With the assistance of tugboats, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) was relaunched into the James River this week following more than a year-long dry docking period as part of the carrier’s mid-life refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.
Now at Outfitting Berth 1, the carrier will undergo final outfitting and testing prior its scheduled re-delivery in 2016.
“The end of the dry dock portion of the RCOH marks a significant milestone in the life of an aircraft carrier,” said Chris Miner, Newport News’ vice president of in-service aircraft carrier programs. “With Lincoln in the water, shipbuilders and sailors can focus on the final restoration, outfitting and testing of the ship’s systems. Moving her to the outfitting berth marks the point when the crew move aboard process begins and we bring the ship back to life.”
During the dry dock phase, Lincoln underwent extensive repair and construction work both the inside and the outside of the ship. Inside, Newport News shipbuilders re-preserved hundreds of tanks and replaced thousands of valves, pumps and piping components. On the exterior, crews painted the ship’s hull, updated the propeller shafts, installed refurbished propellers, and replaced one of the ship’s 30-ton anchors with one from the USS Enterprise, the world’s first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, which is also at the yard for its inactivation.
Over the next 24 months prior to re-delivery, shipbuilders will finish up the overhaul and installation of the ship’s major components and test its systems, making sure that the electronics, combat and propulsion systems are all operational before the carrier is re-delivered to the Navy in 2016. These final months will also be dedicated to modernizing the ship’s living quarters.
Lincoln arrived at Newport News in March 2013 for its RCOH and is on track to redeliver in 2016. Once Lincoln’s RCOH is complete, the carrier will be equipped to operate in the U.S. Navy fleet for the second half of her 50-year expected service life.