American Vice-President Mike Pence has announced that the US Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) will remain in service for the foreseeable future.
Pence made the announcement during his tour of the USS Truman at its Norfolk homeport.
The statement comes just hours after vice-chief of naval operations admiral Bill Moran defended the service’s plan to decommission the carrier during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Addressing a gathering of sailors on the vessel, the vice-president hailed the carrier’s contributions to the fight against ISIS to Nato exercises, and participation in High North operations on its previous deployment.
Pence said: “This ship has served as a constant sign to the world that we will always ensure our security. We will always stand for peace through strength. During each deployment in its prolific career, USS Truman has taken the fight to the enemy on our terms, on their soil.”
In its FY 2020 budget proposal, the US Navy originally announced plans to scrap USS Truman’s planned mid-life refuelling and retire it two decades early.
This decision to retire the ship was intended to free up funds to invest in new technologies and systems. However, this decision was overrided by US President Donald Trump this month.
Pence added: “We are keeping the best carrier in the world in the fight. We are not retiring the Truman. The USS Harry S Truman is going to be ‘giving ’em hell’ for many more years to come.”
Earlier this year, the navy awarded a $15.2bn block contract to Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division to build two Gerald R Ford-class aircraft carriers.
In a tweet on 1 May, US President Donald Trump said: “I am overriding the Decommission Order of the magnificent aircraft carrier Harry S Truman, built in 1998 (fairly new), and considered one of the largest and finest in the world.
“It will be updated at a fraction of the cost of a new one (which also are being built).”