NEWPORT NEWS, Va., March 16 (UPI) -- The upper bow section was attached Wednesday on the USS George H.W. Bush as construction of the last Nimitz-class aircraft carrier continued at a record pace.
The addition of the 780-ton section completes the flight deck assembly on the ship and extended the ship to its full length as the modular ship-building process entered the home stretch.
"Landing the fully-outfitted upper bow on the ship is a significant milestone in the design and construction of CVN 77," said Scott Stabler, head of the project at Northrop Grumman's Newport News shipyard. "We are on track for record shipboard construction progress at launch in October."
Northrop is building the Bush out of modular sections that are put together on a schedule of "lifts" by the shipyard's heavy cranes. The bow section was one of the largest lifts on the plan and was the 155th of 161 major lifts in the series.
Newport News is the only shipyard in the United States capable of building nuclear carriers such as the Nimitz class.
The Bush is the 10th and final ship in the Nimitz class and will join the fleet in 2008 after its christening this fall.
The ship is one of two Nimitz carriers to include a bulbous bow design that increases buoyancy and improves the overall efficiency of the hull. Other new features include upgraded propellers and aviation fuel pumping system.