Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, is using a unique superlift to construct the U.S. Navy's second Ford-class aircraft carrier.
The aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy, designated CVN 79 by the Navy, has been under construction since August 2015. HII officials say they are applying lessons learned from constructing the first vessel of the Ford class, the eponymous USS Gerald R. Ford.
"For Kennedy, increased pre-outfitting puts into practice one of many lessons learned from Gerald R. Ford," Newport News Vice President Mike Shawcross said in a press release. "This superlift will erect the first portion of hangar bay."
Work on the first Ford-class aircraft carrier began in 2005, however the program has experienced several delays and cost overruns. The U.S. Navy expects the vessel's delivery in April.
According to HII, John F. Kennedy is 25 percent complete, and its construction will require 445 lifts, 51 fewer than Ford. The aircraft carrier is scheduled to be launched in 2020, and delivered to the Navy in 2022.
The Ford-class carriers are slated to replace the Navy's existing Nimitz-class carriers, and feature new technologies such as the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System.