Defense contractor Huntington Ingalls Industries has a new $152-million U.S. Department of Defense contract to proceed with advance planning for construction of U.S. Navy’s new aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 80). This will be third aircraft carrier in the Gerald R. Ford class, named to recognize the U.S. Navy’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CVN 65), which was deactivated in 2012.
Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilder, operating two major naval shipyards at Newport News, Va., and Pascagoula, Miss.
HHI also conducts engineering and manufacturing and provides management services to nuclear energy and oil-and-gas markets.
The Ford-class carriers (named for the first ship of the series, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), launched in 2013 and due to be commissioned later this year) carriers are similar in size to the preceding Nimitz-class vessels, but incorporate more advanced aeronautic and weapons technologies (e.g., the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System), and other design changes intended to improve operating efficiency and lower operating costs, including reduced crew requirements. The carriers are powered by two A1B nuclear reactors developed for use by the U.S. Navy to provide electricity and propulsion to the vessels.
The shipbuilder reported that the new contract would cover programs that include engineering, design, planning and procurement for long-lead-time material, and will be carried out at Newport News Shipbuilding through March 2018.
Construction for the new Enterprise is slated to begin in 2018, and delivery to the Navy is set now for 2027. Earlier the new carrier initially was set to be delivered by 2025, but the Navy Department’s effort to spread out costs for the Enterprise and the USS John F. Kenney (CVN-79), currently under construction – and also avoiding the possibility of having 12 carriers in service at the same time — led to the more protracted construction schedule.
Enterprise will replace the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) once it is commissioned.
“We are eager to begin planning and purchasing long-lead-time material for the next Enterprise,” stated Newport New vice president of CVN 79 and CVN 80 construction, Mike Shawcross.
“Advance planning allows us to begin applying lessons learned from CVN 78 and CVN 79 more effectively, while providing stability to our workforce and the industrial base, in order to deliver the ship at the lowest cost possible,” he said.