- Associated Press - Saturday, June 6, 2015

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) - Newport News Shipbuilding has been awarded a nearly $4.3 billion contract by the Navy to ramp up its work on the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy.

The division of Huntington Ingalls Industries announced Friday that it has received a $3.35 billion detail design and construction contract, The Daily Press reports (http://bit.ly/1HShwcm). It also will receive $941 million added to a previously awarded contract.

The Kennedy is the second ship in the Gerald R. Ford class, which is the Navy’s latest class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

Newport News Shipbuilding said the money will allow it to increase its work on the Kennedy while providing a measure of stability for Virginia’s largest industrial employer.

The Navy originally planned to award the detail design and construction contract in September 2013, but decided to wait so the shipyard could incorporate lessons learned from building the first-in-class Gerald R. Ford. That ship ran 22 percent over original estimates.

“Optimally, we’re a couple of years late in signing that contract, but for all good reasons,” Huntington Ingalls Industries President and CEO Mike Petters said.

The Kennedy is being built under a fixed-price contract, with the cost cap mandated by Congress now at $11.5 billion.

Rear Adm. Thomas More, the Navy’s program executive officer for aircraft carriers, said in a statement that improvements to construction plans and implementation will reduce construction hours by 18 percent and lower the ship’s cost by almost $1 billion compared to the Ford. He said the Navy will meet the congressional cost cap.

The shipyard has performed work on the carrier since 2009.

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Information from: Daily Press, http://www.dailypress.com/

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