The Navy confirmed it is cannibalizing parts from an aircraft carrier under construction and putting them on the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) so it can deploy on time in 2021.

Navy spokesman Capt. Clay Doss told Defense Daily that some parts slated for the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) are being shifted to “augment CVN-78 readiness while it is in a maintenance availability.”

USNI News first reported the issue on Nov. 15.

Doss said this process is outlined in the Navy’s Joint Fleet Maintenance Manual as a project management tool for “many different types of Navy programs” that allows for parts and materials to shift between vessels in maintenance and/or in construction on a case-by-case basis.

“It occurred only after confirming the parts or materials were not available in the supply system and/or that alternate sources were not available.  A replacement plan was also required in each case,” he said.

Doss said none of the parts transferred from CVN-79 to CVN-78 are projected to impact the Kennedy’s construction schedule. 

Doss said parts being moved include Human Machine Interface (HMI) screens for stores elevators, motor controllers, power supplies, small pumps, limit switches and valve actuators for various systems.

“This is not unusual early in a program and will occur less often as supply support matures,” he continued.

Separately, Duane Bourne, a spokesman for carrier shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding [HII], told Defense Daily this is a “common shipbuilding practice for the first ship in class is to share parts between ships in order to maximize readiness until a class-wide supply system is established.”

He argued that a “relatively small volume of materials” from CVN-79 has been used on CVN-78 “without impacting schedules.”

“We are working with our Navy customer to build a supply system to include spare parts for the Ford class,” Bourne continued.

The Ford finished Full Ship Shock Trials in August and is currently undergoing a six-month Planned Incremental Availability to assess and fix any damage from the shock trials and continue remaining modernization and sustainment work before the ship is deployed in 2022 (Defense Daily, Aug. 10).

Last year, the Navy awarded HII a $315 million modification to deliver the Kennedy in 2024 as a single-phase delivery, a change from earlier plans for a dual-phase delivery (Defense Daily, Nov. 3, 2020).