The unit was lifted into Dry Dock 12 at Newport, Virginia. It had been under construction since August 2015, and comprises 22 smaller units and including small equipment, machinery rooms, berthing, and on-board amenities such as a barber shop and post office. It measures around 80ft by 105ft.

The carrier, called John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), is being built with modular construction, where smaller sections of the ship are welded together to form larger structural units. These larger units are then lifted into the dry dock using the shipyard’s 1,050t gantry crane.

The ship is around one-quarter complete, and is on track to be finished after 445 lifts—51 fewer than its predecessor in the same class, the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), and 149 fewer than USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), the last Nimitz-class carrier.

It is due to be launched in 2020 and delivered to the US Navy in 2022, when it will replace USS Nimitz (CVN 68).

The superlift was part of an improved build strategy, resulting in superlifts erected at a higher state of completion.

Mike Shawcross, vice president for CVN 79 construction at Newport News, said: “For Kennedy, increased preoutfitting puts into practice one of many lessons learned from Gerald R. Ford. This superlift will erect the first portion of hangar bay.”