A minor fire broke out abroad the U.S. Navy’s under-construction aircraft carrier, the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), on July 20, according to reports.
The nuclear-powered supercarrier, which is the second of the Gerald R. Ford-class, was docked at Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding’s facility in Newport News, Virginia when the incident occurred.
According to Huntington Ingalls, the vessel was evacuated at around 10:15 a.m. after a fire was reported. Emergency personnel responded to the fire quickly and extinguished it with the shipyard officials calling the incident a minor one.
The work aboard the carrier was suspended for a time as the ship was ventilated, with the heat index above 100 degrees, said a WFXR news report.
Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) said it is investigating the cause of the fire.
Fire Abroad USS Bonhomme Richard
A massive our-day fire which recently broke abroad the Navy’s Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) caused extensive damages to the billion dollar vessel. The vessel was undergoing pier-side maintenance at Naval Base San Diego when the incident occurred.
Rear Admiral Philip E. Sobeck, Commander of Expeditionary Strike Group THREE (ESG-3), said in a press conference Thursday that all known fires have been extinguished abroad the vessel. He said that the Navy is yet to ascertain the origin of the fire and the extent of the damage.
In total, 63 personnel, including 40 U.S. Navy Sailors and 23 civilians, were treated for minor injuries including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation in the incident.
Minor Fire Abroad USS Kearsarge
A small fire was also recently reported abroad Bonhomme Richard’s sister ship USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) while it was undergoing Selected Restricted Availability (SRA) at General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia.
The incident started when a spark from welding landed on nearby material, which was then quickly put out by the fire watch.
Future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79)
The future USS John F. Kennedy, now designated Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), is the second aircraft carrier of the Gerald R. Ford-class, slated to replace USS Nimitz (CVN 68) when that ship is decommissioned.
CVN 79 is the second carrier to honor President John F. Kennedy for a lifetime of service to the nation. The president wore the uniform of our nation as a Navy lieutenant during World War II and served as the 35th President of the United States, from January 1961 to November 1963.
HII launched the carrier into the James River on Dec. 16, 2019. The vessel is currently undergoing the next phase of construction, which is expected to take about two and a half years. During this phase, habitability spaces, such as berthing and mess areas, will be completed, and distributive, mechanical and combat systems, such as catapults and radar arrays, will be tested.
At 1,092 feet in length and 100,000 tons, CVN 79 incorporates advances in technology, such as a new propulsion system, electric plant, Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), machinery control, radars, and integrated warfare systems. These innovations will support a 33% higher sortie generation rate at significant cost savings when compared to Nimitz-class carriers. The Gerald R. Ford-class also offers a significant reduction—approximately $4 billion per ship—in life cycle operations and support costs compared to the earlier Nimitz class.
Kennedy is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in 2022.
Once commissioned, John F. Kennedy, along with its embarked air wing and other strike group assets, will provide the core capabilities of forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, maritime security, and humanitarian assistance.