The Navy awarded a $5.1 billion contract to Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., to design and build the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), the lead ship in the Navy's newest class of aircraft carrier.
"When USS Gerald R. Ford is delivered to the fleet in 2015, it will bring warfighting capability and meaningful quality-of-life improvements for sailors, in addition to greatly reduced lifecycle costs," says Navy Capt. Brian Antonio, CVN 78 program manager in the program executive office for aircraft carriers.
CVN 78 is the Navy's first major investment in aircraft carrier design in more than three decades and features many improvements over the 1960s Nimitz-class design. CVN 78 includes a flight deck with an improved weapons handling system, advanced arresting gear, a re-engineered Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System, and simplified nuclear propulsion plants, a electrical power generation system and reconfigurable design architecture.
CVN 78 will be built in Newport News, Va. The keel is scheduled to be laid in late 2009, and the ship is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in 2015. The Navy plans to build 11 Ford-class aircraft carriers, and construction of Ford-class aircraft carriers is projected to continue through 2058.