NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Oct. 29, 2019)--Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) today began flooding the dry dock at its Newport News Shipbuilding division where the keel of aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) was laid in 2015.

The controlled process of slowly filling the dry dock with more than 100 million gallons of water takes place over several days, and marks the first time the ship has been in water.

“The flooding of the dry dock is truly a historic event in the construction of the ship and a special moment for the men and women who have worked to get the ship to the point,” said Mike Butler, program director for Kennedy. “We have made remarkable progress with Kennedy’s construction, and are pleased to get to this phase of construction three months ahead of the original schedule and fewer man hours. We look forward to the upcoming christening and launch as we prepare to start our testing program.”

The flooding of the dry dock takes place in phases during which various tests are conducted. The dock initially was flooded about 10 feet high to its keel blocks, wood-capped concrete pads on which the ship has been supported during construction. Once the dock is fully flooded and initial testing is complete, the ship will be floated to the west end of the dry dock. Next month, additional tests will take place prior to Kennedy’s christening on Dec. 7.

More than 3,200 shipbuilders and 2,000 suppliers from across the country are supporting the construction of Kennedy. Following the christening, Kennedy will undock into the James River where outfitting and testing of the ship's systems will continue until the ship is delivered to the U.S. Navy in 2022.

Follow Kennedy on social media using #CVN79.

About Huntington Ingalls Industries

Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of professional services to partners in government and industry. For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. HII’s Technical Solutions division provides a wide range of professional services through its Fleet Support, Mission Driven Innovative Solutions, Nuclear & Environmental, and Oil & Gas groups. Headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, HII employs more than 41,000 people operating both domestically and internationally. For more information, visit: