Every Single US East Coast Aircraft Carrier Is Docked for Repairs
And the world sleeps a little easier
Amid a heap of repairs, refuelings and overhauls, all six of the US Navy’s aircraft carriers assigned to the East Coast are in port at the same time. The Navy is pulling itself increasingly thin in an effort to accomodate the Pentagon’s program for “great power competition” with Russia and China.
As of this article’s publishing, not one of the US Navy’s carriers on the Atlantic coast is ready for deployment – all six are tied up dockside in Norfolk, Virginia. Earlier this year, several of the huge, 100,000-ton warships returned to Norfolk for a series of overhauls, but others have encountered unexpected problems.
The USS George HW Bush began a 28-month overhaul in February, not due to finish until mid-2021. The USS George Washington only recently returned to the water from drydock, where it was receiving mid-life repairs and updates, and won’t be ready until late 2021.
The USS John C. Stennis arrived at port in May for its years-long midlife refueling and overhaul, but it must wait until the Washington’s retrofit is finished before it can begin, being assigned “chores” like hosting naval aviators who need to qualify for carrier operations in the meantime, Navy Times reported.
Other ships might be closer to setting sail soon, Breaking Defense noted, but it could be “weeks or months” before that happens. The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower finished pre-deployment testing earlier this month, but must still complete further training before it’s ready to deploy; the USS Gerald R. Ford is expected to be delivered to the Navy before the end of the year.
The Ford should’ve been ready years ago, according to the Navy’s schedule, but one bungle after another in the ship’s many new advanced systems has left it unable to even be delivered. [Ford won’t deploy until at least 2024.] In August, the ship’s propulsion system was finally fixed, and shipmaker Huntington Ingalls has promised the Ford’s munitions elevators will all be working by the end of the year.
And then there is the USS Harry S. Truman: the aging flattop was scheduled to be deactivated by the Pentagon in a bid to save billions of dollars, but the decision was reversed by the Trump administration in April. However, after the warship suffered a massive electrical failure in August, it was forced to return to Norfolk for repairs, even as the rest of Truman’s battle group sailed on without it.
Chris Miner, vice president for in-service aircraft carriers at Huntington Ingalls subsidiary Newport News Shipbuilding, told Breaking Defense the shipyard was experiencing “one of our largest overlaps” in years. “There’s some challenges that we’re working through … we’ve had some overlap in the past but nothing quite like this … it’s nothing we can’t overcome.”
Miner noted the shipyard was pulling workers from the Bush and both workers and equipment from the Washington “so they can get [the Truman] fixed.”
A Navy spokesperson told the outlet Monday the service “does not expect any delays to other ships due to the restoration work aboard HARRY S. TRUMAN.” Another source familiar with the issue noted the Truman might be ready by the end of November, but cautioned that could be an optimistic estimate.
The Navy’s dire shortage of drydocks was highlighted in a March report the service made to Congress, which warned that in order to “avoid feast and famine cycles that erode both the repair industrial base and the underlying vendor supply base,” Congress must provide “consistent funding matched to steady demand for work.”
The report noted that on both coasts, the Navy has only 18 dry docks to cover its 11 aircraft carriers as well as dozens of submarines; over all, there are just 21 dry docks responsible for servicing 109 surface ships homeported in the US.
However, the Trump administration’s plan to expand the Navy to 355 ships from 287 by the year 2034 was highlighted as a major obstacle, USNI noted, since most of the fleet dates to the Cold War era.
Extending the Truman’s life is part of that goal, as is the rushed two-ship procurement Congress approved earlier this year to buy more Ford-class vessels even before the class’ lead ship has been fully troubleshot. Other problems include retaining servicemembers amid attempts to expand their numbers, which moves like the Navy’s revival of the Torpedoman’s Mate rating onboard submarines are intended to buttress.
On the bright side if war breaks out they won’t get sunk so quickly. The USA is getting to be more of a paper tiger by the week. California can’t even keep the lights on now and the way the politics are going civil war could start across the nation soon. Most of the world will think it is well deserved.
We keep waiting and waiting for that to start up. Hopefully it starts today. The rest of the planet will celibrate like never before when we get to see yankys off each other. Please start it soon. The planet HATES yankystan. Lets hope they kill each other off. That or else remove donald. That would set them off good I would think. Just a matter of time waiting for the show to start up.
The Air Force manages quite well without the Navy. Put airborne refueling tankers out of business, then maybe a significant change.
Strategic global placement of US Air Force bases with readily available fuel just about nixes the Navy.
Carriers may be more jobs programs as they’ve been touted in recent years.
They may have their most effectiveness in South China Sea or Western Pacific deployments.
This. Vet (Army) here. The massive ship build up is a (mostly) Southern jobs program. Southern conservatives states love to talk crap about big blue states. However, outside of TX, most of the southern red states would shrivel up and die without MASSIVE titty milk – Federal spending paid for by the more productive blue states.
Not just shipbuilding but several military bases.
If Virginia is still considered a Southern state, it’s the ultimate.
Read elsewhere that the Lincoln is being extended in the sandbox… because there is no one to relieve her…If China were ever to invade Taiwan, now is the time… Hell we can’t even get out of port. Oh wait the LCS Indianapolis just got commissioned, we have a new utility working uniform and lactation rooms are being installed throughout the fleet. That will surely help.
probably all waiting for railguns, new elevators, porn hub streaming and electronic catapult systems.
not to mention fighters that fly.
Good let those sand people kill each orther pull our troops and money out f them they can eat shit and die
I trust your drumming is better than your politics!
People like you represent everything wrong with this country, and taking the name of the great Led Zeppelin drummer only goes to show how pervasive trolling has become. Who sends you the pittance so you’d say something so utterly ridiculous?
And its chicken-hawks like you who want our own men dying all over the world for no reason. You want war in Syria? Carry your own fat ass over there and do it yourself