Huntington Ingalls Industries division Newport News Shipbuilding has scheduled a ceremonial keel-laying for the US Navy’s third Gerald R Ford-class aircraft carrier.
The beginning of construction for the Enterprise (CVN 80) will be held on August 27. The vessel is the ninth US Navy vessel to bear the name Enterprise. The first was a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (CVN 65) also built by Ingalls.
Ship sponsor Katie Ledecky is expected to attend the ceremony, while fellow Olympic gold medalist and co-sponsor Simone Biles will participate virtually. The event will also be attended by shipbuilders from Ingalls Newport News and officials from the US Navy and the local government.
The first steel-cutting ceremony for the CVN 80 was held in 2017.
Enterprise is the first aircraft carrier to be designed and built digitally, including laser scanning, augmented reality, and “transitioning from traditional two-dimensional paper-based instructions to digital formats.”
The vessel will feature electromagnetic catapults, a nuclear power plant, enhanced weapons, and an improved flight deck for various aerial units.
USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78), the first of the class, was commissioned in 2017.
The Ford-class carriers will replace some of the older Nimitz-class ships that have been commissioned since 1975.