NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- The last major section of the mast was installed aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Feb. 21, marking another major construction milestone in the ship's ongoing refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) at Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipyard.
The installation was accomplished using Northrop Grumman's massive 310-ton crane at drydock 11. Putting the last piece of the mast in place represents a final major construction milestone for topside work aboard the ship before its undocking and move to Pier 3 later this year.
According to Chief Warrant Officer Jerry DeWine, Carl Vinson's combat systems communications maintenance division officer, the "Gold Eagle's" new mast is quite different from the previous one.
"The new configuration is distinguishably different from the old," said DeWine. "One of the main characteristics of the new mast is accessibility. The access to the first platform will be via a ladder located inside the mast pedestal itself, rather than on the outside. Several equipment platforms and arrays have also been moved to accommodate engineering changes resulting from fleet-identified problems."
Carl Vinson's mast has also been outfitted with the latest technology the military has to offer, making the 95,000-ton warship better equipped to protect America's national interests.
Carl Vinson will reach another mast-milestone on March 6, when it conducts a mast-stepping ceremony. "Stepping the mast" is a traditional Navy ceremony conducted at some point in the ship construction process, during which a coin is placed under the step or bottom of a ship's mast as a way of passing on good luck to the ship.
The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.
During RCOH Carl Vinson's nuclear fuel will be replenished and the ship's services and infrastructure will be upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet and prepare for another 25 years or more of service.
For related news, visit the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.