USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)

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USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)
Illustration of USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) (110623-N-ZZ999-203).jpg
Artist impression of the John F. Kennedy.
Name: John F. Kennedy
Namesake: John F. Kennedy
Builder: Huntington Ingalls Industries
Laid down: 22 August 2015
Launched: 2020, planned
Sponsored by: Caroline Kennedy
Commissioned: 2024, planned
Identification: CVN-79
Status: Under construction
General characteristics
Class and type: Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier
Type: Nuclear Aircraft Carrier
Displacement: About 100,000 long tons (110,000 short tons; 100,000 tonnes) (full load)[1]
Length: 1,106 ft (337 m)
Beam: 134 ft (41 m)
Draft: 39 feet (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

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 2020.


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.[2] 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.[3][4] 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 1967 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.[5] On 30 September 2010, Northrop Grumman announced that preparations were under way to begin construction,[6] 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.[7][8]

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 the USS Enterprise (CVN-80) and John F. Kennedy by an additional two years which could delay the carrier's entry into service until 2022.[9] 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 USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), 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 underperformance. 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.[10]

The ship's keel was laid in Newport News, Virginia on 22 August 2015,[11] 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.[11] As of late June 2017 the ship was 50% structurally complete,[12] 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.[13]


  1. ^ "Aircraft Carriers - CVN". Fact File. United States Navy. 12 January 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2] Archived 29 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 July 2010. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
  6. ^ "Photo Release -- Northrop Grumman Announces Leadership Changes at Shipbuilding Sector in Newport News" (Press release). Northrop Grumman. 30 September 2010. 
  7. ^ "Construction Begins on Navy's Newest Aircraft Carrier" (Press release). Newport News Shipbuilding. 25 February 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2011. 
  8. ^ Frost, Peter, "Shipyard Cuts First Steel For Next Carrier; Funding Remains In Flux", Newport News Daily Press, 26 February 2011.
  9. ^ Ronald O'Rourke (26 July 2012). "Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  10. ^ Michael Fabey (2013-09-05). "Delay Kennedy Carrier Contract, GAO Says | Defense content from". Aviation Week. Retrieved 2016-09-17. 
  11. ^ a b LaGrone, Sam (22 August 2015). "Keel Laid for John F. Kennedy Carrier". United States Naval Institute. Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  12. ^ "Aircraft carrier "JFK" (CVN-79) lower stern lift". Retrieved 10 March 2018. 
  13. ^ "Aircraft carrier "JFK" structural milestone". Retrieved 10 March 2018. 

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