HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division has pushed forward in the refuelling and complex overhaul (RCOH) of the US Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).

Commissioned in December 1995, the US Navy’s seventh Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier entered RCOH in May 2021, under a $3bn contract with NNS. The overhaul is now more than 65% complete and tracking for redelivery in October 2026, stated the US Navy in a 9 April release.

Aircraft carriers enter refueling complex overhauls at the mid-point of their 50-plus-year lifespan, incorporating upgrades to propulsion equipment, infrastructure, and electronic systems.

After NNS flooded the dry dock with more than 100 million gallons of water, the ship moved to the shipyard’s outfitting berth, where shipyard workers and crew will complete the installation and testing of major components and combat support systems.

HII, one of the two US prime contractors capable of building nuclear-powered ships, reported record revenues of $11.5bn in 2023, with a 13% year-over-year increase in fourth-quarter revenues, totalling $3.2bn. 

In 2021, HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division secured a $2.9bn contract to conduct the refuelling and complex overhaul (RCOH) of the US Navy’s Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John C Stennis (CVN 74), ensuring its operational efficiency and readiness for another 25 years.

The RCOH process involves upgrades and repairs across systems, including the propulsion plant, flight deck, catapults, combat systems, and island. 

As per GlobalData’s intelligence on the US defence market, HII has provided the US Navy with ten Nimitz-class aircraft carriers between 1975 and 2009. 

As the project transitions to the next phase, shipbuilders will focus on completing the overhaul and installation of major components while testing electronics, combat, and propulsion systems. Additionally, efforts will be directed towards improving living areas to enhance the crew’s quality of life.

In 2024, HII also secured a $913m contract to initiate the Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH) of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), which will enhance the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier’s capabilities and extend its service life. 

Update: This article has been amended from an earlier version that referred to a flooding incident during the drydock of the USS John C Stennis.