VIDEO: Newport News Shipbuilding marks CVN 80 construction milestone

Written by Marine Log Staff
aircraft carrier keel laying ceremony group

L to R: Welder Jonathan Rishor, Newport News Shipbuilding president Jennifer Boykin, Enterprise (CVN 80) sponsor Katie Ledecky, and welder Ephony King at HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division. Rishor and King welded initials of Ledecky and Enterprise (CVN 80) co-sponsor Simon Biles onto steel plates during the ceremonial keel laying Saturday, August 27, 2022. The plates will be affixed to the Ford-class aircraft carrier. [Photo by Ashley Cowan/HII]

Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE: HII) celebrated the ceremonial keel-laying of the aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN 80) at its Newport News Shipbuilding division on July 27

U.S. Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky are the ship’s sponsors. Ledecky attended in person, while Biles participated via video, as the pair marked the important first milestone in construction of the aircraft carrier.

During the ceremony, the sponsors’ initials were welded onto a steel plate that will be permanently affixed to the ship, signifying the sponsors’ enduring relationship with the shipbuilders and crew.

In remarks at the ceremony, Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven stressed the significance of aircraft carriers, calling upon shipbuilders to recognize the importance of what they build.

“Our aircraft carriers would not be possible without the designers and builders right here at Newport News Shipbuilding,” Raven said. “Every team member here at Newport News can be certain that each cut of steel, every wrench turned, and every challenge encountered to build her were steps toward strengthening our naval and national greatness — especially when this ship sails the open seas to protect our nation’s interests.”

“These hardworking women and men take 100,000 tons of steel and technology and make it not only float, but serve as home, workplace, and shield for our Navy’s sailors,” said Newport News Shipbuilding president Jennifer Boykin. “Shipbuilding takes discipline, precision, and an unrelenting drive for excellence, which we can never let falter because our sailors and their families depend on us.”

CVN 80 is 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 to support increased operational efficiency, and growth margin for future technologies.

Enterprise is the first aircraft carrier not only designed digitally, but also being built digitally using visual work instructions on laptops and tablets rather than paper drawings.

Enterprise is the first of a two-carrier block buy for the Navy, with work also underway at NNS on the second, Doris Miller (CVN 81).

  • More on Enterprise HERE
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