Multimedia Release -- Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Aircraft Carrier's Primary Hull
Structure Reaches 100 Percent Completion
NEWPORT NEWS, Va., May 8, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Huntington Ingalls
Industries' (NYSE:HII) Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division hoisted the
last piece of primary structure onto the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) on Tuesday. The lift was the last of 162 superlifts
and brings more than three years of structural erection work to a close.
Final Ford Superlift
Newport News Shipbuilding's
1,050-metric ton gantry crane lifted
the forward end of one of aircraft
carrier Gerald R. Ford's (CVN 78)
catapults into place Tuesday, bringing
more than three years of structural
erection work to a close.
A photo accompanying this release is available at
B-roll video accompanying this release is available at
Susan Ford Bales, the ship's sponsor and daughter of the late President Gerald
R. Ford and Betty Ford, was unable to participate in the construction
milestone but wrote a letter of appreciation to shipbuilders.
"Your final superlift for the carrier might seem to be just a part of an
ordinary work day at the shipyard, but this superlift is anything but
ordinary," she wrote. "Completing the structure of the Ford is a significant
achievement and a shining example of the extraordinary skills of you
shipbuilders. It also brings us one step closer to delivery of the carrier to
the Navy and honoring Dad's remarkable legacy of service to our nation as a
naval officer in World War II and as commander-in-chief."
The unit is the forward end of one of the ship's catapults, which are used to
launch aircraft from the ship. Weighing 66 metric tons, the unit is 75 feet
long and comprises four steel sections. 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 using the shipyard's 1,050-metric ton
gantry crane, one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere.
"Although the unit itself is relatively small, it is an enormous achievement
in the life of this aircraft carrier and in our journey to christen and launch
CVN 78 this fall," said Rolf Bartschi, NNS' vice president, CVN 78 carrier
construction. "I am extremely proud of the hard work and commitment
demonstrated by our shipbuilders who have made this important accomplishment
Another shipbuilder who contributed to the milestone is John Mazach, a retired
Navy vice admiral who served as vice president of business development at NNS
from 2004 to 2008. Mazach, who called the order that initiated the lift, was
instrumental in securing the first commitment and funding for the Ford-class
Remaining work on the ship prior to launch includes hull painting, shafting
work, completion of electrical systems, mooring equipment, installation of
radar arrays, and flooding of the dry dock. Ford has been under construction
since November 2009.
"As the first new-design aircraft carrier in more than 40 years, the Gerald R.
Ford class will begin to succeed Nimitz-class carriers when CVN 78 delivers in
2016," said Ye-Ling Wang Bird, Navy deputy program manager for future aircraft
carriers. "She will provide the Navy with greater operational capability,
built-in flexibility to accommodate future improvements and improved
survivability at reduced total ownership cost to the taxpayers."
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 at
its Newport News Shipbuilding and Ingalls Shipbuilding divisions. Employing
about 37,000 in Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana and California, HII also
provides a wide variety of products and services to the commercial energy
industry and other government customers, including the Department of Energy.
For more information about HII, visit:
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*HII on Twitter: twitter.com/hiindustries
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CONTACT: Christie Miller
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