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Aero India 2023

Aircraft carrier Gerald R Ford under construction

The first piece of the flight deck for the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) was erected April 7. Photo by Chris Oxley.

NEWPORT NEWS, VIRGINIA (BNS): The structural production of the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) for the US Navy is 75 percent complete.

Gerald R. Ford is the first in a class of next-generation aircraft carriers being built by Huntington Ingalls Industries.

The ship is on track to meet its scheduled launch in 2013 and delivery to the US Navy in 2015, a Company statement said.

It 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. 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.

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.

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