Huntington Ingalls Industries to build 2 aircraft carriers for the U.S. Navy

Huntington Ingalls (Shipbuilding) Industries has been awarded a $26 Billion contract to build the third (CVN 80) and fourth (CVN 81) Ford-class aircraft carriers for the U.S. Navy. With this block buying contract, the Navy is expected to spare $4 Billion.

Ford class USS Gerald R. Ford CVN 78 at Norfolk in 2017 Ford-class USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) at Norfolk in 2017 (Picture source : U.S. Navy)

The Ford-class has been created to replace the Nimitz class of carriers. Therefore, it has been equipped with a new reactor and propulsion plants, a new island and an advanced arresting gear (reducing manning). In addition to these improvements, these aircraft carriers can support up to 75 aircraft and up to 4.500 sailors onboard.

These vessels are also equipped with an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), flight deck extensions, two new radars and weapons elevators (reducing manning and maintenance costs).

This nuclear-powered class of aircraft carriers can also be armed with 2 RIM-162 ESSM launchers (16 missiles each), 2 RIM-116 RAM launchers (21 missiles each), 2 PHALANX 20mm Close In Weapon Systems (CIWS) and 4 M2 12.7mm Machine Guns.

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