The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) will not start due to a lack of funding, the Navy said Feb. 8.
Lincoln was expected to move to Newport News shipyard next week to begin the overhaul. However, as a result of the fiscal constraints resulting from the ongoing continuing resolution (CR), the contract for the refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) has not been issued to Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.
Lincoln will remain pierside at Naval Station Norfolk until sufficient funding is received to start the execution of the RCOH. In the meantime, the ship’s Sailors continue to conduct maintenance.
In their 50 year life spans, one RCOH is scheduled for the midpoint of an aircraft carrier’s service life. Lincoln was commissioned 23 years ago Nov. 11, 1989.
The impact of postponing CVN 72’s RCOH is three-fold:
- the time scheduled for the RCOH will have to be lengthened because the overhaul won’t begin when it was expected,
- delayed redelivery of Lincoln to the fleet,
- and impacts to industry (takes away money/jobs and can delay subsequent scheduled availabilities).
Cancelling or delaying maintenance creates a significant backlog of deferred maintenance and affects future year schedules and costs, as well as future readiness. The delay in Lincoln’s RCOH will affect other carrier work. Because of the short time available between sequential dockings, the delay will also result in day-for-day impacts to the defueling of the recently inactivated Enterprise (CVN 65) and the start of USS George Washington’s (CVN 73) RCOH.
A yearlong CR impacts funds for fuel, parts, ship and aircraft repairs, base operations, maintenance for buildings, roads and runways, and salaries for our government employees and contractors.
The fiscal uncertainties created by not having an appropriations bill and the measures the Navy is forced to take as a result, place significant stress on an already strained force and undermine the stability of a fragile industrial base.