The future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN78) has reached 75 per cent structural completion with the erection of the first piece of the flight deck in early April. The 717-tonne unit containing combat systems and electronics spaces became the 372nd of 495 modules to be fitted to the ship, which now towers 100 ft above the dock bottom. Around 32,000 tonnes of the ship’s total projected steel weight of 48,000 tonnes is now in place.
The lead ship of the US Navy’s next class of aircraft carriers has been under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding since November 2009. It will feature a new nuclear power plant, a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapults, an enhanced flight deck capable of increased aircraft sortie rates, and a growth margin for future technologies and reduced manning.