NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Newport News Shipbuilding installed the final piece of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington's new main mast.

The installation is part of the ship's refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) at the shipyard.

The shipyard installed the main mast—the 34-foot upper mast section—that raises the carrier’s profile 123 feet above the flight deck.

The RCOH is now 50 percent complete, Huntington Ingalls Industries said in a news release.

“Landing the upper mast is one of the most visible construction milestones in the mid-life refueling overhaul and maintenance availability of an aircraft carrier,” said Chris Miner, Newport News’ vice president, in-service aircraft carrier programs. 

“We are making significant progress with George Washington and look forward to returning a fully recapitalized, mission-ready ship to the fleet for another 25 years of service.”

A time capsule containing photos, a piece of the old mast, several coins and other artifacts was attached to a metal plate, which will later be welded under the mast.

The George Washington's RCOH is a nearly four-year project that's performed only once during its 50-year service life. It includes refueling of the ship’s two nuclear reactors as well as significant repair, upgrades, and modernization.  

The carrier arrived at Newport News in August 2017 and is on track for delivery in 2021.

Newport News Shipbuilding is a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.