Huntington Ingalls Industries announced Monday a milestone in the construction of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) with the addition of the ship’s upper bow section at Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) in Virginia.
The upper bow completes the ship’s flight deck and extends the overall length of the carrier to its full size, which measures 1,106 feet.
“Placement of the upper bow gives our entire shipbuilding team a great sense of accomplishment,” said Rolf Bartschi, NNS’ vice president, CVN 78 carrier construction. “We have now structurally erected the flight deck to its full length.”
The 787 metric ton upper bow, which is made up of 19 steel sections, was lifted into place on April 9th using NNS’s 1,050-metric ton gantry crane, one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere. Here’s some video of the lift:
Gerald R. Ford is being built using modular construction, a process where smaller sections of the ship are welded together to form large structural units. Once equipment is installed, the large units are then lifted into the dry dock.
The upper bow unit is the 475th unit erected out of a total 496 to be used in the construction of the carrier. It also is the 160th superlift out of the 162 scheduled and joins the lower bow section that was set into place on May 24, 2012.
The carrier construction team began construction on the upper bow unit in December 2011. Ford has been under construction since November 2009.