NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) -- As the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) is decommissioned after 55 years of naval service, preparation is moving forward on its successor.
Shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries says it has been awarded an additional $25.5 million to an existing advance planning contract for the third Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier, which will also be named Enterprise.
Huntington Ingalls originally expected to receive $500 million in advanced funding for the Enterprise (CVN 80), but a Continuing Resolution passed by Congress in December delayed that money to a future budget cycle.
While the $25.5 million isn't nearly all of the money the shipbuilder had hoped to receive, it will allow for advance work on the Enterprise to proceed, such as beginning fabrication of structural components and sub-components.
"This is an important step in getting this next Ford-class ship off to a great start, as it allows us to continue implementation of lessons learned, and the initial steel work will allow us to utilize our aircraft carrier steel production line in an efficient manner,” said Mike Shawcross, Newport News’ vice president, CVN 79 and CVN 80 construction.
Construction of the Enterprise will not actually begin until 2018. Ahead of the Enterprise are the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) -- which should be commissioned later this year -- and the John F. Kennedy (CVN 79).