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, equipment is installed, and the large units are lifted into the dry dock. Of the nearly 500 total structural lifts needed to complete the ship, 446 have been accomplished. The lifts are accomplished using the shipyard's 1,050-metric ton gantry crane, one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere.Gerald R. Ford represents the next-generation class of aircraft carriers. The first-in-class ship 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. Ford has been under construction since November 2009. The ship is scheduled to launch in 2013.
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