Newport News Shipbuilding has laid the keel of the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) on August 22. The vessel is the second ship of the Gerald R. Ford class. (Read “Linear Motor Aircraft Launch System Takes the Steam Out of Catapults.”)

The ship is designed to save the Navy $4 billion in total ownership cost over the ship's 50-year lifespan, with fewer overall components, extended dry docking interval and improved ship-wide air conditioning.

The new class is also designed to generate 25% more flight missions per day on its five-acre flight deck. Weighing nearly 100,000 tons, the John F. Kennedy will be capable of reaching speeds in excess of 35 knots.

The shipyard is building the first two ships of the Ford class. The first ship, Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), was launched in 2013. Construction on the second ship, John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), began in 2011.

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