Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) marked a major milestone in her refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) Aug. 5.
Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), installed the final section of the ship’s main mast, the 38-foot upper mast section.
The last section of the mast, weighing 33 tons, was lifted in sequence by two cranes. The shipyard’s 310-ton gantry crane lifted the mast section onto the flight deck, and then a mobile crane on the flight deck lifted the section into its final position on the mast. The mast, when erected, is too tall for the 310-ton gantry crane to travel over, so the mobile crane completed the lofty installation.
During refurbishment, the original round mast pole was removed and replaced with a modified, tapered square pole to increase strength and keep electrical piping systems enclosed for survivability purposes. The square pole is also larger, which allows for waist high rails and easier access to all areas by internal ladders.
Lincoln’s RCOH is 45 percent complete and on track for delivery in October 2016.
Lincoln arrived at Newport News in March 2013 to begin the RCOH process. During the carrier’s RCOH, the shipyard refuels the ship’s reactors, paints the ship’s hull, modernizes systems and performs a complete recapitalization of the entire ship. This process produces a recapitalized carrier capable of supporting current and future warfare doctrine. Once the RCOH is complete, Lincoln will continue to operate in the U.S. Navy fleet for another 25 years.