$745 Million to ‘Inactivate’ USS Enterprise

USS Enterprise. Photo by Ricky Thompson
USS Enterprise. Photo by Ricky Thompson

Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) announced this week that the company has been awarded a contract for the inactivation of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65)… for $745 million.

The ship was towed from Naval Station Norfolk to HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) on June 20, where the work will be carried out. NNS will defuel the ship’s eight reactors and prepare Enterprise for its eventual transit to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. The work is scheduled to complete in August 2016. More than 1,000 employees will support her inactivation.

“Although Newport News Shipbuilding has defueled and refueled many ships, including Enterprise, this is the first inactivation of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier,” said Chris Miner, NNS’ vice president, in-service aircraft carrier programs. “Our shipbuilders know Enterprise well and have enjoyed working on her over her decades of service. We are extremely proud of her great legacy, so it is with heavy hearts that we will work to retire this one-of-a-kind ship.”

As part of the inactivation, hydraulic systems will be drained and expendable materials, tools, spare parts and furnishings will be removed, according to USS Enterprises website. Additionally, tanks containing oil and other fluids will be drained and cleaned, any hazardous material will be removed, and the ship’s electrical and lighting systems will be de-energized. Concurrent with inactivation, the ship will be defueled using the same proven techniques that have been used to refuel and defuel over 350 Naval nuclear-powered warships, the website says.

Built by Newport News shipbuilders and launched in September 1960, Enterprise served a record 51 consecutive years. The ship was the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the only one in her class. Enterprise aided in the Cuban Missile Crisis and operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn, as well as naval maritime security operations.

Editor’s Note: Original title incorrectly stated USS Freedom. Changed to fix correction.