Seems Like a lot of carrier maintenance

USS Harry S. Truman

USS Harry S. Truman

Original Image

Yeah, I know, things need repair and updates. Still, it seems to me like there’s a lot of maintenance being done on aircraft carriers right now and not so many out in the field.

I have no opinion on this. Could be fine. Could be “business as usual”. Could be a result of a lot of use over the last decade and ‘things back up’. I don’t know. Just seems a bit “odd”.

We’ve also got an interesting mix of things leaving service and entering service. Didn’t realize that there was so much turn-over happening just now. (Or that some of the retired ships were still floating…)


has these entries:

CVN-65 Enterprise

offloaded 3,348,000 pounds of ordnance and ammunition
to transfer to USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE 9)
and USNS Sacagawea (T-AKE 2)
in the EastLant
——–[ Schedule to the decommission ]———-
The Inactivation Ceremony will be held at Norfolk

3 1/3 MILLION pounds of ordnance and ammunition? Remind me never to annoy an aircraft carrier! ;-)

Inactivated end of the year. So now toothless, but “not dead yet”…

Count that as one “offline”.

CVN-68 Nimitz

13Oct-16Oct2012, EastPac
17Oct-26Oct2012, COMPTUEX in the EastPac
——-[ Schedule to the decommission ]———–
FY2024, decommission,
will be replaced by 3rd ship in the CVN-78 class

Hanging out in the Pacific for now. Has a dozen years left before it’s time to go…

Count that as one Deployed.

CVN-69 Dwight D. Eisenhower

19Oct-23Oct2012, Persian Gulf
24Oct-27Oct2012, Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates
28Oct-30Oct2012, Persian Gulf

Hanging out in the Persian Gulf… just to keep Iran happy ;-)

So we’re at 2 Deployed.

CVN-70 Carl Vinson

Back log
Planned Incremental Availability (PIA)
at pierside at Naval Air Station North Island

PIA is a maintenance period. R&R for the hardware and all that.

Count at 2 “offline”.

CVN-71 Theodore Roosevelt

Back log
Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)
awarded a $2.4 billion contract
to Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding – Newport News
for the Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH)
entered Newport News Shipbuilding for a RCOH
left dry dock and transitted the James River
as relocates from dry dock 11
to a pier 2 at Newport News Shipbuilding
for the second half of RCOH
——-[ RCOH Schedule ]————————-
December 2012, RCOH is scheduled to be completed

so having maintenance done until next year. That’s Three Offline.

I think I’d have kept Enterprise armed and ready until this work was done and off of ‘backlog’… but I’m a worry wart about things that go “BANG!” in the night ;-)

CVN-72 Abraham Lincoln

Back log
——-[ RCOH Schedule ]————————-
FY2013, scheduled to begin RCOH

So parked and awaiting complex reactor overhaul. For a year. Sheesh…

4 Offline.

CVN-73 George Washington

14Oct-23Oct2012, South China Sea
24Oct-28Oct2012, anchored Manila Bay, Republic of the Philippines
29Oct-30Oct2012, WestPac

Keeping China company… Three Deployed.

CVN-74 John C. Stennis

17Oct-20Oct2012, North Arabian Sea
launched first combat sorties
in support of Operation Enduring Freedom
21Oct-30Oct2012, North Arabian Sea

Keeping Eisenhower company over near all the oil… 4 Deployed.

CVN-75 Harry S. Truman

Home Port : Norfolk, VA.
Back log
03Sep2012, departed Norfolk
03Sep-10Sep2012, carrier qualifications in the WestLant
11Sep2012, returned to Norfolk
24Sep2012, departed Norfolk
Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trials (CSSQT)
in the WestLant
28Sep2012, returned to Norfolk
02Oct2012, departed Norfolk
Tailored Ship’s Training Availability (TSTA)
and Final Evaluation Problem (FEP)
in the WestLant
24Oct2012, completed TSTA/FEP
25Oct2012, WestLant
26Oct2012, returned to Norfolk

So had nuke overhaul, then some testing and trials. Now hanging around Norfolk. One presumes awaiting final approval and crew / mission. Ready and waiting, sort of. Call it 5 Offline, for now.

CVN-76 Ronald Reagan

sailed into Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for DPIA
DPIA will cost $218 million and take one year to complete
Ronald Reagan will be homeported in Bremerton

Being repaired. For a year. 6 Offline.

CVN-77 George H.W. Bush

Back log
moved to Norfolk Naval Shipyard
for a Planned Incremental Availability (PIA)

Being repaired. For how long, who knows? 7 Offline.

So I’m looking at this and thinking we’ve got 7 Carriers (and one presumes the rest of the carrier battle group) “offline” right now, and we’ve got 4 Deployed? Something about that ratio just seems very wrong to me.

Sure, Real Soon Now we ought to see Harry S. Truman back on line. That would change things to 5 Deployed and 6 Offline, not quite as bad.

But Wait, there’s more!

At the bottom of that page is a list of a few ships that are out of service in various states. Some new, not yet finished. Some old, not yet gone, completely.

CVN-78 Gerald R. Ford

——-[ Schedule ]————————-
2013, will be launched
Sep2015, scheduled to be delivered to the US Navy

Looks like a couple of years of fitting out, sea trials and shakedown.

CVN-79 John F. Kennedy

“First Cut of Steel” ceremony
at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Newport News
proposed budget being considered by Congress
would change that date
to September 2022 from September 2020
——-[ Schedule ]————————-
the full scale construction contract is expected to begin
planned to join the fleet

So “under construction” for the next 8 to 10 years…

CVN-80 (no name yet)
(3rd ship in the CVN-78 class)

——-[ Schedule ]————————-
replace CVN-68 Nimitz in 2027

A “gleam in the eye” for the next 15 years…

CV-63 Kitty Hawk

Back log
decommissioned at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
& Intermediate Maintenance Facility
in Bremerton

CV-64 Constellation

Back log
07Aug2003, decommissioned
late Sep. 2003, mothballed in Bremerton

CV-67 John F. Kennedy

Back log
decommissioned at Naval Station Mayport
formally decommissioned at Naval Station Norfolk
towed into the Port of Philadelphia
at the Navy Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility

So in addition to 3 being built, there are three ‘backlog’ in being decommissioned.

Don’t know what takes a decade to decommission a ship, but I’m kind of glad. It’s somehow cheering to think that Kitty Hawk and Constellation are still floating somewhere…

So the first thing that surprised me was just that we’ve got a total of 11 current and 6 ‘coming and going’ for a total of 17 aircraft carriers. Yeah, some are empty shells, and some are still just drawings and tools. But 17? Who knew? ;-)

Then I’m thinking “You mean we’ve bought 17 of these things, and have FOUR working right now? What?”

The other thing is just that we’ve got nearly 2/3 of the active ships in for some kind of maintenance? Only 4 out of that whole lot are fully functional? That’s just wrong. Not at all what one would consider “readiness”.

Yes, I’m sure some that are in for lesser repairs could likely be scrammed to sea in a real crisis. Still, being in a known location (and showing up on Google Maps as at this site):

is not exactly the best way to assure that somebody can’t just drop a bomb on them. Were I a Russian, Chinese, or Iranian; I’d have folks assigned the job of targeting an ICBM at each of them. Having the majority of them in static locations is just not the best solution… One can only hope they have active missile defense systems nearby. But I guess since “we’re all friends now” the Powers That Be figure no need to spend money keeping them at sea and all. Maybe they can even park them all together in a nice row in the same harbor, like at Pearl Harbor…

So maybe it’s just a ‘temporary thing’. Soon to have 5 or even 6 of them deployed. Maybe next year.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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18 Responses to Seems Like a lot of carrier maintenance

  1. intrepid_wanders says:

    Yes, I’m sure some that are in for lesser repairs could likely be scrammed to sea in a real crisis.

    I am not sure “scrammed to sea” is a good choice of words for those that work in engineering on these ships.


  2. Ran Cox says:

    May have more to do with funds being available now while they could well be starved for upgrade and repair funding later.

  3. Baa Humbug says:

    I’m no expert but considering aircraft carriers do just that, carry aircraft, and the US has now (effectively) bases in Iraq and Afghanistan full of aircraft (smack bang in the middle of the populated globe) they may not need to carry so much around on the decks of ships for the next couple of years?

  4. E.M.Smith says:


    Ok, ok, maybe I ought to have said “Flushed to sea” ;-)

    @Ran Cox:

    I did think that maybe there was some amount of “home for Christmas and New Years” in the schedule with some decommissions / port arrivals happening in December with the new deployments happening early next year…

    @Baa Humbug:

    Also Ramstein, the Naval Air Station on Sicily, access to NATO bases in Turkey, and I’m sure Israel wouldn’t mind if we parked a few dozen fighter bombers with munitions on their turf… then there is that giant Air Base we used in Saudi when we saved the Monarchy from Saddam and the giant bases in Japan / Okinawa and our arrangement with the U.K. to use Diego Garcia and…

    Come to think of it, why DO we have so many carriers?! ;-)

  5. p.g.sharrow says:

    I was once part of that dance. The US Navy is the only one in the world that can put carrier groups to points of need and KEEP them on station for Months at a time. All other navys operate out of ports and can only be on station for a short time. A carrier group will be comprised of defense and attack ships as well as the principal carrier. Frigates, guided missile cruiser and fast attack submarine. To keep them on station requires a train of supply ships that can do underway replenishment at 20kns. Ships are generally rotated on a yearly basis. One year at sea, one year in refit and repair and one year in training. The time in refit and training can be juggled to fit deployment needs. At times less then one year is spent in repair and training if the ship and it’s crew is needed on line. This wears out ships and crew quickly and should be avoided. The less ships you have the faster they wear out and retention of critical trained crew members drops due the decreased morale. 12 to 14 active duty carriers are needed to have 4 to 5 at sea and this requires nearly 300 other ships of all kinds in support. Ships that are “mothballed” are sealed and fully ready to go to sea, needing only crew and consumables.
    The most important thing about a Carrier Group is that it is a sovereign piece of the US, needs no ones permission to carry out operations and can be moved as needed. A carrier moves it’s position quickly, the ocean is a very large place, a carrier group occupies hundreds of square miles of ocean. You would be surprised how small a huge ship is on the ocean, and how fast a nuclear ship can move at flank speed. pg

  6. boballab says:


    Come to think of it, why DO we have so many carriers?! ;-)


  7. Steve Crook says:

    Interesting. If I was worried about something big brewing up over the next 2-5 years I might be inclined to make sure that the fleet was as up-to-date as possible. Particularly the aircraft carriers.

    What with Israel/Iran and Japan/China there’s plenty of opportunity for ‘trouble’ that would require an aircraft carrier or three. But perhaps I’m over thinking…

  8. Richard Ilfeld says:

    Aircraft Carriers, Subways, Roads and bridges…..

    Bullet Trains, Solar Power …..

    Fund the shiny new things, starve the fundamentals until collapse.
    Bread and circuses til the bond vigalantes come.

    The Blue Man Government

  9. Richard Ilfeld says:

    The Soviet Military was at 100% readiness until collapse.

  10. philjourdan says:

    I liked it better when they named the Carriers for past Battles. But I guess I am just an old fart in that respect.

  11. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Philjourdan; I have to agree. Naming carriers after famous American politicians seemed dumb to me. Maybe they were afraid that they would run out of new names for the new ships. There is no end of politicians. pg

  12. philjourdan says:

    Good point P.G.! I had not thought of it that way.

  13. boballab says:

    Richard Ilfeld says:
    6 November 2012 at 1:44 pm
    The Soviet Military was at 100% readiness until collapse.

    The Soviet Military, especially their Navy, was never close to 100% in readiness to do their stated missions. After the collapse it came to light that most of their ICBM’s were junk and had no hope of launching, the majority of the tank formations did not have the best equipment and still relied on the T-55, the Soviet fleet never left port for more than 2 weeks.

    Oh btw those Aircraft Carriers are part of the FUNDAMENTALS, read the Constitution about what government is supposed to do: DEFENSE and it is stated plainly we are to maintain a Navy.

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    Section. 8.

    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    To provide and maintain a Navy;

    Nothing is more fundamental to the Republic of the United Stated than what the founders wrote in the constitution.

  14. p.g.sharrow says:

    boballob is correct, The constitution requires that the federal government WILL provide a Navy and the Navy WILL have Marines., a permanent creation. The Army and therefore Airforce were to be a temporary creation, funded on a 2 year basis.
    The United States was a international maritime looking nation from the start and did not want standing armies as they were a force for governmental mischief, both internationally as well as a threat to freedom of the people and powers of the the states. Originally the Federal government was to be the international agent for the states that created it. Now the states are considered to be the vassals of the federal government. This was done with the use of the Federal Army during the Civil War and the Reconstruction period afterward. Federal Judges backed with the Federal Army rewrote the relationship between the states and federal government and made the Federal Government sovereign. pg

  15. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith ; CVN-77 G.H.W.Bush is not under going repair. It was recently built and has been undergoing training of it’s new crew. It will be the newest carrier to go on the line. It can be deployed at any time as needed, most likely after winter. pg

  16. p.g.sharrow says:

    CV-67 John F Kennedy was built as an oil burner. LBJ wanted to “save money”. It was a real dog and logistically expensive to put on station. I understand it is to be scrapped. pg

  17. Richard Brimage says:

    The Enterprise has come to port for the last time. Will be decommissioned and junked.

  18. omanuel says:

    Thank you, EMSmith, for sharing your wide vision.

    We live in strange times of widespread social unrest, when peripheral vision feels important. In trying to fit together diverse pieces of information, I sometimes acquire insight by observing the addicts, homeless, and unemployed, . . . those who are experiencing our future a few months ahead of us.

    I now suspect that my research mentor, P.K. Kuroda, slipped information past world censors throughout his career in:

    _ * His autobiography [1],
    _ * His research reports [2], and
    _ * My research assignment: “Origin of the solar system and its elements.”

    Although Kuroda never directly told me the message (I was like an uninformed “carrier pigeon”), I suspect his message was similar to the conclusion posted yesterday at

    The world was sliding into a one-world police state under the United Nations, as Russians had lived under Stalin, in order to hide the powerful Force [4] in cores of heavy atoms, some planets, stars, and galaxies that:

    _ * i.) Destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Aug 1945, but also
    _ * ii.) Made the elements, birthed the world, sustains the Sun, our lives, and Earth’s ever-changing climate !

    – Oliver K. Manuel

    [1] P. K. Kuroda, “My early days at the Imperial University of Tokyo”

    [2] P. K. Kuroda, ”The Oklo phenomenon,” Naturwissenschaften 70, 536-539 (1983)

    [3] “Origin of Elements in the Solar System,” in The Origin of the Elements in the Solar System: Implications of Post 1957 Observations (O. K. Manuel, editor, Kluwer Academic Plenum Publishers, New York, NY, 2000), pp. 589-643.

    Click to access origin_solar_system_book.pdf

    [4] ”Neutron Repulsion,” The APEIRON Journal 19, 123-150 (2012)

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