Northrop Grumman (NOC)
Newport News lowered the upper bow unit of the George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) aircraft carrier into place Mar. 15. The placement of this 780-ton bow section completes the flight deck, and brings CVN 77 to its full length with construction now approximately 60 percent complete.
The Navy awarded Northrop Grumman Newport News the construction contract for the tenth and final Nimitz-class carrier in January 2001. CVN 77 was named in honor of the 41st President, George H. W. Bush
in a December 2002 ceremony. The carrier's keel was laid in September 2003. CVN 77 is on track to be christened in October 2006 and commissioned in late 2008.
“This was the tenth and final upper bow assembly for the Nimitz class,” said Capt. Tom Moore, program manager for In-Service and New Construction Aircraft Carriers. “I was in high school in 1975 when the first ship, Nimitz was being assembled and delivered. It’s a testament to the durability and excellence of the design and to the skilled workers at Northrop Grumman Newport News that we’re now completing a ship that will serve this nation until around 2059.”
Some of the design changes that will be incorporated into the CVN 77 are a new automated JP-5 fuel system with an improved fuel filtration system; an enhanced Radio Automation Center; and a composite mast made from a lighter, composite material, vice steel, that will reduce topside weight, up to 20 tons, and decrease the number of electromagnetic blockages.
CVN 77 will stretch 1,092 feet, weigh 97,000 tons, and will be among the world’s largest warships. Its top speed will exceed 30 knots and, as a carrier powered with two nuclear reactors, it will be able to operate for more than 20 years without refueling during its 50-year service life.
By PEO Aircraft Carriers Public