With its inactivation and eventual decommissioning just around the corner, the legacy of the USS Enterprise, the world’s first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, will live on through one of its 30-ton anchors.
Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (NYSE:HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division announced that it has recently installed one of Enterprise’s anchors on the younger Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).
USS Abraham Lincoln is in Newport News’ shipyard in Virginia to undergo a comprehensive, multi-year refueling and complex overhaul process, which will see just about every inch of the carrier updated or refurbished including it’s two massive anchors. In a dry dock right next door is the USS Enterprise, which is in the earlier stages of the first-ever ‘inactivation’ of a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, a $745 million process to defuel the ship’s eight reactors and prepare Enterprise for its eventual transit to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.
Realizing that two ship’s shared the exact same anchors, albeit of very different ages, engineers decided to swap out one of Lincoln’s anchors with one of the Enterprises anchors. The anchor was cast in 1962 and weighs in at 30 tons.
“The legacy of Enterprise will live on in her sailors, her shipbuilders and now in the anchor aboard Lincoln,” said Chris Miner, Newport News’ vice president of in-service aircraft carrier programs. “The ships are reaching important milestones in their lives; Lincoln will finish her mid-life RCOH, and Enterprise will finish her inactivation, both in 2016. With this anchor, both ships will be linked, and Lincoln will carry Enterprise’s spirit as it returns to the fleet.”
USS Enterprise was originally built by Newport News in the 1960s and refueled for the third and final time in the early ’90s. After 51 years of service, the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2016 prior to final disposal.
USS Abraham Lincoln is expected to return to service in October 2016 and will continue to operate in the U.S. Navy fleet for another 25 years.