Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) reported on 25 May that its Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division has successfully redelivered the USS George Washington (CVN 73), a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, to the US Navy. Following its refuelling and complex overhaul (RCOH) at NNS, the ship underwent successful sea trials to test its systems.

Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, which are the largest warships in the world, are designed to support and operate aircraft that engage in attacks on airborne, afloat, and ashore targets.

The George Washington, along with its strike group, engages in maritime security operations aimed at intercepting potential threats to merchant shipping and thwarting the use of the seas for terrorist activities and piracy. Aircraft carriers also possess distinctive capabilities that are essential for disaster response and humanitarian aid.

Since 2017 the George Washington, first commissioned in 1992, has been in a ROCH that lasted for six years until this month. Initially intended to be a four year process, difficulties in operation arising from the global pandemic led to a delay until early 2023.

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During sea trials, a team of sailors, shipbuilders, and government representatives conducted a series of tests on the ship to demonstrate its capabilities at sea and prove its system performance, including high-speed operations.

According to Todd West, “George Washington has gone through a transformation and now returns to the fleet as a fully recapitalised ship, ready to support any mission and serve our nation for another 25 years.”

Throughout the lifespan of a ship, a vessel will undergo only one RCOH with updates to all areas and systems on board, and it accounts for a significant 35% of all maintenance and modernisation efforts during an aircraft carrier’s service.

The tanks, hull, shafting, propellers, rudders, piping, ventilation, electrical, combat and aviation support systems underwent repairs, upgrades and modernisation. In addition to these changes, the ship will also saw the de-fuelling and refuelling of its two nuclear reactors, along with various repairs, maintenance, and upgrades to its propulsion plant.

The USS George Washington has become the sixth carrier of the Nimitz-class to undergo RCOH. Significant progress has been made this year on the RCOH for USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) at NNS, according to a release from HII with work continuing at a steady pace. Notably, the main mast has been successfully installed.