Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division launched John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), the US Navy’s newest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, into the James River, on Monday.
With the aid of six tugboats, Kennedy was guided down the river about a mile from Dry Dock 12, where the ship has been under construction, to the shipyard’s Pier 3.
There, the ship will undergo additional outfitting and begin its testing program three months ahead of its original schedule.
During this phase of construction, which is expected to take about two and a half years, habitability spaces, such as berthing and mess areas, will be completed, and distributive, mechanical and combat systems, such as catapults and radar arrays, will be tested.
This move is significant in that it represents a shift in focus from erecting the ship in dock to final completion and outfitting at the pier,
…said Mike Butler, program director for Kennedy.
Kennedy is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in 2022.