Photo by Ashley Cowan

Shipbuilders Complete Another Kennedy Milestone

Published July 27, 2021

Shipbuilders recently installed an antenna platform on John F. Kennedy (CVN 79). The structure is part of the aircraft carrier’s combat suite and will support future satellite communications.

Newport News Shipbuilding tugboat crews, shipfitters, crane operators, riggers and welders completed the installation using four barges.

“Foresight and prep work were instrumental to ensure the safety of our co-workers and achieve first time quality while erecting platforms to support combat systems.” said Mike Manso, a foreman who was involved with the project. “Hats off to everyone who helped make it happen.”

A crane, supported by a barge, lifted the 18-ton platform toward the ship’s port side, where shipbuilders on lift equipment aligned the structure in place. The platform was then welded onto the ship.

“The amount of barge work, number of barges, and complexity of lifting an 18-ton platform in 3-foot seas presented a number of unique challenges and safety precautions,” said Matt Perry, a construction supervisor. “We had to post watches on the bow to alert craftsmen of incoming wake from large vessels traveling along the river. These shipbuilders truly are world class. This was a showcase example of hard stuff done right.”

The antenna platform installation usually happens during post-shakedown availability (PSA). However, after contract revisions last year changing CVN 79’s two-phase delivery approach to a single phase, the aircraft carrier will be delivered to the Navy with its complete warfare system, including F-35 Joint Strike Fighter capabilities, before the ship is commissioned into the fleet.

Watch a time-lapse video of the antenna platform installation on MyNNS.