After Gerald R. Ford Commissions, Production Timeline Set for Future CVNs
By JOHN C. MARCARIO, Seapower Special Correspondent
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The U.S. Navy has been looking at how to support, and sustain, an expanding aircraft carrier fleet, Capt. Doug Oglesby, CVN 79/80 program manager, said during a floor address at the 2017 Sea-Air-Space Exposition.
There currently are 10 carriers in the fleet. The Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding-built Gerald R. Ford will be commissioned later this year, increasing the carrier number to 11.
John F. Kennedy, which is under construction, would increase the fleet to 12, but that number will then dip once again to 11 three years later when USS Nimitz turns 50 and is taken out of the fleet. Enterprise is slated to be delivered around 2025, and would once again being the number of carriers up to 12, but decommissioning schedules for other carriers could again alter that.
While President Donald J. Trump has expressed his desire to increase the carrier fleet, Oglesby did not address specifics beyond what currently is being built, and the feasibility studies the Navy is looking into.
“The industrial base can support it … the president supports it,” Oglesby said.
Oglesby said Kennedy, or CVN 79, is 27 percent complete, but progressing well. It is projected to be delivered in 2020.
“We still have a lot of work to do to complete the ship,” he said.
The carrier is projected to cost around $11.4 billion, Oglesby said.
Although there have been delays and cost overruns with Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), the production timeline for CVN 79 and Enterprise (CVN 80) are pretty set, as procurement plans have been established on them.
The captain said the next chance to accelerate production on an aircraft carrier would be on CVN 81.
Enterprise is off to a “great start,” he said, adding that they are executing advance procurement on the ship.