Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding division has released the John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier into the water as the firm moves forward with the ship's development more than a week after christening.
The ship, also known as CVN 79, moved from an NNS-owned drydock into Virginia's James River with the help of six tugboats, HII said Tuesday.
NNS' third designated pier now holds the Gerald R. Ford-class ship for further outfitting and early testing. The tests will commence three months ahead of schedule.
“This move is significant in that it represents a shift in focus from erecting the ship in dock to final completion and outfitting at the pier,“ said Mike Butler, CVN 79's program director.
HII will install habitability spaces and test various ship systems over a timeline of two and a half years. The Navy expects the carrier's delivery in 2022.