The contract will pay for design, engineering and purchase of some materials, according to news releases issued Monday from the company and Defense Department. Work will be performed at HII's Newport News Shipbuilding division, the sole manufacturer of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers for the U.S. Navy.
Construction on Enterprise is set to begin in 2018, and it will be delivered to the Navy in 2027. Enterprise will eventually replace the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Nimitz-class ship.
Newport News is building two other Ford-class carriers. The first-in-class Gerald R. Ford is nearly complete and should be delivered to the Navy later this year. The future USS John F. Kennedy is under construction. Earlier this month, HII CEO Mike Petters told analysts that the Kennedy is "not quite 20 percent complete."
Congress is pushing the Navy -- and by extension, the shipyard -- to keep a handle on costs in the Ford carrier program. Mike Shawcross, a company vice president, said in the news release that workers have learned a great deal from building Ford and Kennedy, and they plan to incorporate those lessons in Enterprise.