With more than 20,000 attendees, President John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline Bouvier Kennedy officially christened the new carrier John F. Kennedy.

“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.”

Kennedy reflected on the first ship to bear her father’s name and how the second Ford-class aircraft carrier will continue to represent her father proudly.


“Having a chance to get to know the people who served on the USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), really gave me insight into who he was, and what kind of leader he was in a way that I wouldn’t have had any other way. And, I know that’s going to be just as true now with a whole new generation,” said Kennedy.

The John F. Kennedy is the second Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carrier being built for the United States Navy. The ship is under construction and planned to be commissioned in 2022.

On the 1st of October 2019, the ship’s crew was activated for the first time as Pre-Commissioning Unit John F. Kennedy at a ceremony aboard the vessel at Newport News Shipbuilding.

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Julian
Julian
9 months ago

I know that we are having to rebuild a capability almost from scratch whereas the USA is well-versed in this game so it’s not really comparable but, out of interest, what sort of timelines do the US carriers work to in terms of builder’s trials, commissioning, operational work-up etc?

Helions
Helions
9 months ago
Reply to  Julian

In the case of the GRF – quite a while… They will get it done… Sometime.

https://news.usni.org/2019/12/09/navy-marks-progress-on-uss-gerald-r-ford-as-scrutiny-on-program-grows

Cheers

Mark
Mark
9 months ago

Given that this is the 2nd ship to be named after JKF, one can only assume that the USA has/ is running out of former Presidents deemed worthy enough to have a ship named after them.

HF
HF
9 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Only from Nixon onwards

BB85
BB85
9 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Is there a ship already named after John McCain? I’m sure Obama and Clinton will get one named after them eventually. I can’t see Trump ever making the list unless he insists on it during his own presidency.

HF
HF
9 months ago
Reply to  BB85

DDG56 (Arleigh Burke) named after his father & grandfather. Can’t have one named after a POW, after all, which will make the future USS Trump an interesting choice. It will probably take advantage of stealth technology so it’s invisible.

Mark B
Mark B
9 months ago
Reply to  HF

One of the benefits of our system of naming ships is you would rarely dislike the ship due to association with the person she is named after.

HF
HF
9 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

Good point

Steve R
Steve R
9 months ago
Reply to  HF

Not if they make it orange like its namesake!

pkcasimir
pkcasimir
9 months ago
Reply to  HF

The USS John McCain was rededicated about a month before Senator John McCain’s death and Sen McCain’s name was added to that of his father and grandfather as a dedicatee.

P043
9 months ago
Reply to  BB85

I dont think anybody would want to ever serve on a ship named obama or clinton. Obama was anti military and clinton did most of his work under the desk.

Elliott
Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Obama, Clinton, and Trump are all unlikely to get Carriers named for them as they never served in the military. The only exceptions to that rule have been Carl Vinson and John C. Stennis. Vinson was the author of naval expansion on the eve of WWII and Stennis was the man who rammed the nuclear Navy through the Senate as chair of Armed Services.

Cam
Cam
9 months ago
Reply to  BB85

They had to his the ship named after McCain from trump when he visited its base not long ago! Lol, crazy.

Steve
Steve
9 months ago
Reply to  Mark

The next carrier (CVN-80) is Enterprise, so hopefully the US Navy will return to classic battle names like Yorktown, Saratoga, Lexington, etc. after that.

Mark B
Mark B
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve

How fortunate. US Navy are full of diplomats.

HF
HF
9 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

Well, the RN had the Battle class destroyers…

BB85
BB85
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve

I think the navy named the carriers after presidents hoping it would make funding them likely. Although that is the cynic in me.

Steve
Steve
9 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Considering most of the carriers after the first Kennedy were named for long-dead presidents, I don’t think that had anything to do with it.

pkcasimir
pkcasimir
9 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Hardly.

James Madison
Andrew Jackson
Wm Henry Harrison
Zachary Taylor
Franklin Pierce
Ulysses S Grant
James A Garfield
Wm McKinley

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
9 months ago

Apologies but an off topic question for aviation types.

When operating on land, would the Osprey take off vertically or in a short run then lift, and with the rotors at the forward angle?

I assume this enables more take off weight?

And is this the standard take off procedure? I have looked on YouTube and seen both.

BB85
BB85
9 months ago

I’m pretty sure the rotars can operate at 45 degrees at least to taxi along a run way. I don’t think they can rotate horizontally or the propellers would touch the run way.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
9 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Hi BB.

Yes. I saw that on YouTube, at the 45 degree angle and lift after a short run.

Is this a standard take off, that is my question.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
9 months ago

And of course, they would need a runway, or a short runway, to do this.
Not a standard helipad or ramp.

turk
turk
9 months ago

would be interesting to see one go up the ramp on the QE (actually probably not)

DaveyB
DaveyB
9 months ago
Reply to  BB85

When operating in Bastion it was standard for them to do the short hop before going airborne with the rotors angled forwards. Once in the air they are quite smooth, especially when compared to a Wokka. The main advantage though is speed. It would take about an hour to get from Bastion to Kajacki by Wokka, with the V22 it would be about 20ish minutes. However, when taking off or landing vertically the amount of down-wash generated is huge and guarantees a brown out more so than a Wokka!

james
james
9 months ago

My observations only: On landing at the local airport here they use a very short run to land, and the same to lift off. It’s more like a helicopter style arrival and departure. The noise is awful as they have no sound suppression like civilian aircraft and also as they usually arrive in threes, landing and taking off very tightly. Additionally, when watching them you can see the perspective of how massive the rotors are compared to the wing and fuselage. It’s an impressive and noisy sight. I understand they are expensive to purchase and maintain.

Mark B
Mark B
9 months ago

Does anyone know the likely cost of the JFK? I’m assuming Ford will absorb the development costs?

Pete
Pete
9 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

US$12billion. Ford was $13billion plus $5billion R&D.

Mark B
Mark B
9 months ago
Reply to  Pete

Thanks Pete. I think I’d rather have three QE Class than one Ford Class any day.

Steve R
Steve R
9 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

Definitely.

Both QE and POW plus 24 F35s each costs less than the Ford alone, before any planes are put on it.

Julian
Julian
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

If we’re playing the mind game of trying to fit stuff within a Ford Class cost rather than within the MoD budgets then how much would be left over from your setup for V-22 Osprey with AAR and AEW kits I wonder. Adding that to the mix would go some way to closing the capability gap in terms of AEW surveillance range (altitude) and F-35B combat radius from the carrier vs what a Ford can do.

Andrew
Andrew
9 months ago
Reply to  Julian

I think you could possibly just about fit/squeeze all the RAF’s Typhoon Euro Fighters front line jets into one ford class carrier….

Mark B
Mark B
9 months ago
Reply to  Julian

I’m not sure we are trying to compete. Sure yes we want the carrier to be as capable as possible I’m just not positive the extra bells and whistles are worth the candle.

Steve
Steve
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

You forget that one Ford-class can carry up to 90 aircraft of all types (not just SVTOL and helicopters) and have unlimited range. Nuclear is great, it’s just pricey. You get what you pay for.

Pete
Pete
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve

QE is what.. 50 – 60 aircraft of all types and while ford doesnt need fuel… Its aircraft and escorts do. The ford itself still needs replenishmentc at sea. The ford task group still needs replenishment at sea. Add osprey to QE and some form of air to air refuuling and the concept becomes a compelling argument for the taxpayer Would have to sit down and work out purchase costs of QE and an oiler plus running costs of QE and an oiler and match that to the Ford and i suspect the QE concept would still come out at… Read more »

Steve
Steve
9 months ago
Reply to  Pete

The QE is limited to helicopters and STVOL aircraft only. And yes, though the Ford needs replenishment at sea, it does not need to spend extended time in port refueling, meaning it can be out at see cruising around the globe for up to 25 years doing what it needs to, while related ships and replenishment can come to it. It’s about readiness, and clearly 90+ aircraft on a ship with unlimited range is appealing enough to a Navy that has owned 13 of them in the last 60 years.

BB85
BB85
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Cats and traps could be added to QE and bump the price up £1bn. Maybe less if it was built that way from day 1. Overall I think you couldyl get 3 fully loaded QE class plus tabkers for the price of 1 Ford class. That’s 3 seperate targets, and flexibility to have 2 at sea while 1 is in refit.

Helions
Helions
9 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Even the Chinese have cost and technical limits on their aspirations to have full sized nuclear carriers. Looks as though they’re stalled out for a while…

https://thediplomat.com/2019/12/technical-problems-slowing-economy-cut-chinas-carrier-ambitions/

Cheers

Steve
Steve
9 months ago
Reply to  BB85

How long can two QEs be at sea for before they have to return to port and refuel? Nuclear carriers can be out at sea indefinitely with munitions, supplies, fuels and personnel brought to them. If you want to be a legitimate global superpower, you need to be able to be anywhere around the globe, for as long as-is necessary. The QE’s are cheaper, but their conventional fuel is a restraint.

Rokuth
Rokuth
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve

I am actually scratching my head at this response. Part of the recent trials with QNLZ has been replenishment at sea, including refuelling. So technically, conventionally powered ships can stay at sea as long as any nuclear powered ships. Or has it slipped your mind that all the escorting vessels for the nuclear powered carriers (with the exception of the SSNs) are all conventionally powered and are refuelled at sea as well? As someone else has said, the limiting factor is the Human factor. Then there is also maintenance that can only be done at port. Like it or not,… Read more »

Jack Wyatt
Jack Wyatt
9 months ago
Reply to  BB85

This is really fantasy fleet because it is the US that has the greatest capability with the nuclear strike carriers. Besides, the US also have the USS America just arrived in its new homeport in Japan and the brand new USS Tripoli which will be homeported in San Diego plus the other amphibious ships for F35B operations.

MSR
MSR
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve

People are the limiting factor, not fuel. Sure, you can feed them at sea, but after 9 months of that they’ll all be going clinical, especially on the very crowded US carriers. Nimitz class has 180 man mess decks and the showers/heads are not even adjoining! And these are triple stacked like submarine racks, so you can’t even sit up in your berth and can barely roll over. Ford has a slight improvement: 40 man berths, but still in triples. Would you want to? Imagind trying to get any sleep at all, off watch. QE has 8 berth cabins all… Read more »

Steve
Steve
9 months ago
Reply to  MSR

The accommodations on US Navy ships have only improved in the last 50 years, and the recent spike in sailor suicides is a recent phenomenon. There are many factors as to why that is, most of them are young: 18-22 years old, so it could simply be a generational difference in terms of what kids today can handle.

BB85
BB85
9 months ago
Reply to  MSR

Does anyone know why the man power requirement is so much higher on the Ford’s? The QE is 1,600 at full capacity but the Ford’s will be 2,600. That cannot be to support an additional 40 aircraft.

Steve
Steve
9 months ago
Reply to  BB85

The higher crew compliment for the Nimitz and Ford-class carriers is absolutely because of the additional aircraft. It’s not just 90 planes, but 90 planes worth of pilots, co-pilots, mechanics, handlers, weapons specialists and all of the support staff needed to feed and serve their needs.

MSR
MSR
9 months ago
Reply to  BB85

CATOBAR is inherently more manpower intensive as a mode of operation than STOVL. You basically need a lot more people to do a lot more jobs that don’t exist on a STOVL carrier, like manage and operate the arrestor gear both on deck and its machinery below deck. Same for the catapults. Then you need more people to get an aircraft hooked on to the cats (on STOVL, you just drive up to the start line). You need people to get a plane unhooked from the arrestor wires, and you need qualified engineers standing by on deck to inspect the… Read more »

Steve
Steve
9 months ago
Reply to  MSR

The United States has been fielding aircraft carriers with a 90+ aircraft capacity for nearly 60 years, if it wasn’t working? I’m sure they would have gone a different path 13 supercarriers ago.

MSR
MSR
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Did I say it wasn’t working?

I know exactly what I said. It’s up there, on the screen, above this comment.

Cam
Cam
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve

But carriers get fuel out at sea from a replenishment ship along with other essentials so no hassle geting running fuel and jet fuel at the same time.

Sean
Sean
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve

And the Ford can’t handle STOVL as it’s deck isn’t thermally insulated like a QE. So if either the cat or trap fails the Ford can only launch helicopters.
The QE has more redundancy when it comes to launching and recovering its jets. Even if the ramp was damaged the F35Bs could still launch, just with reduced payload.

Steve
Steve
9 months ago
Reply to  Sean

The carriers use the F-35C, so they have no need to handle the -B model. Besides, they have 10 “amphibious assault ships” that can handle them if need be.

Sean
Sean
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Exactly. Which means if EMALS fails (yet again) or is taken out out by the enemy all its aircraft are grounded.
The QE doesn’t have that vulnerability.

Steve
Steve
9 months ago
Reply to  Sean

The EMALS will eventually be worked out and up to full speed, as is any brand new system that has never been used before. Yes, a ski jump will never break down, but the trade off is a limitation in what kinds of aircraft you can deploy and how heavy they can be. The QE suits the UK perfectly, but let’s not mince words here – it is not cat-trap or nuclear purely to save money. They would be both if the UK had the funds to spend.

Sean
Sean
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Hopefully the EMALS will be worked out, though not all technological innovations prove to be practicable. Not having a cat and traps does limit the aircraft that can be used currently. But the number of aircraft that can be cat launched is also limited due to the strengthening required to withstand launch acceleration and the increased stresses. With more tilt-rotor aircraft being developed and the growth in drones which are lighter, I believe there will be lots of options available to enhance the air capabilities of the QE class. Nuclear power simply eliminates the need for tankers, carriers still need… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
9 months ago
Reply to  Sean

Well I suppose it also depends on when we are due to run out of fossil fuel. Nuclear doesn’t require fossil fuel to generate power/electricity, however the aircraft do. I don’t see any viable alternative to fossil fuels as a fuel source for military aircraft. So in 50 years or so I guess we’re screwed and the old adage of FFBNW aircraft on the carriers will be true – lol.

Sean
Sean
9 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

We’ll be fine for fossil fuels for the military. Long before then all non-military vehicles; cars, buses, trains, etc will be 100% electric. Nor will fossil fuels be used for generating electricity etc. Which leaves the remaining fossil fuels, of which there is still decades worth, for prioritisation for the military.

The successors to the QE class will need a different power system, fingers crossed we may have fusion reactors by then. The successor to the F35Bs would probably be battery powered, assuming battery advances, but they won’t be piloted by humans so that will save weight.

Sjb1968
Sjb1968
9 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

Any cost comparison needs to consider that £1+Bn must be deducted from the QE costs because a decision was made to slow production and a further £100m was wasted on the abortive cats and traps proposal in 2010. So actual cost of a single QE is in the region of £2.5Bn. Whilst you must factor into the cost of a nuclear powered carrier at least $1.5Bn to decommission the ship. You can therefore get 4 QE class ships for 1 Ford class vessel. So the US face a bill of $1.5Bn every five years as they scrap the Nimitz class… Read more »

Steve
Steve
9 months ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

You seem to be quite the expert as to what is sustainable for the United States military. If you did any research on fiscal budgets, procurement strategies and the Department of the Navy as a whole, you would know that the cost to decommission retired nuclear vessels is always considered when planning out the purchase of new ones. That is why lately, the US Navy has ordered multiple new carriers at one time, to get a package deal that can be spread out more evenly over numerous fiscal years.

Sjb1968
Sjb1968
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve

How can the cost of decommissioning be factored into the cost of construction with any degree of accuracy when they havent undertaken the first. Unfortunately the cost always goes up so is likely to be $2bn+. Let’s see if they can afford to replace the Nimitz class 1 for 1 with the Ford class because I doubt it even with batch ordering as you quite rightly pointed out. 10 is also still not quite enough to meet USN taskings whilst a political change will happen at some time which may well scupper later orders. The USN are obviously aware of… Read more »

Elliott
Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

Why can the US afford to replace Carriers 1 for 1 because of the size of the economy for one and the industrial base for the second.
No non nuclear flat-tops will be ordered. The USN has to deal with the Pacific and any reduction in need for tankers outweighs the cost of more expensive power plants.

dave
dave
9 months ago
Reply to  Elliott

the first Nimitz class carrier (USS Nimitz CVN-68) costs about 5 billion…succeeding carriers were a bargain at about 2.5 to 3 billion each because of commonality of design..Washington, Vinson, Lincoln, IKE, Truman, Roosevelt. did i miss any?

Sjb1968
Sjb1968
9 months ago
Reply to  Elliott

The U.S. Budget deficit is over $900bn for 2019 and is on an upward trajectory, and as with other gold plated projects including Zumalt Seawolf and the F22 there is a limit. It will be interesting to see what happens in a few years time when further orders are due.

RN Paul
RN Paul
9 months ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

Yes sjb1968, the US military is doomed. It’s amazing they afford anything and clearly no one there knows what they are doing. We are so far superior to them and our budget and procurement processes make theirs look like childsplay. Good on us for being smarter, better and just all around more effective. I don’t know how the US military hasn’t just collapsed completely by now. What terrible bloody amateurs they are.

DaveyB
DaveyB
9 months ago

Having just read a report on the problems plaguing the Ford, I’m glad we did not go down the same route of EMALS and AAG. Congress have tasked the DoD to investigate the feasibility of installing steam catapults and the traditional MK7 hydraulic arrestor system. On top of that there are major design flaws in how the EMALS is powered. For instance in one catapult fails you can’t work on it whilst the other three are still being used as they are hardwired in to the power system i.e. no switches to isolate individual catapults. On a recent test on… Read more »

RN Paul
RN Paul
9 months ago

This entire discussion is literally permeated by angry naysayers who simultaneously criticize the yanks and make excuses for our RN. It’s really kind of sad to read. I’m happy for the USN, good luck to them.