Huntington Ingalls Industries‘ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division has been contracted by the US Navy to support the refuelling and complex overhaul (RCOH) of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, USS George Washington (CVN 73).

The $185.2m contract will enable Newport News Shipbuilding facility to continue its support for the planning, long-lead-time material procurement, shop fabrication, shipboard inspections and facilities readiness for the upcoming RCOH next year.

The planning work is scheduled to be performed at the Newport News facility.

“This contract award allows the continued planning for all the work associated with a full RCOH.”

Newport News in-service aircraft carrier programmes vice-president Chris Miner said: "This contract award allows the continued planning for all the work associated with a full RCOH, which underscores the navy’s continued commitment to ensuring this great national asset remains in the fleet and operational for another 25 years."

The RCOH involves an overall upgrade and maintenance of the vessel during its 50-year service life.

Work includes refuelling of the ship’s reactors, as well as extensive modernisation work to more than 2,300 compartments, 600 tanks and hundreds of distributive systems.

Additionally, upgrades will be performed to food service areas, aircraft launch and recovery systems, combat systems and the ship’s island.

The RCOH will receive support from around 3,700 shipbuilders, including engineering, planning, supply chain, shops, and trades for a comprehensive support to fulfil the overhauling work on the aircraft carrier.

The 317m-long aircraft carrier can accommodate over 6,000 personnel and can achieve a maximum cruise speed of more than 30k.

The vessel is equipped with Raytheon GMLS Mk29 eight-cell launchers for Nato Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles.

The ship is fitted with a Raytheon AN/SLQ-32(V) electronic warfare system, 20mm Phalanx six-barrelled Mk15 close-in weapon system, and Sippican super-rapid bloom off-board chaff (SRBOC) six-barrelled Mk36 decoy launchers.

Image: An image of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). Photo: courtesy of US Navy.