Construction Begins on Navy's Newest Aircraft Carrier

Story Number: NNS110225-02Release Date: 2/25/2011 3:32:00 PM
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From Program Executive Office Aircraft Carriers Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Advance construction started on the nation's newest aircraft carrier Feb. 25 with a "first cut of steel" ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Newport News, Va.

The steel plate cut will be used in the construction of the carrier, which has yet to be named, but will be designated CVN 79.

The carrier represents the second in a new class of ships designed to replace Enterprise and Nimitz-class carriers and save more than $5 billion in total ownership costs during its planned 50-year service life when compared to Nimitz-class carriers.

"Today we mark the beginning of the advance construction of CVN 79, second of the Gerald R. Ford-class of aircraft carriers," said Rear Adm. Michael McMahon, Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Aircraft Carriers. "It's an important step in continuing carrier construction using advanced technologies and efficiencies to reduce both ownership and procurement cost in this new class of carriers."

Ford-class aircraft carriers, while retaining the same hull form as the Nimitz class, contain several advanced technology systems including Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching Systems, advanced arresting gear, dual band radar, a redesigned smaller island and a new propulsion plant. The first ship in the class, Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), is also under construction at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News and is scheduled to be delivered to the fleet in September 2015.

The PEO for Aircraft Carriers, an affiliated PEO of Naval Sea Systems Command, focuses on the design, construction, system integration, delivery and life-cycle support of all aircraft carriers.

For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit

3/26/2011 10:14:00 PM
If it's to be named after influential Americans, maybe USS Marilyn Monroe or USS Lady Gaga. I doubt the newer tradition of using great leaders will be abandoned mid-class, but the Enterprise namesakes have such a distinguished history I'd hate to see that name lost. Yorktown or Kitty Hawk or many of the other distinguished historical names mentioned here would also be great choices.

3/24/2011 9:05:00 PM
Please, no more names of politicians. If we are to name the next great fighting ship of this country, "USS America" or "USS United States of America" should be most appropriate. Naming it as such would generate a never-ending national pride and support!

3/9/2011 10:36:00 AM
Enterprise should be the only name under consideration. Other future carriers should be named: Lexington Hornet Midway Coral Sea Saratoga Ranger and the list goes onů Unfortunately, as lame as the Navy has been with ship names, by naming them for political reasons, (cough, Murtha, cough) it will go for some mediocre politican, at best.

3/7/2011 4:20:00 PM
I would disagree with naming her (YES I SAID "HER") Arizona. The name is taken by a ship that still proudly flies the American flag and still has most her crew still on board. I agree, no more politicians from the 20th or 21st centuries. My suggestions... USS Franklin (after CV13, the ship too tough to die) or USS Liberty. Another ship that was attacked and would not lower her colors and refused to sink. A bit prejudiced about Liberty since I was at 20 year CTM.

3/7/2011 10:55:00 AM
Jesse Helms? Seriously?

3/7/2011 10:08:00 AM
My sentimental favorite would be to see the name USS Lexington sail again, but under the circumstances, I have to vote USS Enterprise. Oh - and John Adams got sea sick.

3/7/2011 7:52:00 AM
I say we should get back to historical names and not recent presidents. I vote for Enterprise or Yorktown. If we want a strong never used name, then I think USS Grant would be great, but that would probably start a new north-south thing to name one after Robert E Lee, which I don't support.

3/6/2011 9:42:00 PM
I have to agree with several other posters, for the life of me I can not understand Gerold R Ford or George H.W. Bush ( I do however agree with the Ronald Reagen)or the other politicians with carriers named for them. I would wholheartedly agree with U.S.S. Ernest J. King or U.S.S. William F. Halsey I know there are ships named for them know. But please let the Navy come back to the great names of WWII CVN 79 U.S.S. ENTERPRISE.

3/6/2011 11:37:00 AM
I agree with many of the previous, no more politicians. CVN-79 should be named Enterprise.

3/6/2011 11:06:00 AM

3/6/2011 9:41:00 AM
If it was me, I would name her CORAL SEA

3/6/2011 9:19:00 AM
Its a no brainer. Name her ENTERPRISE. I never served onboard CVN-65 but its such a cool name and it was the first nuclear powered carrier soon to be retired. I agree with the majority here in not naming them after political figures anymore!!!

3/6/2011 6:33:00 AM
The tradition of Enterprise needs to continue, be it with 79 or 80. I completely agree with keeping the names away from current political figures, I would cringe if I had to serve aboard the William Jefferson Clinton. I think bringing back some of the traditional names would be great, Hornet gets my vote there. However since she will be the biggest and baddest NUCLEAR POWERED ship why not Hyman G. Rickover, the sub was decommissioned in 2006 and he is a significant Naval Historical Figure.

3/5/2011 11:55:00 PM
America is being used for a new LHA/LHD. I like JFK, Enterprise, Yorktown, Saratoga or Ranger. I agree we should stop naming them after 20th Century politicians.

3/5/2011 8:27:00 PM
How about the USS 911... Its different but means alot and has alot of meaning when the ship is out there...

3/5/2011 7:46:00 PM
Even before reading any of the suggestions, I thought The USS John F. Kennedy. If it were a tactical kind of title, I would name it the USS Mystic.

3/5/2011 11:20:00 AM
I think that the new ship should be named the USS Jesse Helms, due to his service to this country both as a US Navy Enlested Personnel in WW2 and 30 years in the US Senate.

3/5/2011 9:30:00 AM
We've got a DDG as John Paul Jones....but I think this ship should be named USS Ranger. CV 4 was the first ship designed and built from the keel up as an Aircraft Carrier, and CV "By God" 61 served our country proudly. My brother-in-law gave his life on Ranger in '83, and I made her last two cruises (Desert Storm and Southern Watch/Somalia).....I can' think of a better name.

3/5/2011 8:11:00 AM
Well I started this discussion on 2/27/2011 and I stated I'd vote for the name JOHN F. KENNEDY. But, now think I'd go with ENTERPRISE. I was a plank owner on the then CVA(N)65 on 11/25/1961, since the Navy is planning on decom of her in 2013, (by the way that was JFK, JR's first birthday, hence, one of the reasons why JFK did not go to the commissioning). Great DISCUSSIONS and some GREAT NAMES.

3/4/2011 8:13:00 PM
I agree with most of the people on this board that we should name the carrier after the WWII carrier names. Also, the USS Arizona would be good name as well. To the person that said they should name it after Clinton, get lost.

3/4/2011 4:55:00 PM

3/4/2011 3:42:00 PM
CVN-79 should be named Enterprise as there has been a ship named Enterprise sense the revolutionary war thru Today. Since CVN-65 will be retired long before CVN-78 is comissioned we should keep one of the longest naming traditons alive. Tradition and a honor for CV-6 and CVN-65 veterans that have served in almost every conflict since WW2.

3/4/2011 2:58:00 PM
I believe that all the previous names of carriers are good one's. But here are my choices for the new and powerful CVN-79 1. USS PLYMOUTH ROCK 2.USS MARK LEVIN 3. USS YORKTOWN 4.USS ENTERPRISE 5.USS MIDWAY. What ever is chosen,I'm sure it will stand-up to its name. May all who have served be remembered forever.

3/4/2011 10:04:00 AM
To - 3/2/2011 8:36:00 PM The reason I like that name is because it represents all the 52 states in America and it's people who paid for her with there hard earned money, andshe represents all of us as a whole. USS America, Washington I believe there are only 50 states, but I agree that it should be named USS America!!!!

3/4/2011 12:20:00 AM
I like USS John F. Kennedy too, OR how about USS Thomas Jefferson. Just a thought.

3/3/2011 10:58:00 PM
The new CVN -79 should be considered the Kitty Hawk or maybe the Forrestal since that was the first of the supercarriers that started it all.

3/3/2011 10:07:00 PM
I also go for the Coral Sea as the name as I proudly served on her 1961 to 63. I'm sure all know what the battle stood for and who was stopped and who was saved.

3/3/2011 3:44:00 PM
With the service life of CVN-65 is coming to a end, I vote to name CVN-79 the next USS Enterprise to always keep one of the greatest names in American Naval History in commission. After Enterprise, return to the classics, Lexington, Yorktown, Saratoga or Midway would all be excellent traditional carrier names to return to the Battle fleet. - Wright Sublette (GMG2)USS Austin LPD-4 87-91

3/3/2011 2:34:00 PM
John Paul Jones is a DDG currently so thats out. I think a new carrier should be named after our great nation. Lets go with America, or if it has to be a person then lets go with USS John Handcock, If its a Battle then I think it should be Lexington.

3/3/2011 2:13:00 PM
In keeping with current aircraft carrier naming convention, while honoring those in the past, I believe CV-79 should be the USS Thomas Jefferson. This would complete the Mt. Rushmore quartet; CVN-71, Roosevelt, CVN-72, Lincoln, CVN-73, Washington

3/3/2011 2:12:00 PM
I agree with most here, stop naming our great Carriers after Presidents. Navy tradition should stay that way, tradition! I prefer USS Midway but any of the former carrier names would hold true to tradition. Keep them alive. Or how about USS Shellback? Go Navy!!!

3/3/2011 2:11:00 PM
John Paul Jones is the name of an active DDG, I think the Sailors onboard would be a little miffed to have to decommission their ship. Chesty Puller has been honored with FFG-23 (now decommissioned). My vote is to use a storied ship name such as Intrepid, Saratoga, Forrestal, Coral Sea, Ranger, Hornet, etc. I suppose "Jeremy M. Boorda" would offend someone somewhere!

3/3/2011 12:40:00 PM
Something to consider when commenting about naming carriers after Presidents, vice heroes, battles, etc: - John F. Kennedy, WWII Naval Officer - W.H. Bush, WWII Naval Officer - G. Ford, WWWII Naval officer

3/3/2011 12:24:00 PM
USS INDEPENDENCE, USS FREEDOM or USS LIBERTY. Sorry, I don't fight for political hacks, regardless of their fame or infamy. I fight for the citizens and the ideals of our nation.

3/3/2011 10:57:00 AM
It the name of for the class just does not fit! This is like when they named the Seawolf after Jimmy Carter. Name it after a Navy Warfighter of the present or yester-year! Or a Naval Battle. IT just does not fit.

3/3/2011 10:55:00 AM
Wow, a brand new CVN for the nest 50? years. Does anyone out there really think that a CVN will be able to live while underway anywhere in the world in the nest 25years let alone the projected service life? Does anyone seriously believe that MANNED a/c will operate from her decks? Save even more billions by killing this dinosaur NOW and redirecting the funds to many smaller and cheaper vessels more suited to future wars at sea. MCPO(ret)

3/3/2011 9:48:00 AM
I would like to see it named USS Ranger, I was on that ship. However, I agree it should be named after Navy history. Hornet, Saratoga, Midway, Pearl Harbor. Just thinking of our history

3/3/2011 9:46:00 AM
If we have to go by naming ships after great battle, in my opinion it should be USS Midway. If we name if after living or dead US presidents, then John F. Kennedy is my choice.

3/3/2011 8:10:00 AM
I think the new ship should be named U.S.S. GseriesFAL in honor of a great American hero.

3/3/2011 2:27:00 AM
If the navy were to revert to tradition, and which service is more tied to tradition than the Navy, then I suggest Saratoga, Ranger, America or Constellation.

3/3/2011 2:04:00 AM
suggest calling this new ship AMERICA

3/3/2011 12:03:00 AM
I completely agree with the above statements, however do like this entry... USS John Adams.

3/2/2011 9:45:00 PM
CVN-79 should carry on the tradition of one of the Navy's great fighting ships. The names Yorktown, Saratoga and Hornet would honor the memory of those great carriers. If it must be named after a person, it would be more appropriate to honor the memory of one of the founding fathers. A carrier should not be a monument to a recent political figure. No more carrier should be named after politicians who held office during the lives of Americans now living

3/2/2011 8:36:00 PM
The reason I like that name is because it represents all the 52 states in America and it's people who paid for her with there hard earned money, andshe represents all of us as a whole.

3/2/2011 8:34:00 PM
The next ship CVN79 should be named one of those famous carriers in WW2. Like the Yorktown, Hornet, Intrepid or Lexington.

3/2/2011 8:27:00 PM
Since the ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) is now approaching the end of her service life, I propose CVN-79 carry on the Big E's legacy.

3/2/2011 8:23:00 PM
As the USS Enterprise, CV-6 was being cut up for scrap, a new carrier was being built at Newport News that would take the name Enterprise into the 21st century. As the current cruise of the USS Enterprise, CVN-65, is stated to be her last active duty tour, it would only be appropriate to pass this name on to CVN-79, building in the same yard as CVN-65.

3/2/2011 7:42:00 PM
We tried to get USS AMERICA for CVN-78, but that didn't fly. How about we give it to CVN-79 or 80? Barring that, I'm with Mike from TN: USS HORNET.

3/2/2011 6:45:00 PM
Why not the Enterprise as the current one was built in 1960 and will be retired soon? Can you think of a more appropriate and distinguished name? They even named starships after her. USN (ret.) Calif.

3/2/2011 6:32:00 PM
Since all recently commissioned aircraft carriers are named after U.S. Presidents, USS William Jefferson Clinton.

3/2/2011 5:57:00 PM
Aside from CVN-77 what carrier is currently named for a living President? I think all - including 77 - are accurately named for leaders that have contributed positively to our Navy (Stennis, Nimitz, and Vinson included). DDGs are still named after heroes. CGs after battles. LCSs after towns. The only naming I'd suggest is even remotely questionable would be LPD-26 but even that is debatable.

3/2/2011 5:36:00 PM
U.S.S Hope sounds good. For the Democrats it can conjure images of doves and olive branches and the Republicans can just think of Bob! ;)

3/2/2011 4:36:00 PM
start with the uss ford! now thats a mistake, what did he do? sure he was in the navy, but what did he do? and just think about he got to be the pres. because of a scandle. the ford should have been named the uss america! but now that that was taken for another new build, then it should have been named USS ENTERPRISE CVN78!and the lodgical name for the next carrier should be USS John F. Kennedy CVN79

3/2/2011 4:31:00 PM
As aircraft carriers are the capital ships of the US Navy, they should NOT be named for political figures. Rather, the nomenclature should be derived from either historically distinguished US Navy ships - especially previous aircraft carriers - or aircraft carrier battles. To that end, I would heartily endorse one of the following: Yorktown; Hornet; or, Midway.

3/2/2011 3:22:00 PM
I agree with returning to the proud and noble names our carriers used to have. I vote for restoring the USS Independence to the fleet. I was proud to serve aboard in the late 60's and have always felt there couldn't be a better name for a carrier than Independence.

3/2/2011 3:17:00 PM
I know it's an old destroyer name, but I like the USS John Paul Jones

3/2/2011 12:55:00 PM
I think that all ships should only be named after Men/women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, former ships names, and Navy/Marine Medal of Honor winners. Never name a ship after any politician living or dead.

3/2/2011 12:40:00 PM
If CVN-65 is to be decommissioned, my vote would be "Enterprise" in a future ship. The Lexington, Hornet, and Yorktown are all museum ships and thus honored. Since the Saratoga is scheduled for disposal soon, then that might be a possibility. "Benjamin Franklin" would be a great name and given that Ben Franklin was hero, statesman, and scientist and the CVN's represent all that.

3/2/2011 11:35:00 AM
May I suggest the following: - USS Columbus (after the "Tall Lady", CG-12. A very proud sailor on a very proud ship. - USS Cleveland (if not assigned to another ship). So many other cities have ships or boats named after them. And, there was Grover Cleveland...

3/2/2011 11:25:00 AM
I think the new carrier be named the CVAN Sacremento, the recently decommissioned ship and scrapped vessel deserves lots of consideration because she was the greatest of all the AOE's

3/2/2011 11:15:00 AM
I say name her Enterprise or Yorktown. Midway would also be a great choice for her name. Please for Gods sake stop naming them for presidents and congress members.

3/2/2011 10:52:00 AM

3/2/2011 10:49:00 AM
all those sound good except there was already once a john f kennedy.

3/2/2011 10:33:00 AM
No one name can more clearly signify the presence of an American fleet than USS America

3/2/2011 9:51:00 AM
I think we should continue the tradition of carriers being mnamed after presidents. I feel this is an honor aforeded all predidents for their service whether good or bad, dem. or repub.

3/2/2011 9:49:00 AM
I think the name should the Coral Sea. I served aboard the first one and should be afloat again.

3/2/2011 9:36:00 AM
I completely agree with the comment about losing tradition in naming ships and submarines. There is a petition online to name CVN 79 USS ENTERPRISE, which, although I agree with some of the other names mentioned in the posting (Yorktown, Hornet, Midway), I think a "new" BIG E would be great. The most famous ship in the Navy save the Constitution, it would be a sad day for our Navy not to have an ENTERPRISE. GO BIG E!

3/2/2011 6:32:00 AM
Name it Constellation!

3/2/2011 12:37:00 AM
the new aircraft carrier cvn79 should be named u.s.s Robert kennedy,adm. bull halesy,robert e lee,or stonewall jackson

3/1/2011 8:28:00 PM
The only President on Mount Rushmore that does't have an aircraft carrier named after him. It should be the USS Thomas Jefferson CVN 79.

3/1/2011 7:02:00 PM
How fitting it would be for the centennial of Naval Aviation for this ship to be named Langley. Of course, Saratoga, Yorktown, Lexington,and Hornet would make excellent sister ships.

3/1/2011 6:23:00 PM
In our current age where otherwise good officers are sent packing for sexual misconduct, I hardly believe that the name JFK would be appropriate. I would vote Enterprise for the new CVN.

3/1/2011 6:16:00 PM
Hornet is nice -- but with the pending decom of Enterprise CVN-79 should be the next Big E. w/r, SJS

3/1/2011 5:47:00 PM
The USS Constitution II, USS Yorktown, USS Robert E. Lee, USS Chesty Puller, USS Andrew Jackson would all be good names.

3/1/2011 5:00:00 PM
More than one on this forum have suggested the USS Hornet. I agree with this, Along with Yorktown.

3/1/2011 3:36:00 PM
USS John F Kennedy CVN-79 .... You retired 67 too early ... now it is time to renew her name !!!

2/28/2011 2:55:00 PM
Unfortunately, all recently commissioned aircraft carriers have been named after U.S. Presidents, alive or deceased. It appears tht the U.S. Navy has bowed to political pressure rather than return to the time honored system of naming our ships after heroes, famous battles or memorable ships of the line. In that sense, I nominate that the newly designated CVN-79 be named and commissioned in the name of the USS Hornet, an honored name of several ships that have served our nation.

2/28/2011 2:16:00 PM
Please name the new carrier, U.S.S.Hornet. It was a great ship and deserves to be reborn again. Thanks

2/27/2011 9:29:00 PM
Ideas for naming the next CVN. I believe naming a ship should be tied to history, that envokes thoughts of power or naval significance/ significant battle. I think naming ships after living presidents is to political and the navy should no longer do such things. Suggestions for the new carrier: 1. Yorktown 2. Saratoga 3. Ulysses S. Grant 4. John Lehman 5. John F. Kennedy 6. John Adams 7. Benjamin Franklin 8. Ernest King 9. Henry Stimson 10. Midway

2/27/2011 11:58:00 AM
If there was a vote on the new undesignated CVN 79, I'd vote: JOHN F. KENNEDY.

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One of the first pieces of steel is cut for the second ship in the Gerald R. Ford class, CVN 79, during a ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding.
110225-O-XX000-001 NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Feb. 25, 2011) One of the first pieces of steel is cut for the second ship in the Gerald R. Ford class, CVN 79, during a ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. (Photo courtesy of Northup Grumman Shipbuilding by John Whalen/Released)
February 28, 2011
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