NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) - Shipbuilders in Virginia have reached a major milestone in the construction of the nation's newest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
Newport News Shipbuilding lowered the final keel section of what will be the USS Gerald R. Ford into place on Thursday. The first-of-its class aircraft carrier will be the nation's 11th in service once it is delivered to the Navy in 2015. It will replace the USS Enterprise, which is on its last scheduled deployment.
Placing the lower bow into dry dock means that nearly 80 percent of the ship has been erected. The lower bow is more than 60 feet tall and weighs more than 680 tons. Hundreds of workers in hard hats paused to witness the massive section of the ship being hoisted into the air with a large crane.