Shipbuilders are constructing Enterprise (CVN 80) units in the North Yard.

Enterprise (CVN 80) Begins to Take Shape

Published May 17, 2021

The future of shipbuilding can be found on Newport News Shipbuilding’s Final Assembly Platen. That is where shipbuilders are using visual work instructions and modular construction to build Enterprise (CVN 80).

With the Navy’s demand for more aircraft carriers in its fleet, NNS turned to digital shipbuilding for a more efficient build process. Shipbuilders use visual work instructions programmed on mobile tablets to identify parts and materials on their jobsites.

“Working with visual work instructions instead of paper drawings has been really nice,” said Rebecca Arnold, a pipefitter apprentice. “Integrating visual work instructions with our building process has made jobs easier and more understandable. There is less rework.”

So far, Steel Fabrication has completed 179 of a total 1,066 units. Modular construction allows shipbuilders to weld units together before the iconic “Big Blue” crane lifts them into neighboring Dry Dock 12. Throughout the aircraft carrier’s construction, fewer lifts will happen, but with more weight – called superlifts.

“We are in the process of building the first 11 superlifts,” said Mike Butler, CVN 80 construction director.

The aircraft carrier will take its shape when the units are moved into Dry Dock 12.