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Carrier Porn: USS Gerald R. Ford's Stern in Place

Here's a great shot of the stern section of the USS Gerald R. Ford being put into place at Huntington Ingalls' Newport News, Va., shipyard. The Ford is the lead ship of the first new class of American supercarrier since the USS Nimitz entered service in 1975.

The new ship, slated for delivery in 2013, will feature a 21st Century nuclear power plant, electro-magnetic catapults and a redesigned flight deck meant to maximize the amount of take-offs and landings that can be performed.  Check out the massive rudders that are waiting to be joined to the hull.

From a Huntington Ingalls announcement on the Ford's construction:

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 called superlifts. The superlifts are pre-outfitted and lifted into the construction dry dock with the shipyard's 1,050-metric ton crane.

The final superlift of the ship's aft end includes the steering gear rooms, electrical power distribution room, store rooms and tanks. At 90 feet long, 120 feet wide and 30 feet deep, the superlift was among the largest of the 162 that comprise Gerald R. Ford.

"This is among the top five largest superlifts in terms of dimension," said Rolf Bartschi, NNS' vice president of the CVN 78 Program. "What makes this lift especially impressive is that the unit was erected over the rudders already positioned in the dry dock. Precision is of utmost importance in shipbuilding, and our shipbuilders went to great lengths to construct this lift and successfully hoist it into place."

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