquisitions are supported is conducting a cost-benefit analysis of required capabilities and associated costs.[11]

The ship's keel was laid in Newport News, Virginia on 22 August 2015.[12] As part of the traditional keel laying ceremony, the initials of ship sponsor Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President Kennedy and the sponsor of the previous John F. Kennedy, were welded into the ship's hull.[12] As of late June 2017 the ship was 50% structurally complete.[13] On 28 February 2018, Huntington Ingalls Industries announced that its Newport News Shipbuilding division had built 70% of the structures necessary to complete John F. Kennedy.[14] On 30 April 2018, Huntington Ingalls Industries announced that she was "75 percent structurally erected and more than 40 percent complete." As of the release date, 341 of the 447 super-lift sections were currently in place. The ship is scheduled to be christened in the latter half of 2019, commissioned in 2020,[1][15] On 3 May 2018 Huntington Ingalls President & CEO Mike Petters reported that John F. Kennedy was tracking to be launched three months ahead of schedule in the fourth quarter of 2019.[16] On 30 May 2019 the 588 ton bridge and island was installed completing the ship and placing the final piece of the puzzle on deck. Under the island Captain Todd Marzano placed his wings and the first Kennedy half dollar which was donated by Caroline Kennedy was put in place. Next to these Rear Admiral Brian Antonio, Rear Admiral Roy Kelly, and Jennifer Boykin placed coins each embossed with quotes from President Kennedy and parts of the ships motto. Caroline could not be present, so she had Lee Murphy give the order via radio for the crane operator to lift the island and set it down on the deck crushing the ceremonial items and entombing them in the ships superstructure completing the ship.[17]

On 1 October 2019, the ship's crew was activated for the first time as Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) John F. Kennedy at a ceremony aboard the vessel at Newport News Shipbuilding.[18] On 29 October 2019, Newport News Shipbuilding began flooding the dry dock where John F. Kennedy has been under construction. The process of filling the dry dock with more than 100 million gallons of water took place over several days, and it marked the first time the ship has been in water. Once the ship was afloat, it was moved to west end of the dry dock. The ship was christened on 7 December 2019.[3]

See also


  1. O'Rourke, Ronald (22 December 2017). "Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  2. "Huntington Ingalls Industries Floods Dry Dock in Preparation for Christening Of Aircraft Carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79)" (Press release). Huntington Ingalls Industries. 29 October 2019. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  3. "Aircraft Carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) Christened at Newport News Shipbuilding" (Press release). Huntington Ingalls Industries. 7 December 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  4. "Aircraft Carriers - CVN". Fact File. United States Navy. 12 January 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  5. "H.CON.RES.83". Archived from the original on 14 December 2012.
  6. Frost, Peter, "U.S. Navy's Next Aircraft Carrier Will Be Named After The Late John F. Kennedy", Newport News Daily Press, 30 May 2011
  7. "Fact Sheet" (PDF). Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 July 2010. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
  8. "Photo Release -- Northrop Grumman Announces Leadership Changes at Shipbuilding Sector in Newport News" (Press release). Northrop Grumman. 30 September 2010.
  9. "Construction Begins on Navy's Newest Aircraft Carrier" (Press release). Newport News Shipbuilding. 25 February 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  10. Frost, Peter, "Shipyard Cuts First Steel For Next Carrier; Funding Remains In Flux", Newport News Daily Press, 26 February 2011.
  11. Michael Fabey (5 September 2013). "Delay Kennedy Carrier Contract, GAO Says | Defense content from". Aviation Week. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  12. LaGrone, Sam (22 August 2015). "Keel Laid for John F. Kennedy Carrier". United States Naval Institute. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  13. "Aircraft carrier "JFK" (CVN-79) lower stern lift". Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  14. "Aircraft carrier "JFK" structural milestone". Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  15. Industries, Huntington Ingalls. "Video Release--Aircraft Carrier John F. Kennedy Reaches 75 Percent Structural Completion". Huntington Ingalls Newsroom. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  16. Larter, David (4 May 2018). "Here's the latest on America's next supercarriers".
  17. Faram, Mark D. (29 May 2019). "How the USS John F. Kennedy got her island". Navy Times. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  18. "Future Carrier John F. Kennedy Establishes Crew" (Press release). United States Navy. 2 October 2019. NNS191002-01. Retrieved 2 October 2019.

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