Construction of future USS John F. Kennedy reaches midway point
By COURTNEY MABEUS | The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot | Published: August 31, 2018
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Tribune News Service) — Construction of the nation’s newest aircraft carrier is halfway done following the completion of its latest “superlift,” Huntington Ingalls Industries announced Friday.
The superlift, a planned steel structure, combined 19 smaller units that constitute the aft section of the future USS John F. Kennedy from the hangar bay and the flight deck and is 80 feet long, 100 feet wide and four decks tall, the company said in a news release Friday. The section weighed about 905 metric tons.
The Kennedy, the second Ford-class carrier, is being built at Huntington Ingalls’ Newport News Shipbuilding.
Combining the units allowed shipyard crews to install grating, pumps, valves, pipe, electrical panels, mounting studs, lighting, ventilation and other components before the structure was hoisted into place with a 1,050-metric-ton gantry crane. Using that approach resulted in the completion of the work 14 months earlier than it was on the USS Gerald R. Ford.
“This was a game changer for us,” Lucas Hicks, vice president of the Kennedy program, said in a statement. “Performing higher levels of pre-outfitting represents a significant improvement in aircraft carrier construction, allowing us to build larger structures than ever before and providing greater cost savings.”
The ship is scheduled to move from the dry dock to an outfitting berth in the fourth quarter of 2019, three months ahead of schedule, the company said.