Advance construction started on the nation’s newest aircraft carrier Feb. 25 with a “first cut of steel” ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Newport News, Va.
The steel plate cut will be used in the construction of the carrier, which has yet to be named, but will be designated CVN 79.
The carrier represents the second in a new class of ships designed to replace Enterprise and Nimitz-class carriers and save more than $5 billion in total ownership costs during its planned 50-year service life when compared to Nimitz-class carriers.
“Today we mark the beginning of the advance construction of CVN 79, second of the Gerald R. Ford-class of aircraft carriers,” said Rear Adm. Michael McMahon, Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Aircraft Carriers. “It’s an important step in continuing carrier construction using advanced technologies and efficiencies to reduce both ownership and procurement cost in this new class of carriers.”
Ford-class aircraft carriers, while retaining the same hull form as the Nimitz class, contain several advanced technology systems including Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching Systems, advanced arresting gear, dual band radar, a redesigned smaller island and a new propulsion plant. The first ship in the class, Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), is also under construction at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News and is scheduled to be delivered to the fleet in September 2015.
The PEO for Aircraft Carriers, an affiliated PEO of Naval Sea Systems Command, focuses on the design, construction, system integration, delivery and life-cycle support of all aircraft carriers.