Navy: Lincoln Refueling Delayed, Will Hurt Carrier Readiness

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Navy Lincoln Refueling Delayed, Will Hurt Carrier Readiness

The aircraft carriers USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), USS Enterprise (CVN-65), USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75), and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) are in port at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. US Navy Photo

The U.S. Navy will delay the refueling of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) for an unknown period because of the uncertain fiscal environment due to the ongoing legislative struggle, the service told Congress in a Friday message obtained by USNI News.

Lincoln was scheduled to be moved to Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipyard later this month to begin the 4-year refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) of the ship.

“This delay is due to uncertainty in the Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations bill, both in the timing and funding level available for the first full year of the contract,” the message said.
“CVN-72 will remain at Norfolk Naval Base where the ships force personnel will continue to conduct routine maintenance until sufficient funding is received for the initial execution of the RCOH.”

Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower subcommittee released a statement denouncing the need for decision.

Forbes called the delay, “another example of how these reckless and irresponsible defense cuts in Washington will have a long-term impact on the Navy’s ability to perform its missions. Not only will the Lincoln be delayed in returning to the Fleet, but this decision will also affect the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) defueling, the USS George Washington (CVN-73) RCOH, and future carrier readiness.”

View RCOH in a larger map

The move by the navy is the second this week involving funding for carriers. On Wednesday it announced it would delay the deployment of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) to the Middle East do to the ongoing budget strife bringing the total number of carriers in U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) to one until funding normalizes.

“Canceling and deferring maintenance creates a significant backlog of deferred maintenance and affects future year schedules and cost, as well as future readiness,” said Lt. Courtney Hillson, a Navy spokesperson.
“The fiscal uncertainty created by not having an appropriations bill — and the measures we are forced to take as a result, place significant stress on an already strained force and undermines the stability of a fragile industrial base.”

The delay in the RCOH for the Lincoln translates into a carrier that will be undeployable for the foreseeable future. It is ‘not possible to restore,’ the carrier to active service without the $3.3 billion overhaul, Hillson said.

Under the current Continuing Resolution (CR), the Navy is $1.5 billion short on its accounts. Combined with coming sequestration in March the number grows to $9 billon for FY 2013, according to Navy documents.

The Navy had budgeted $92 million for the Lincoln refueling in its FY 2012 budget.

Each Nimitz-class carrier undergoes a refueling and complete overhaul at the halfway point in its 50-year service life.

HII said the company is, “disappointed with this turn of events,” and said the delay, “is the direct result of the lack of a defense appropriations bill,” HII spokesperson Christie Miller said in a statement.

“This is not a cancellation of the Lincoln’s RCOH at Newport News Shipbuilding,” Miller said.
“We intend to continue our efforts on the ship at the Navy base in Norfolk and will work to make as much progress as possible, as efficiently as possible, prior to its arrival.”

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  1. dbomb March 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    Maybe if they didn’t spend 59.00 per gallon on the environmentally friendly bio-fuel maybe it would be less of a problem

  2. Former Paratrooper March 1, 2013 at 7:49 am - Reply

    Leo I was just thinking exactly the same thing as I viewed the picture above. How easy it would be to take out our Pacific carrier fleet. They are all lined up so closely together. Worse than Peral Harbor.

    • Leo March 2, 2013 at 12:09 am - Reply

      FINALLY, someone sees what I see, as some have been stating that I am fear mongering freak, and that there is NO imminent threat, It was a beautiful day when Peal Harbor Happened, who would have ever thought ? right ? September 11, 2001 New Yorkers went about their normal routine that awful day in U S history, out of the blue it happened .

  3. Leo March 1, 2013 at 2:11 am - Reply

    As I look at the above picture, I see just how easy it would be to destroy those carriers while the vessels are still in port . there wide open .

    • Vytas March 1, 2013 at 3:51 am - Reply

      Considering the obvious fact that no threat at all exists in that continent it does not matter.

      • Leo March 1, 2013 at 4:25 am - Reply

        threats are not always seen, (but you would know that right )? your sarcasm avails nothing

  4. 5 War Veteran February 28, 2013 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    aj weishar
    Why does the article leave out a critical aspect of the refueling process, nuclear energy? People who read this probably wonder why it takes so long to pull up to the fuel pump and load the tanks. The ships are powered by nuclear reactors. Most of Congress (excluding Navy vets) is probably clueless about the process, too.

    I would guess they are referring to the jet fuel for the aircraft? Also the standard system maintenance. Seeing as the concept of “If is ain’t broke don’t screw with it never crossed the Navy’s mind. (5 year Air Force, 17 year Navy, disabled retired)

  5. 5 War Veteran February 28, 2013 at 11:52 pm - Reply

    Interesting for them to blame failure of the government on the government. One politician saying the other side of the his coin is dirty. Political infighting is bullshit because they all are aimed in the same direction, the downfall of America.
    The two party system is a ruse. Look at the facts, since Kennedy was assassinated America has slid rapidly into debt and depravity. All at the hands of a political Elite that tells they are working for our betterment. What part of the downhill action am I not supposed to recognize?

    Did I forget that I am not supposed to be paying attention? The political Elite own the corporations that are raping the wealth out of America they are supporting the drug companies whose sole intent is to get every American on needless medications for the rest of their lives. They have shipped manufacturing overseas and we area fraction of what we once were and that fraction is getting smaller every day while Lindsay Graham allows more immigrants into the USA. Aren’t the 1 million plus illegals in South Carolina alone enough?

  6. aj weishar February 28, 2013 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    Why does the article leave out a critical aspect of the refueling process, nuclear energy? People who read this probably wonder why it takes so long to pull up to the fuel pump and load the tanks. The ships are powered by nuclear reactors. Most of Congress (excluding Navy vets) is probably clueless about the process, too.

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