Newport News shipyard gets a potential increase of $314 million for USS John F. Kennedy
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Tribune News Service) — The Navy modified its contracts with Newport News Shipbuilding to speed up delivery of the carrier John F. Kennedy, a change that could be worth as much as $315 million.
The change, announced Monday, marks a return to more traditional way of delivering a new ship to the fleet, and will ensure the carrier can handle the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter.
The contract modifications set a June 30, 2024, delivery date.
“The Navy is transitioning to a single-phase delivery approach to meet both Fleet requirements and a Congressional mandate of ensuring that CVN 79 is capable of operating and deploying Joint Strike Fighter (F-35C) aircraft before completing the post-shakedown availability,” the Navy’s contract award announcement said.
The Navy had set a two-phase delivery schedule for the Kennedy, which was intended to briefly pause installation of some systems. The idea was to avoid having both the Kennedy and USS Nimitz, the carrier it is replacing, in the fleet at the same time. That would have stretched Navy personnel and budgets more than Congress, back in 2016, wanted.
Lucas Hicks, Newport News' vice president of new construction aircraft carrier programs, said the change is possible because of cost, production and planning improvements — all lessons learned when building USS Gerald R. Ford, the first of the Navy’s new class of carriers. Kennedy will be the second of this class.
“We believe that the single-phase approach ensures the most effective build plan for all remaining work and provides the best value for the Navy by supporting its ability to accelerate operational deployment of this maritime force asset," Hicks said.
The Kennedy is approximately 76% complete. The ship was launched in December 2019, and currently is undergoing additional outfitting and testing at the yard.
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