The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) last Friday awarded Huntington Ingalls Industries’ [HII] Newport News Shipbuilding a $2.8 billion execution contract for the Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73).
HII noted an RCOH availability embodies 35 percent of all the modernization, repairs, and maintenance in a carrier’s 50-year service life. This period will include refueling the reactors, modernization of over 2,300 compartments, 600 tanks, and hundreds of systems, the company said.
U.S. nuclear-powered carriers generally go through one mid-life RCOH in their decades-long service since their reactor fuel needs to be replaced roughly halfway through the 50-year life.
“In addition, major upgrades will be made to the flight deck, catapults, combat systems and the island,” the company said in a statement.
The Nimitz-class CVN-73 arrived at Newport News, Va., where the work will occur, on Aug. 4 under a planning contract. With this contract, the bulk of the RCOH work is set to start this month in Newport News and is expected to be finished by Aug. 2021.
The George Washington was previously based out of Yokosuka, Japan, from 2008 to 2015.
Fiscal year 2017 and 2016 Navy shipbuilding and conversion accounts funding of $1.4 billion and $57 million, respectively, are obligated at award time. This funding will not expire at the end of the fiscal year.
The Defense Department said HII is the original builder for all CVN-68 class carriers and is the only private shipyard capable of RCOH for the Navy’s nuclear-powered carriers.
HII officials said they have been planning for the RCOH availability for some time.
“We’ve spent the better part of three years planning and preparing for this availability. We are leveraging lessons learned from the USS Abraham Lincoln RCOH, implementing digital tools to increase efficiency, and working with our Navy partners, our suppliers and numerous contractors to recapitalize this ship and deliver her back to the Navy for another 25 years of service,” Chris Miner, Newport News vice president for in-service aircraft carrier programs, said in a statement.
HII added the Washington is the sixth Nimitz-class carrier to experience an RCOH and that over 4,000 of their employees will support this contract.