NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — Northrop Grumman Corp. on Wednesday said it was awarded a $186.6 million contract modification from the U.S. Navy to continue engineering and design for the USS Gerald R. Ford, a nuclear powered aircraft carrier now under construction.
The official kickoff ceremony for construction of the $7 billion carrier named for the 38th president was held in November.
Northrop's shipbuilding unit is the prime contractor on the project.
The carrier, scheduled for delivery to the Navy in 2015, will be the first in the Ford-class series in honor of Ford's service in the Navy. It represents the first major carrier design change since the 1960s, when the 10-ship Nimitz class was introduced.
The latest contract modification funds additional design, planning and system integration activities and analysis. Northrop said the effort is now focused on the production of instructions for the ship assembly.
The design will allow for more flights and improvements that will reduce the workload for sailors, enabling the ship to operate with a smaller crew size than existing carriers.
Northrop shares closed Wednesday's trading up 86 cents at $65.75.