CVN-79 Concept

CVN 79 early concept
(click to enlarge)

November 4/20: New Delivery Strategy Huntington-Ingalls Industries won a $284.3 million contract modification for the accomplishment of CVN 79 single phase delivery and Joint Strike Fighter (F-35C) capabilities. The contract actions shifts the delivery strategy for the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) from a two-phase delivery to a single phase. It reportedly comes as a result of extensive collaboration with the Navy to support legislative requirements for Kennedy to be delivered with its complete warfare system, including F-35 Joint Strike Fighter capabilities, before the ship is commissioned into the fleet. Kennedy is approximately 76% complete. The ship was launched in December 2019, and currently is undergoing additional outfitting and testing at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division. The ship is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in 2024. Work will take place in Virginia. Estimated completion will be in June 2024.

CV-74 USS Stennis and CV HMS Illustrious

USA’s Nimitz Class &
UK’s Invincible Class
(click to view full)

Some nations have aircraft carriers. The USA has super-carriers. The French Charles De Gaulle Class nuclear carriers displace about 43,000t. India’s new Vikramaditya/ Admiral Gorshkov Class will have a similar displacement. The future British CVF Queen Elizabeth Class and related French PA2 Project are expected to displace about 65,000t, while the British Invincible Class carriers that participated in the Falklands War weigh in at just 22,000t. Invincible actually compares well to Italy’s excellent new Cavour Class (27,000t), and Spain’s Prince of Asturias Class (17,000t). The USA’s Nimitz Class and CVN-21 Gerald R. Ford Class, in contrast, fall in the 90,000+ tonne range. Hence their unofficial designation: “super-carriers”. Just one of these ships packs a more potent air force than many nations.

CVN-71 Theodore Roosevelt Cutaway

Nimitz Class cutaway
(click to view full)

As the successor to the 102,000 ton Nimitz Class super-carriers, the CVN-21 program aimed to increase aircraft sortie generation rates by 20%, increase survivability to better handle future threats, require fewer sailors, and have depot maintenance requirements that could support an increase of up to 25% in operational availability. The combination of a new design nuclear propulsion plant and an improved electric plant are expected to provide 2-3 times the electrical generation capacity of previous carriers, which in turn enables systems like an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS, replacing steam-driven catapults), Advanced Arresting Gear, and integrated combat electronics that will leverage advances in open systems architecture. Other CVN-21 features include an enhanced flight deck, improved weapons handling and aircraft servicing efficiency, and a flexible island arrangement allowing for future technology insertion. This graphic points out many of the key improvements.

DID’s CVN-21 FOCUS Article offers a detailed look at a number of the program’s key innovations, as well as a list of relevant contract awards and events.

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