The US Navy's fifth Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) has received the 38ft upper mast section as part of its refuelling and complex overhaul (RCOH), at Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding.
The installation marks a major milestone in the ship's RCOH programme.
Newport News Navy programmes vice-president Ken Mahler: "Since we began the refuelling complex overhaul, we've been working side-by-side on this project to recapitalise and modernise the entire ship, such that when she returns to service, Lincoln will continue to be one of the most capable and formidable ships in the world."
During the RCOH process, the company replaced the original round mast pole with a modified, tapered square pole, to increase strength and keep electrical piping systems enclosed.
The square pole includes waist-high rails and easier access to all areas via internal ladders.
The RCOH process, which is performed as part of the navy's $2.6bn cost-plus-incentive-fee contract awarded in April 2013, also includes the refuelling of the ship's reactors, painting of the hull, an upgraded system and a complete recapitalisation.
Armed with three Raytheon GMLS Mk29 eight-cell launchers for Nato Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles, the 317m-long Nimitz-class ships can accommodate more than 6,000 personnel and cruise at a maximum speed of over 30k.
Upon the scheduled redelivery in October 2016, the 102,000t USS Abraham Lincoln will continue to operate for another 25 years.
Image: USS Abraham Lincoln's (CVN 72) levels 010 and 011 being replaced. Photo: courtesy of the US Navy and Huntington Ingalls Industries, by John Whalen / released.