The U.S. Navy will christen the newest Ford-class aircraft carrier, the future John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), during a 11 a.m. EST ceremony Saturday, Dec. 7 at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News, Virginia.
The ceremony involved in naming and launching a naval vessel is based in traditions thousands of years old. Ancient Mediterranean shipbuilders accompanied the launching of their ships with religious ceremonies invoking favor over the ship and her sailors. Today, the tradition has evolved into a ceremony that honors the individuality of the ship and the life ahead of her. The Ship’s Sponsor proclaims, “In the name of the United States I christen thee…” and shatters a ceremonial bottle of American sparkling wine against the bow of the new ship.
Caroline Kennedy, President John F. Kennedy’s daughter and sponsor of his namesake ship, will smash a bottle of American sparkling wine across the ship’s hull on Saturday, Dec. 7, to christen the aircraft carrier.
The future John F. Kennedy, designated CVN 79, is the second Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier being built for the United States Navy. Like its forerunner CVN 78, Kennedy is a truly electric aircraft carrier, with many of the systems powered by steam on Nimitz-class carriers now powered by electricity.
The ship is equipped with two newly-designed reactors and has 250 percent more electrical capacity than previous carriers. The improvements will allow the ship to load weapons and launch aircraft faster than ever before.
Kennedy is the most efficient aircraft carrier ever designed, enabling the U.S. Navy to operate the ship with less manpower – saving the Navy more than $4 billion over the ship’s 50-year life.
Kennedy weigh nearly 100,000 tons – as much as 400 Statues of Liberty.
When delivered, Kennedy will be a “floating city,” capable of accommodating 4,660 personnel and 75 aircraft.