Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division has completed approximately 25 percent of the refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) work aboard the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73).
The milestone was completed following the recent landing of its modernized radar tower. USS George Washington is the sixth Nimitz-class ship to undergo this major life-cycle milestone and the first to have its new radar tower installed as one complete structure instead of two individual units.
“This is a significant engineering, planning and construction improvement,” said Chris Miner, Newport News’ vice president, in-service aircraft carrier programs. “This lift was the result of our digital shipbuilding efforts to harness the use of technology, including visual work instructions that allowed us to increase efficiency and productivity. We look forward to continuing to work with our Navy customers to improve our RCOH processes.”
The USS George Washington RCOH began under a planning contract in August 2017 and includes the refueling of the ship’s reactors as well as extensive modernization to more than 2,300 compartments, 600 tanks and hundreds of systems. In addition to the radar tower structure, major upgrades will be made to the island house, flight deck, catapults, combat systems and the island.
The overhaul is expected to be completed in late 2021 and will return to the fleet for another 25 years of service..
The Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) is common for aircraft carriers and generally occurs at the 25-year mark in a carrier’s life. The RCOH represents 35 percent of all maintenance and modernization in an aircraft carrier’s 50-year service life.
The Newport News shipyard, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, is the only yard capable of refueling and overhauling nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.
After the RCOH, USS George Washington will be one of the most modern and technologically advanced Nimitz-class aircraft carriers in the fleet and will continue to be a vital part of the nation’s defense.
The USS George Washington was built at the same shipyard and was commissioned into service on July 4, 1992. The carrier returned from her last deployment in December 2016.