The US Navy has awarded a contract modification to Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division to continue planning for mid-life maintenance work on the USS John C Stennis (CVN 74) aircraft carrier.

Under the $290m contract, Newport News will plan for the refuelling and complex overhaul (RCOH) of the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered carrier.

An RCOH is an engineering and construction project that involves procuring material and services for the overhaul work from several suppliers.

The modification contract adds a second year to a contract awarded to HII in August last year to prepare for the RCOH.

It will fund planning, long-lead-time material procurement, shop fabrication, shipboard inspections, and facilities readiness for the RCOH for the fiscal year 2019-2020.

The navy can exercise options for the third year of planning. The total value of the contract, including the options, could reach $476.94m.

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Newport News is also required to perform shipboard work in Norfolk.

HII Newport News division in-service aircraft carriers vice-president Chris Miner said: “The second and third year of planning is important to the overall success of a project of the magnitude of an RCOH.

“This contract allows us to continue our critical planning for each step of the process so we’re ready to begin execution when the ship arrives in the first quarter of 2021.”

Work is anticipated to be completed by July next year, with the RCOH expected to commence in January 2021.

USS John C Stennis, which was delivered to the Navy in 1995, is set to become the seventh Nimitz-class carrier to receive an RCOH at Newport News.