May 29 (UPI) -- The command center of the under-construction aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy was installed on Wednesday, a milestone in its completion.
The 588-ton "island house," 56 feet long and 33 feet wide, was installed by crane atop the nuclear-powered vessel at Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News, Va., construction facility. It will serve as the flight deck's command center, housing the navigation bridge and primary flight control, radar and other systems.
Lowering the structure onto the carrier is equivalent to installing the mast on a ship or "topping out" a skyscraper, the Naval Sea Systems Command said in a statement on Wednesday.
"With the island landing, John F. Kennedy takes on that distinctive and unmistakable profile of an aircraft carrier," said Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, program executive officer for Navy aircraft carriers. "It symbolizes nearing the end of structural work and the start of bringing the ship to life, transitioning steel and cable to a living ship and crew."
Over 3,000 builders and 2,000 suppliers are involved in the construction of the USS John F. Kennedy, HII said.