News Shipbuilding Completes Flight Deck On Aircraft Carrier Gerald R.
Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced April 15, 2013 that the
flight deck of the nuclear-powered
aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford is complete following the addition
of the ship's upper bow section on April 9 at Newport News Shipbuilding
(NNS). The upper bow extends the overall length of the carrier to its
full size, which is 1,106 feet—equal to a 75-story building lying
on its side.
NEWS, Va (April 9, 2013) The flight deck of the nuclear-powered aircraft
carrier Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is completed
with the addition of the upper bow. The bow weighs 787 metric tons and
brings Gerald R. Ford to 96 percent structural completion. (U.S. Navy
photo courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc./Released)
Weighing 787 metric
tons and comprising 19 steel sections, the addition of the upper bow
brings Ford to 96 percent structural completion. The carrier construction
team began construction on the upper bow unit in December 2011. Ford
has been under construction since November 2009.
"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."
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, equipment is installed, and the large units are
lifted into the dry dock. The upper bow unit is the 475th unit erected
out of 496 used to build the carrier. It also is the 160th superlift
to erect out of the 162 scheduled. It joins the lower bow section
that was set into place on May 24, 2012, in the dry dock. The lifts
are accomplished using the shipyard's 1,050-metric ton gantry crane,
one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere.
Gerald R. Ford represents the next-generation class of aircraft carriers.
The first-in-class ship features a new nuclear power plant, a redesigned
island, electromagnetic catapults, improved weapons movement, an enhanced
flight deck capable of increased aircraft sortie rates, growth margin
for future technologies and $4 billion reduced total ownership cost
compared to a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. The ship is scheduled
to launch later this year.