A modernised radar tower has been installed on the US Navy’s Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73).

The installation marks the completion of approximately 25% of its refuelling and complex overhaul (RCOH) work.

The milestone has been attained by ship manufacturer Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division.

CVN 73 is the sixth Nimitz-class vessel to undergo the major lifecycle upgrade and the first to have its new radar tower installed as one complete structure instead of two separate units.

HII Newport News Shipbuilding in-service aircraft carrier programmes vice-president Chris Miner said: “This is a significant engineering, planning and construction improvement.

“This is a significant engineering, planning and construction improvement.”

“This lift was the result of our digital shipbuilding efforts to harness the use of technology, including visual work instructions that allowed us to increase efficiency and productivity. We look forward to continuing to work with our navy customers to improve our RCOH processes.”

Work on the RCOH project commenced under a planning contract awarded to the company in August last year.

The project includes refuelling of the vessel’s reactors, in addition to carrying out extensive upgrades of more than 2,300 compartments, 600 tanks, and hundreds of systems on the ship.

In addition to the radar tower structure, major enhancements will be made to the island house, flight deck, catapults, combat systems, and the island.

The overhaul of USS George Washington is expected to be completed in late-2021.

With a displacement of 91,300t, CVN 73 can travel at speeds of more than 35k. The vessel was launched with the US Navy on 21 July 1990 and commissioned on 4 July 1992.