John F. Kennedy Aircraft Carrier Christened at Newport News Shipbuilding

Confetti flutters through the air over the crowd after the Ford-class aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) is christened, Dec. 7, 2019. U.S. Navy Photo

The U.S. Navy’s newest supercarrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) was christened Saturday during a ceremony at Huntington-Ingalls Industries’ Newsport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.

The John F. Kennedy is the second aircraft carrier of the Gerald R. Ford class and is slated to replace USS Nimitz (CVN 68) when it is decommissioned.

As the ship’s sponsor, John F. Kennedy’s daughter, former U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, officially christened the ship by breaking the ceremonial bottle against the hull. “I’m so proud to be the sponsor of this ship and bring her to life,” said Kennedy. “The CVN 79 crew is fortunate to have such distinguished leaders, this is your day, and our chance to say thank you.”

Caroline Kennedy, President John F. Kennedy’s daughter, former ambassador to Japan, and sponsor of the Ford-class aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), christens the ship, Dec. 7, 2019. U.S. Navy Photo

John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) is the second U.S. Navy aircraft carrier to bear the name of the 35th President of the United States. Former NASA Administrator and retired U.S. Marine Corps, Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden Jr., delivered the keynote address honoring President Kennedy and highlight his time as naval officer.

“This vessel is a symbol of our nation’s strength, technical achievement and critical service our men and women provide for this nation and the entire world,” said Bolden. “This carrier is a tangible example of the legacy of the great man who risked his own life during World War II and the wake of Pearl Harbor,” said Bolden.

The Gerald R. Ford class incorporates state-of-the-art technologies such a new propulsion system, electric plant, Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), machinery control, radars and integrated warfare systems.

Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) in dry dock before its flooding, Oct. 29, 2019, three months ahead of its slated production schedule. U.S. Navy Photo

At 1,092 feet in length and 100,000 tons, CVN 79 will incorporate nearly two dozen new technologies due to advances in propulsion, power generation, ordnance handling and aircraft launch systems. Over the course of its 50-year service life, the ship is designed to reduce total ownership cost by nearly $4 billion compared to to the Nimitz-class.

The lead ship in the class, Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), was commissioned in 2017.

John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) comes with an estimated cost $11.4 billion, less than the $12.9 billion price tag of the CVN 78, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.