Nov. 9, 2013 – Susan Ford Bales smashes a bottle of American sparkling wine across the bow of Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) to christen the aircraft carrier. Photo by John Whalen

Nov. 9, 2013 – Susan Ford Bales smashes a bottle of American sparkling wine across the bow of Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) to christen the aircraft carrier. Photo by Chris Oxley

The freshly painted Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) shines at night in the empty dry dock, waiting to meet water for the first time. Photo by John Whalen

(Left to right) LaJuan Powell, James Bragg, and Joseph Bowles use a torque wrench to tighten a stud for the tail cap on a propeller shaft for Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). Photo by Chris Oxley

This massive dry dock is where the ship has been under construction since CVN 78’s keel laying in 2009. Photo by Ricky Thompson

Mar 20, 2013 – Shipbuilders work night shift on Gerald R. Ford shortly after the mast is added to the island. Photo by John Whalen

Mar 20, 2013 – Shipbuilders work night shift on Gerald R. Ford shortly after the mast is added to the island. Photo by John Whalen

Apr 9, 2013 – The addition of CVN 78’s upper bow, weighing 787 metric tons, brings Ford to 96 percent structural completion.

The heaviest lift ever performed at Newport News Shipbuilding took place Oct. 4, 2012. The gallery deck to flight deck bridge unit for the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) weighs 1026 metric tons and measures 128 feet wide and 128 long. The superlift comprises 14 sections of firefighting, jet fuel and catapult systems. Photo by John Whalen.

April 9, 2013 – Newport News shipbuilders prepare for the lift of the 787-metric-ton lift of the upper bow unit for the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). Photo by Chris Oxley