Nov. 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has awarded a $315 million contract to Huntington-Ingalls Industries for single-phase delivery of the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79).
The $315 million award provides the shipbuilding company initial funding for procurement of long-lead material and planning for the Kennedy.
The Kennedy, the second ship in the new Gerald R. Ford-class of aircraft carrier, is about 76% complete, and is undergoing outfitting and testing at the company's Newport News Shipbuilding division.
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is expected to receive its "USS" designation when it is formally commissioned in 2022, and is currently referred to as CVN 79.
The award is a modification to a previously awarded contract for the shipbuilding company in Newport News, Va., to shift delivery strategy for the CVN 79 from the originally planned two phases to one phase.
The shift is designed "to meet both Fleet requirements and a congressional mandate of ensuring that CVN 79 is capable of deploying Joint Strike Fighter (F-35C) aircraft before completing the post-shakedown availability," the U.S. Department of Defense said Monday.
The single-phase delivery date is set for June 30, 2024, according to the announcement.
"We are pleased to have worked with the Navy to adopt lessons learned in the construction of the USS Gerald R. Ford to improve cost, production and planning efficiencies on Kennedy," Lucas Hicks, Newport News vice president of new construction aircraft carrier programs, said in a statement.
"We believe that the single-phase approach ensures the most effective build plan for all remaining work and provides the best value for the Navy by supporting its ability to accelerate operational deployment of this maritime force asset," Hicks said.
Huntington Ingalls Industries added that the action resulted from extensive work with the Navy to support legislative requirements for Kennedy to be delivered with its complete warfare system, including F-35 Joint Strike Fighter capabilities, before the ship is commissioned into the fleet.