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NNS awarded aircraft carrier maintenance contract as USN faces hurdles in public yard improvement programme

Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt underwent maintenance in San Diego in 2016. The navy awarded a contract to NNS for maintenance work on Nimitz-class and Ford-class carriers in the region. (Tony Roper)

The US Navy (USN) awarded Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ), cost-plus incentive and award contract with a potential total value of USD528.4 million over five years, if all options are exercised, for aircraft carrier maintenance in San Diego, California, the company confirmed on 24 July.

The contract comes as the USN struggles to improve its public shipyards to provide maintenance for its nuclear-powered carriers and submarines, as noted in the recently released US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, Navy Readiness: Actions Needed to Address Cost and Schedule Estimates for Shipyard Improvement.

The new contract for NNS covers maintenance, repair, and modernisation efforts for Nimitz-class and Gerald R Ford-class carriers home ported in and visiting the San Diego area. It will support emergent work, continuous maintenance availabilities, as well as Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) scheduled availabilities, NNS said in a statement.

Thomasina Wright, NNS vice-president of fleet support programmes noted the company's “longstanding tradition of providing service” to carriers in San Diego for more than two decades, in the company statement.

Much of carrier maintenance is done at public yards, the GAO noted in its report released in June.

“The navy's four public shipyards are critical to maintaining the readiness of its fleet of aircraft carriers and submarines,” the GAO reported.

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