Huntington Ingalls Industries has cut a 35-ton steel plate at its Newport News Shipbuilding division to kick off advance construction of the USS Enterprise.

The steel plate will become part of the foundation of Enterprise, the ninth U.S. Navy ship to bear the legendary name.

Ship’s sponsors and U.S. Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky gave the order to cut the steel during a ceremony that marks the first construction milestone in the life of the ship. Other ceremony participants included Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va.; Rear Adm. Brian K. Antonio, program executive officer, aircraft carriers; shipbuilders and their families; and representatives of the recently decommissioned Enterprise (CVN 65).

Newport News is performing the work under an advance fabrication contract the shipyard was awarded earlier this year. Award of the CVN 80 detail design and construction contract is anticipated in 2018. Construction is currently underway on the second ship of the class, John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), with more than 50 percent of the structural units already erected.

Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin said CVN 80’s construction will incorporate greater innovation and efficiency:

“With this ship, we will ‘boldly go where no one has gone before’.

She will be built using digital technology rather than traditional paper work packages and drawings.

We will build more of this ship indoors, in new facilities so that our people have more opportunities to work under cover and out of the weather. CVN 80 will revolutionise how we build ships, just as her predecessor, CVN 65—the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier—revolutionised our industry.”

CVN 80 will be the third Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carrier. Designed to replace Nimitz-class carriers, the Ford class features a new nuclear power plant, a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapults, improved weapons movement, an enhanced flight deck capable of increased aircraft sortie rates, and growth margin for future technologies.

Each Ford-class ship will operate with a smaller crew than a Nimitz-class carrier and will provide $4 billion in total ownership cost savings for the US Navy.

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Are our American cousins adopt the automated weapons handling system as on the QEclass? If not, why not?
Also any news on the catapult system? President Trump announced a return to steam does that mean on the new Big E?


No on the steam EMALS has pretty much had the bugs worked out. Also is necessary for the the USNs new drones to be launched including supposedly the tanker drone unless you under load it. On the automated weapon handling system maybe but unlikely. The Ford-class already has increased automation compared to a Nimitz. But the USN has always been unwilling to install a system like one that was installed on the QE. One similar was offered as early as USS Truman. However they are of the opinion that such systems are to easily broken.And leave you short personnel who… Read more »


Are our American cousins adopting the automated weapons handling system as on the QEclass? If not, why not?
Also any news on the catapult system? President Trump announced a return to steam does that mean on the new Big E?


Apparently $28 Bn isn’t enough to spend on two carriers. they are now embarking on a further $12 Bn spend on a third. A total sum that in itself that would buy 8 QE carriers.

While some US citizens die for want of health care ….

I admire the Yanks in so many ways but something has gone WAY wrong here …..


There are no Americans dying for lack of health care. You have been listening to too many fuzzy leftist BBC programs.

The QE2’s are White Elephants. Totally indefensible unless part of a US Navy Task Force.


@PK Casimir If you think no US citizens are dying for a lack of health care you have not been paying attention. It’s healthcare system is a tragedy
About 45,000 US citizens a year are reckoned to die early because they lack health insurance.

Doesn’t sound too fuzzy, does it?
best Tim62


For a carrier that while larger is both faster and needs to be refueled less. Carries a larger more capable air group due to having a catapult and not a ski jump. Due to not having to carry fuel for itself being able to carry more fuel and munitions for it’s air group. Therefore able to sustain strikes longer. A marine company capable in terms of numbers of actually accomplishing something. Buy 8 QEs? Where pray tell would we get crew assuming the 1600 figure reported once air complement added each? Oh and lets not forget not spending several billion… Read more »


Elliott – But is the Ford worth 3 times the cost of a QE Class. You never answered that little conundrum. Now as to faster – Maybe by 5 knots Refuelling – Well if its moving more weapons and aircraft fuel it will need more frequent RAS surely? And 4,500 crew will need 3 times the feeding of 1,600 on the QE. Plus you forgot all the Carrier Group ships are NOT nuclear powered, therefore will need RAS and no matter the speed of the carrier it only goes as fast as the slowest in its accompanying group. Ski Ramp… Read more »


In the USA, if you do not have health care, the hospitals still have to treat you, as far as obozo, his health care was a joke, he just created a bigger mess and increased the costs, all to claim that he helped the poor, it was a gimmick to get more votes, obozo wanted votes and what better way than to make many dependent on the government dole. If you need health care, you cant be denied. obozo and friends tried to gut the military, thankfully we are headed in a different direction now. I am sure with a… Read more »


Where to begin? Start with the Ford-class will use the F-35C not the F-35B meaning that it’s variant can carry a much heavier load. While I might STILL having a greater range. You are always giving up a lot of capabilities by buying a STOVL fighter. On defense being the escorts job. Yes that is their job provided they are still alive or not crippled. Considering how small a escort group is planned. Not much margin for casualties there. On the crew yes it needs more. Because the U.S. is not going to buy a automated munitions system. The Navy… Read more »

Barry Sheridan

Hard right Tory! This is not true, the Conservative party in the UK is socialist, it just a matter of degree.


True but not always.


I was more just using it as an example of partisanship. The Torys backbenchers are just the closest comparison to Republican.


Elliott – I will just pick up on one of your assumptions: “But I digress you seem to be a Marxist-Socialist and we will never agree” How wrong you are Old Son. But then as an American I guess you assume anyone who dares to question US policy is a Marxist? I am a true Blue old school campaigning Tory. Have been all my life and I am now 70. I also ‘did my bit’ so I need no lectures on the value of our, or indeed any, military. What has happened here is an American has done what they… Read more »


@Chris re: US healthcare – indeed.

The paradox is that in the US, if you have the money or the right insurance policy you can get the best care in the world. But nationally, it is still a stain on a great nation that so many US citizens needlessly die each year for want of proper healthcare. And as you have said, pointing this sad fact our does not make either of us marxists….

best Tim62


Chris, don’t worry about the costs involved in the Ford carrier program. We can afford it. Our carriers are nuclear powered because that is part of US Navy policy. Also our country spends the extra cash on nuclear powered carriers because we can afford it. It lessens the burden on logistics when replenishing the ships at sea. If our carriers were conventional they would need even more fuel to top off their tanks and our carriers would need to carry more fuel just for the ship let alone for other things like the aviation part. In other words it’s more… Read more »


pointers from you, don’t make me laugh, royal navy is 500 years old. Money does not win wars, Vietnam proved that!!


500 years and it’s tiny compared to the USN. How about that.
The United States Navy is unrivaled in history and in power. You barely have enough ships and you complain about it all the time here. How about that.


Obamacare was based on a Republican idea.

Nick Bowman

That’s all true. I’ve lived in both countries and can honestly say that healthcare is much better in the U.S. There’s nothing wrong with spending money on carriers, either. They are probably the #1 stick in the arsenal of democracy – heavily used to great effect since Midway.