US Navy: christening of USS John F. Kennedy, admission to active service in 2022

The United States Navy (USN or US Navy) named the CVN-79 USS John F. Kennedy on December 7, 2019 in the presence of her godmother, Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the assassinated president who had already been the godmother of the CV-67 USS John F. Kennedy (1968 – 2007), sole representative of this variant of the class Kitty hawk. CVN-79 is the second aircraft carrier of the class Gerald R. Ford which should have at least five. It is also the last to be ordered as part of a single order. L'US Navy is working to ensure that when it enters service, scheduled for 2022, all technical difficulties encountered on board the CVN-78 USS Gerald R. Ford have been resolved.

Expenses relating to the construction of the CVN-79 USS John F. Kennedy began with the budget for the fiscal year (Fiscal Year) 2008 and payments to manufacturers extended until the 2018 fiscal year. This period is made up between the subscription of advanced investments (Advanced Placement (AP) between the 2007 and 2012 fiscal years and the full financing of the building between the 2012 and 2018 budgets. The unit production cost of this aircraft carrier is currently estimated at 10 million euros. This is 218,79 million euros less than the 1584,7 needed to build the CVN-11 USS Gerald R. Ford, a sum not including study and development costs of 4240 million euros. But it is still an increase of 23,2% compared to the financial estimate of the US Navy for the 2008 budget, or 9456,79 million euros (constant).

Detailed studies and the first supplies with a view to starting construction began on January 15, 2009 at the site. Newport News byHuntington Ingalls Industries. The ceremony for cutting the first sheet took place on February 25, 2011. The keel was laid on August 22, 2015. The construction of the building was progressing at a good pace and the structural completion rate crossed the symbolic threshold of 50% in June 2017. The laying of the 588-tonne island of the aircraft carrier was carried out on May 30, 2019, signifying the end of the assembly of the aircraft carrier and the continuation of integration and completion work within it. The outfitting crew was formed on October 1, 2019. The launch began on October 29, 2019 with the filling of the construction hold.

In addition to the final completion work which is continuing at the dock, the manufacturer's tests carried out with the outfitting crew will be able to begin. The objective is to bring the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy towards his admission to active service which remains planned for 2022. He will then replace the CVN-68 USS Nimitz and the symbol will be very strong because this aircraft carrier founded the Nimitz type, itself founded in three subclasses (Nimitz (3) Theodore Roosevelt (5) et Ronald Reagan (2), i.e. 10 aircraft carriers, the longest series after the Essex (24)

CVN 79 October 21, 2019 Defense News | Laser weapons and directed energy | Military naval construction
The USS CVN-79 John F. Kennedy during the launching of the hold on October 21, 2019. The Gerald R. Ford class vessels are an improvement of the Nimitz class from which they borrow the hull. The power of the propulsion has been increased by 25% as has the number of daily aerial sorties, the average rate of which will be 160 and up to 260 at high intensity.

Admission to active service was postponed for the first time from 2018 to 2020 due to the questioning of the 11 aircraft carrier structure of theUS Navy by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in 2009, the pace of aircraft carrier construction was increased to five years. The delays observed during the construction of USS itself John F. Kennedy required its entry into service to be postponed once again from 2020 to 2022.

Le CVN-79 USS John F. Kennedy does not appear to have any major or even minor differences compared to the CVN-78 USS Gerald R. Ford. On the other hand, the lead in the CVN-21 program, the USS Gerald R. Ford was admitted to active duty on July 22, 2017 but is still not fully operational. The main problem concerns the ammunition elevators, eleven in number, which still do not meet program specifications. Other technical issues affect its operational capabilities and remain unresolved. THE CVN-79, -80 et -81 are therefore subject to the vagaries of CVN-78, in the sense that they could receive corrective work in order to correct the deficiencies noted and therefore potentially delay the admission to active service of the CVN-79 and the construction sites of -80 et -81.

These difficulties also delay the completion of the program in full. CVN-21 because the CVN-78 and following are sized, particularly from the point of view of their integrated electric propulsion based on two nuclear reactors A1B (2 x 700 MW thermal versus 2 x 300 MW thermal for K15 of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle) of which one is entirely dedicated to propulsion while the other supplies the on-board networks with electricity, to integrate “dynamic or electrical armor” and directed energy systems (laser) for short-range defense.

La 355 navy ships postulates to increase the naval aviation structure from 11 to 12 aircraft carriers. The effort may seem small but it calls for energetic structural decisions to build more aircraft carriers than those compensating for the disarmaments of the Nimitz. The 2020 budget sees theUS Navy do not request acceleration of the order of the fifth unit, the CVN-82. At the current rate, the structure of 12 aircraft carriers would be effective during the 2060s. And paradoxically, the simultaneous ordering of CVN-80 and CVN-81 accelerated the two projects by 7 months, creating a gap with the CVN project. -82 which could lead to fears of loss of skills.

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