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    Delivery of USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) Delayed to 2025 for Enhanced Capabilities and F-35 Integration

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    The second Ford-class aircraft carrier, the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), will now join the U.S. Navy’s fleet with a delayed timeframe and a budget increase, as confirmed by Huntington Ingalls Industries. Set to operate in the Pacific theater, Kennedy’s entry into service has significant implications for the U.S. Navy’s power projection and operational readiness in the region.

    USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67)” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Following a detailed contract modification, the delivery of USS Kennedy has been rescheduled to July 2025, rather than the initially planned June 2024. This deliberate extension aligns with a $400 million budget augmentation, reflecting the Navy’s commitment to equipping the carrier with more advanced baseline capabilities upon its commission. “This strategy will decrease post-delivery work required and increase ship capability and readiness at delivery,” remarked Newport News Shipbuilding VP Lucas Hicks. This approach aims to avert the extensive post-shakedown work that marked Ford’s debut, ensuring Kennedy’s swift transition into active duty.

    The final piece is put into the future aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79).” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    The vessel’s extended construction period, now anticipated to span 14 years, leverages the “lessons learned” from USS Ford’s labor-intensive repairs and modifications. Significantly, this includes the incorporation of the F-35C Lightning II fighters – an asset not initially considered during the Ford-class conceptualization. The F-35’s integration reflects an adaptive strategy, ensuring that the Kennedy is proficiently equipped to handle the cutting-edge aircraft and its specialized requirements.

    NEW WINDSOR, NY – JULY 2, 2017: The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II from Stewart International Airport during the New York Airshow.

    These enhancements serve not just to augment the carrier’s capabilities but also to address issues identified in the construction of the USS Ford. From radar system changes to fixes necessitated by initial design flaws, this process reflects a meticulous effort to perfect the Ford-class carriers. Upon its completion, the Kennedy will emerge as a formidable platform, reflecting the lessons of its forerunner’s six years of post-delivery updates, which concluded with the Ford’s inaugural full deployment in May.

    USS John F. Kennedy” by PMillera4 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    While the focus remains on the future of the USS Kennedy, the fate of its namesake, the former USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), captivates those with ties to its storied past. Contracted to International Shipbreaking Ltd./EMR Brownsville for dismantlement, the retired vessel’s journey to Brownsville has been marked by unanticipated delays, shrouded in stringent security protocols.

    USS John F. Kennedy Deck” by tabounds is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    Robert Berry, vice president of International Shipbreaking Ltd./EMR Brownsville, estimated that there was a 70-80% chance that the retired aircraft carrier would arrive here by mid-December while conceding that delays were possible since complications can arise. The Navy awarded the contract to ISL in 2021 to dismantle the ship, the last conventionally powered carrier in the Navy’s fleet.

    related images you might be interested.

    Ex-USS John F. Kennedy” by Telstar Logistics is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
    CAMP SPRINGS, MD, USA – SEPTEMBER 19, 2015: Visitors could check out the F-35 Lightning II, from a distance, during the 2015 Joint Base Andrews Air Show held at Joint Base Andrews in Camp Springs Maryland.
    Leeuwarden Netherlands Oct. 4 2021 Weapon Instructor Course F-35 Lightning II landing
    US Air Force F-35A Lightning II pictured at the 2018 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.
    Pilots from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings taxi F-35As on the runway in preparation for a combat power exercise Nov. 19, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. During the exercise wings confirmed their ability to employ a large force of jets against air and ground targets, demonstrating the readiness and lethality of the F-35 Lightning II. As the first combat-ready F-35 units in the Air Force, the 388th and 419th FWs are ready to deploy anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Cynthia Griggs)

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