On 30 September, Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding reported that it had completed the dry dock portion of the USS George Washington (CVN-73) Nimitz-class carrier’s refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH). The George Washington has now been moved to an outfitting berth for final outfitting and testing.
According to the September 30 issue of Currents, Newport News Shipbuilding’s weekly publication, the completion of dry dock work means that the RCOH is now over 60 percent complete, and is on track for completion in late 2021.
“Getting George Washington out of the dry dock and back into the water is an important milestone in the overhaul process for shipbuilders, sailors and our government partners,” said Chris Miner, Newport News’ vice president of in-service aircraft carrier programs. “Over the next 24 months we will focus on readying the ship for the next 25 years of its operational life. Once our work is complete, George Washington will leave Newport News Shipbuilding as the world’s most technologically advanced Nimitz-class warship in the fleet.”
The dry dock stage of the overhaul involved extensive internal and external upgrades to the George Washington alongside the defueling and refueling of its nuclear reactor. According to Huntington Ingalls Industries, shipbuilders at Newport News have re-preserved approximately 600 tanks and replaced thousands of valves, pumps and piping components. External upgrades include structural updates to the island, mast and antenna tower, upgrading of all aircraft launching and recovering equipment, repainting of the carrier’s hull, updates to the propeller shafts and the installation of refurbished propellers.
The next phrase of the RCOH will be the completion of the overhaul and installation of the carrier’s major components, followed by testing of the carrier’s electronics, propulsion and combat systems before the carrier is delivered back to the US Navy.
The USS George Washington is the sixth Nimitz-class carrier to undergo its RCOH, having arrived at Newport News Shipbuilding in August 2017. Once the RCOH is complete, the George Washington will be ready to operate for the second half of her expected service life of 50 years.