NEWPORT NEWS, Va. --- Huntington Ingalls Industries announced today that structural production of the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is 75 percent complete.
The lead ship in the new class of carriers has been under construction at the company's Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division since November 2009. It is on track to meet its scheduled launch in 2013 and delivery to the U.S. Navy in 2015.
The first piece of the aircraft carrier flight deck was erected April 7. The 717-metric ton unit includes combat systems and electronics spaces.
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, outfitting is installed, and the large unit is lifted into the dry dock. Of the 495 total structural lifts needed to complete the ship, 372 have been accomplished.
"This is a significant milestone in the ship's construction and reflects the hard work and dedication of the shipbuilders on the CVN78 program," said Rolf Bartschi, vice president of the CVN 78 Program. "The next seven months will be transformational as the Gerald R. Ford takes its final shape."
About 958 feet of the ship's total 1,098-foot length is in dry dock, and the ship has been built up to the flight deck, which is about 100 feet above the baseline. About 32,000 tons of the Gerald R. Ford's total steel weight of 48,000 tons is currently in the dry dock.
About 2,600 shipbuilders are working on the ship today, and manpower is expected to peak at 3,000 before Gerald R. Ford is completed. As with all aircraft carriers built by NNS, suppliers from more than 40 states across the nation, representing more than 24,000 jobs, are contributing to Gerald R. Ford's construction.
Gerald R. Ford is the first in a class of next-generation aircraft carriers. It features a new nuclear power plant, a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapults, improved weapons movement, an enhanced flight deck capable of increased aircraft sortie rates, and growth margin for future technologies and reduced manning.
Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) designs, builds and maintains nuclear and non-nuclear ships for the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard and provides after-market services for military ships around the globe. For more than a century, HII has built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. Employing nearly 38,000 in Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana and California, its primary business divisions are Newport News Shipbuilding and Ingalls Shipbuilding.