Navy Awards Deal to Plan for Carrier Defueling

Navy Awards Deal to Plan for Carrier Defueling

The U.S. Navy late last week awarded a contract to begin planning to defuel a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that may be targeted for decommissioning due to budget cuts.

The service’s Sea Systems Command on Friday issued a $50 million contract to Newport News, Virginia-based Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. in preparation of defueling the USS George Washington (CVN-73), a Nimitz-class carrier commissioned in 1992, according to the announcement.

“This effort will provide for advanced planning, ship checks, design, documentation, engineering, procurement, fabrication and preliminary shipyard or support facility work to prepare for the defueling work,” it states.

Chris Miner, vice president for in-service aircraft carrier programs at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding unit, welcomed the agreement in hopes that it will lead to a so-called refueling and complex overhaul, or RCOH — a process that can take more than four years and cost as much as $7 billion.

“We hope this award is a first step toward the highly anticipated full award of the RCOH planning contract,” he said in a statement.

Due to automatic budget cuts known as sequestration, the Defense Department didn’t include money in its fiscal 2015 budget request to begin the process of refueling the George Washington.

Navy officials have said they’re waiting to see if Congress votes to undo the spending reductions in 2016 before deciding to decommission the vessel. If sequestration continues, they’d be forced to retire the ship — even though such a move would leave the Navy with a 10-carrier fleet and conflict with existing law that requires the service to have an 11-carrier fleet.

The Republican-led House of Representatives in June voted to restore $789 million next year for advance procurement of material needed for the refueling effort, according to a report accompanying the lower chamber’s fiscal 2015 defense appropriations bill.

The House Appropriations Committee, led by Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Kentucky, called the Navy’s deferral a “shortsighted position,” given that Congress has already appropriated several hundred million dollars to refuel the George Washington, according to the document. The panel “believes that walking away from the George Washington halfway through its service life is shortsighted,” it states.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, took a similar approach and also in June voted to appropriate even more funding — $850 million — for the refueling and overhaul program, according to a report accompanying the legislation.

“CVN 73 has more than 20 years of service life remaining, and the Navy cannot meet all U.S. combatant commanders’ requirements with the current aircraft carrier fleet,” it states. “Furthermore, U.S. law requires the Navy to maintain not less than 11 operational aircraft carriers.”

While the report also notes that the Navy plans to move ahead with the refueling with “previously appropriated funds,” the Democrat-led upper chamber hasn’t yet voted on the appropriations bill. Congress on Friday adjourned for recess until September.

The George Washington has been underway in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility, including the East China Sea, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts, according to recent photographs released by the Navy.

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For the pacific new subs are more necessary than CVs. Big carriers are big targets that need a lot of resources to defend.

It cost $50 million for Newport News to *prepare* to do something that it already does every few years?

While I’m essentially in favor of refueling the GW rather that defueling or decommissioning it, a carrier needs an embarked airwing to be an effective instrument of deterrence, and naval aviation is also under severe pressure from sequestration. The decision to keep or not keep an 11th operational carrier should be linked with the decision to retain the current number of airwings. If the ship goes, then an airwing should also go, but the “savings” should be plowed back into the operational readiness accounts so the Navy can get off the path towards a hollow force.

Going to retire a carrier with another two decades of life left in it to pay for all of the illegal immigrants and other ongoing debacles. Great work Washington DC.

Let’s just not build 4 or 5 F-35s, that should give us plenty of money to keep CVN-72 going

Goodbye GW. If only we hadn’t pissed so much money into killing Saddam, Sunni insurgents and the Madhi Army. You know, classic isolationist arguments such as the ones we use to keep Assad in power.

We can never really decide if we are going to be isolationist or not, and it shows.

If the alternative is hurting readiness or having less aircraft per carrier then we’d be stupid to choose that option just for the sake of having more carriers.

At least with conventionally powered carriers you can keep them in ordinary…with a CVN you must make a decision.

Ah the crocodile tears of the lockehhed shill.

The money cant be transferred from the immigration budget but it can be clawed back from the F-35. But then when the F-35 was soaking up the budgets of the 25 other defense projects that were shelved or curtailed Bill was arguing that they weren’t needed.

probably the plans were original blueprints , so have to be digitized before they can even start.

And after quick reading GAO-14–749 and more specifically GAO-14–447, It could be a great idea to cut that contract short as well.

Estimated to be ~10% cheaper than a DDG-51 … and it’s not even designed for war.

Not a problem. No threat. The Ruskies are BUYING their carrier from France. Really! And it’s not a real carrier at that. The Brits have an extra new carrier they can’t afford. If the Ruskies or India or China buy it, then MAYBE there’s a threat. Until then we need to downsize the U.S. military. It’s just become another entitlement program, mainly for defense contractors. LockMart is the biggest welfare queen of all!

In the history of American there has never been a presidents for the exception of Jimmy Carter that has done more damage to American prestige than Obama, his gutted our military, NASA, our allies world wide. What else can you aspect from such an incompetent idiot Jack Ass commander.

According to the contract award “This effort will provide for advanced planning, ship checks, design, documentation, engineering, procurement, fabrication and preliminary shipyard or support facility work to prepare for the defueling work.”

Each RCOH is a specialty effort that isn’t done as regularly as you think and no two carriers are exactly alike. This isn’t a tune up. Amongst the many upgrades they have planned which may involve stripping apart whole sections of the ship, they literally have to cut a hole in the hull to get the reactors out.

Clinton is probably glad he dodged that bullet.

You’ll change your tune in four years after the next Dem is elected. It’ll be President X and Jimmy Carter as the evil boogeyman.

I don’t know where you get your info but the military has not been cut yet. The Army and Marine Corps was surged by 70,000 and 20,000, respectively, under SECDEF Gates to help with rotation deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama’s cut simply take them back to those pre-surge levels. That’s the same force structure to face down the Ruskies, whose military is less dangerous than India. We don’t have any real treats out there, so how do you make such as outrageous claim?

Plus, we’re $17 trillion in debt with no way to pay it off. Every department in the government needs to be cut big time!

Reactors are not removed during RCOH or the NNS portion of a defueling. They stay in place until the ship is taken apart at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

This is incorrect.

Good way to save money fire these dumb brass who want to cut everything just to save crap they personally like like JSF.

Get the money to refuel a carrier by cutting tactical airpower. That’s great thinking. Maybe you’ll suggest cutting the DDGs used to escort it next?

What are these 25 projects I have argued weren’t needed? Sounds like another invention of your imagination.

Yea cutting the collapse in tactical airport that is the F-35 would be a good thing.

Collapse in tactical airport? Well I guess it’s a good thing the F-35B is STOVL then.


No part of Carrier refueling is conducted at PSNS

There is no debate, It is the law and the congress shall do this part, but I regress, when I was in the USN, the law was 13 carrier’s and the air groups associated with it. Let’s spend 300 million on a POS plane that only has one engine, that he usn said they will never go back to a single engine bird… we are screwed…

Well, this part of it can go either way and is necessary for either contingency. You DO have to defuel a CVN before you can refuel it.

None of them will ever match the history of THE BIG E, that I was proud to serve on. We were the first.….12–02-1965!

Try USS Princeton CVA37 & USS Oriskany CVA34 Way back in 52 & on!

We need more airwings not less with all the unrest in the world right now. Decom CVN 73 would be a mistake.

Right now(9 Aug) we are bombing Isis in Iraq with aircraft from carriers. Lose a carrier and this will not always be possible. New thought. Did you know that the the last sentence in the Star-Spangled Banner is a Question?

The next variant of the Virginia class will have up the 48 TLAMs. Moreover the Air force intends to buy 80+ LRS-Bs which will be able to launch massive missile strikes of JASSM-ERs. A bomber is much more versatile than a submarine and can be ready for the next mission in a few hours.

We were stationed in Oahu in 1969 when she blew up in Jan of that year. My Dad was a Coast Guard helicopter pilot and flew out to the Enterprise to medevac injured sailors.

Sequestration only affects the amount of INCREASE of the yearly budget. and its only a percentage of that. Every one thinks sequestration lowers the budget it only decreases the growth, try figuring out why we spend four times as much for fuel aircraft, vehicle, and ship because we HAVE to use a fuel thats suposedly greeen and federaly subsidized and costs four times as much

I would rather see cuts in domestic spending. The military has been the ONLY enity cut yearly since 1993 manning levels are at a pre Pearl Harbor and hopefully you remember how that worked out. Well I guess since they havent started useing wooden rifels and cars as tanks yet their may be hope. even during the height of Iraqi freedom there were major cuts and closeings.


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