Design work on the Gerald R. Ford
class of aircraft carrier is underway at Northrop Grumman Newport News with the full construction contract anticipated in 2008. Newport News is designing the Ford class using a product model tool called CATIA, the most technologically advanced system in use today in the shipbuilding industry.
Innovations for the Ford
class include an enhanced flight deck with increased sortie rates, improved weapons movement, a redesigned island, a new nuclear power plant, allowance for future technologies and reduced manning. These and many other evolutionary new designs are being developed by Newport News engineers to build the most capable aircraft carriers for the U.S. Navy.
Advance construction is beginning in 2005 for the first ship of the class, CVN 78. This advance work will allow shipbuilders to test the design-build strategy before overall construction begins in 2008. Each carrier of the class is valued at approximately $8 billion. On Aug. 11, 2005, Northrop Grumman Newport News hosted a ceremonial steel cut and grand opening ceremony for one of several new facilities that will support Ford
class construction. The ceremony was held in the shipyard’s new Heavy Plate Bay.
The Ford class CVN will be slightly larger than a Nimitz class CVN.