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Carrier Nimitz could still get service extension

The US Navy may still decide to extend the life of aircraft carrier USS Nimitz . (US Navy)

Despite plans detailed in the fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget proposal to retire USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in FY 2025, the US Navy (USN) may decide to extend the service life of that ship, according to Jay Stefany, acting assistant navy secretary for Research, Development and Acquisition, and Vice Admiral Scott Conn, deputy chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Requirements and Capabilities.

The two officials noted that the overall USN carrier fleet could dip below the federally mandated 11-carrier force in the coming years as Nimitz-class ships retire and Gerald R Ford-class carriers enter the force.

Speaking on 20 April during a media roundtable on that day's release of the USN's 30-year shipbulding plan, officially called the ‘Report to Congress on the Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for Fiscal Year 2023', the two navy officials noted the service is studying whether to extend the life of either Nimitz or another early Nimitz-class carrier.

The Nimitz retirement was detailed in the proposed FY 2023 budget documents released on 14 April.

“This initiative reverses a PB [President Budget 20]22 decision to extend the life of the aircraft carrier, USS Nimitz (CVN 68) to gain about a year of operational use,” the USN said in the budget documents.

With the Nimitz retirement, documents show, the navy stands to save about USD74 million in FY 2023 and USD339.4 million across the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP).

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