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USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)
CVN-78 Artist Image
Artist impression of the Gerald R. Ford class.
Career Flag of the United States.svg
Name: PCU John F. Kennedy
Namesake: John F. Kennedy
Builder: Huntington Ingalls Industries
Status: Under construction
General characteristics
Class & type: Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier
Displacement: 100,000 tons
Length: 1,106 ft (337 m)
Beam: 134 ft (41 m)
Propulsion: 2 A1B nuclear reactors
Speed: 30+ knots
Range: Unlimited distance; 20–25 years
Complement: 4,660
Armament: Surface-to-air missiles
Close-in weapons systems
Aircraft carried: More than 75
Aviation facilities: 1,092 x 256 foot flight deck
Notes: Nuclear powered supercarrier

PCU John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is a planned United States Navy Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier. The ship is in construction and to be placed in commission in 2020.


On 7 December 2007, the 66th anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, Congressman Harry Mitchell (D-AZ) proposed naming this ship USS Arizona. In 2009, Congressman John Shadegg (R-AZ) proposed naming the ship or the subsequent CVN-80, Barry M. Goldwater after Barry Goldwater, the late senator from Arizona.[1] On 29 May 2011, the Department of Defense announced that the ship would be named for John F. Kennedy (1917–1963), the 35th President of the United States, who served in the navy during World War II.[2][3] She will be the third navy ship named after members of the Kennedy family, and the second aircraft carrier named John F. Kennedy, replacing John F. Kennedy (CV-67), which served from 1967 to 2007.


On 15 January 2009, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding was awarded a $374 million contract for design work and construction preparation for John F. Kennedy.[4] On 30 September 2010, Northrop Grumman announced a new vice president for the construction of the Kennedy, Mike Shawcross, and that preparations were under way to begin construction.[5]

On 25 February 2011, the navy conducted the "First Cut of Steel" ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News, signalling the formal start of construction for John F. Kennedy.[6][7]

The John F. Kennedy was originally planned to be completed in 2018. This was extended to 2020 after Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced in 2009 that the program would shift to a five-year building program so as to place it on a "more fiscally sustainable path". By late 2012, delays had occurred in construction, and the Navy Department was investigating extending the construction time of both the USS Enterprise (CVN-80) and the John F. Kennedy by an additional two years which could delay the carrier's entry into service until 2022.[8]

The ship may replace the USS Nimitz (CVN-68).[8]

In September 2013, the Government Accountability Office recommended delaying the detail design and construction contract for the Kennedy until programmatic shortfalls are sorted out. The Navy and Defense Department have rejected the recommendation. The Navy faces technical, design, and construction challenges to completing the previous CVN-78, including producing systems prior to demonstrating their maturity to meet required installation dates. The USS Gerald Ford had costs increase by 22 percent to $12.8 billion, and additional increases could follow due to uncertainties facing critical technology systems and shipbuilder underperformance. Risk is introduced in the navy's plan to conduct integration testing of key systems at the same time as initial operational test and evaluation. One action the GAO says could be taken to ensure Ford-class carrier acquisitions are supported is conducting a cost-benefit analysis of required capabilities and associated costs.[9]


  1. Library of Congress - H. CON. RES. 83
  2. "Navy Names Next Aircraft Carrier USS John F. Kennedy". Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  3. Frost, Peter, "U.S. Navy's Next Aircraft Carrier Will Be Named After The Late John F. Kennedy", Newport News Daily Press, 30 May 2011.
  5. "Photo Release -- Northrop Grumman Announces Leadership Changes at Shipbuilding Sector in Newport News". Northrop Grumman. Sept. 30, 2010. 
  6. "Construction Begins on Navy's Newest Aircraft Carrier". Newport News Shipbuilding. February 25, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  7. Frost, Peter, "Shipyard Cuts First Steel For Next Carrier; Funding Remains In Flux", Newport News Daily Press, 26 February 2011.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ronald O'Rourke (26 July 2012). "Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress". Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  9. Delay Kennedy Carrier Contract, GAO Says -, 5 September 2013

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