The Massive Work That Goes Into Remodeling an Old Aircraft Carrier

from Wired Magazine 

by Kathertine Kornri

 

USS-Abraham-Lincoln-06-2011

F/A-18C Hornets assigned to the Vigilantes of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151 fly in formation above the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). Official US Navy Photo

 

AIRCRAFT CARRIERS ARE complicated. They’re floating cities and mobile airbases, housing thousands of sailors and airmen, tens of aircraft, multiple nuclear reactors, and their own hospitals, barbershops, chapels, and zip codes. Carriers support defense and humanitarian efforts worldwide and can travel upwards of 100,000 nautical miles each year. Each United States aircraft carrier—there are 10 in active service—is designed to last 50 years. But the only way they get there is with a massive remodeling effort conducted once in the middle of its lifespan to update its technology and infrastructure.

Because “remodeling” is a term more often applied to home kitchens and bathrooms, the multi-year, multi-billion dollar process of modernizing the ship and readying it for at least two more decades of service is called Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH).

US Navy sailors and shipyard workers work together to update, clean, and restore nearly every square foot of a carrier: They refuel the nuclear reactors, overhaul living spaces, replace catapult systems used to launch aircraft, and repaint the hull, among other things.

In 2013, the ship was placed in drydock in Newport News, Virginia, the same shipyard that laid down its keel in 1984. “We have dozens of shipbuilders that worked on Lincoln during new construction 25 years ago who are working on the RCOH. These shipbuilders have a level of expertise and a bond with the ship that you cannot find anywhere else in the world,” says Bruce Easterson, construction director of Newport News Shipbuilding.”‘

the rest of the article is here:

http://www.wired.com/2015/02/massive-work-goes-remodeling-old-aircraft-carrier/

 

150827-N-IJ275-015  NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Aug. 27, 2015) Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Casey Boatner participates in pipe patching training aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). Abraham Lincoln is undergoing a refueling and complex overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ciarra C. Thibodeaux/Released)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Aug. 27, 2015) Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Casey Boatner participates in pipe patching training aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). Abraham Lincoln is undergoing a refueling and complex overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ciarra C. Thibodeaux/Released)

 

Published by

Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/