US Navy to christen new Ford-class carrier John F. Kennedy

The US Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), will be christened at Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS), Virginia, on December 7.

Photo: US Navy

John F. Kennedy, which was launched in late October 2019, is the second aircraft carrier of the Gerald R. Ford class, slated to replace USS Nimitz (CVN 68) when that ship is decommissioned.

“USS John F. Kennedy will carry the legacy of its namesake and the power of our nation,” Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said.

“The advanced technology and warfighting capabilities this aircraft carrier brings to our global challenges will strengthen our allies and partners, extend our reach against potential adversaries, and further the global mission of our integrated naval force.”

CVN 79 is the second aircraft carrier to honor President John F. Kennedy for a lifetime of service to the nation.

John F. Kennedy, along with its embarked air wing and other strike group assets, will provide the core capabilities of forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, maritime security and humanitarian assistance.

The Ford class features a new propulsion system, electric plant, Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), machinery control, radars and integrated warfare systems.

At 1,092 feet in length and 100,000 tons, CVN 79 incorporates more than 23 new technologies, comprising advances in propulsion, power generation, ordnance handling and aircraft launch systems. These innovations will support a 33% higher sortie generation rate at a significant cost savings, when compared to Nimitz-class carriers.

The Gerald R. Ford class also offers a significant reduction—approximately $4 billion per ship—in life cycle operations and support costs compared to the earlier Nimitz class, according to the US Navy.