Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has been awarded an advance planning contract for the refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) of the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).
RCOH is a process for refueling and upgrading nuclear-powered aircraft carriers – commonly called supercarriers due to their size – in the U.S. Navy.
The contract, which is initially funded for one year and has a base value of $187.5 million, includes engineering, design, material procurement and fabrication, documentation, resource forecasting, and pre-overhaul inspections. Future modifications could extend the period of performance to 30 months and increase the contract value if additional options are exercised. Planning for the RCOH is scheduled to begin this month.
“The planning stage is critically important to the overall success of an engineering and construction project of this magnitude,” said Chris Miner, vice president, in-service aircraft carrier programs at HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division. “This contract allows us to prepare for each step in the overhaul process from preparing for the ship’s arrival at Newport News to its redelivery back to the Navy.”
Christened in 1993 and delivered to the Navy in 1995, USS John C. Stennis will be the seventh Nimitz-class carrier to undergo an RCOH, representing 35 percent of all maintenance and modernization completed during its 50-year service life. The RCOH of the carrier is scheduled to begin in January 2021.
HII has completed the refueling and complex overhaul of the first four ships of the Nimitz-class (USS Nimitz (CVN-68), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71)). The company is currently performing RCOH work on the fifth ship in the class, the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), and is also planning for the sixth ship in the class, USS George Washington (CVN-73).
HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding is the only shipyard to perform refueling and complex overhaul work on Nimitz-class aircraft carriers. This massive undertaking was described in a 2002 RAND Study as one of the most challenging engineering and industrial tasks undertaken anywhere by an organization.
The nearly four-year project is performed only once during a carrier’s 50-year life and includes refueling of the ship’s two nuclear reactors, as well as significant repair, upgrade and modernization work.