Newport News, Va. - Tugboats guided the USS Abraham Lincoln into the James River on Monday, moving the massive aircraft carrier from one of Newport News Shipbuilding’s dry docks to an outfitting berth.
The move marks a major milestone in the carrier's mid-life refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH).
Once final outfitting and testing is complete in 24 months, the carrier will return to the Navy's fleet for the second half of her 50-year expected service life.
“The end of the dry dock portion of the RCOH marks a significant milestone in the life of an aircraft carrier,” said Chris Miner, Newport News’ vice president of in-service aircraft carrier programs. “With Lincoln in the water, shipbuilders and sailors can focus on the final restoration, outfitting and testing of the ship’s systems. Moving her to the outfitting berth marks the point when the crew move aboard process begins and we bring the ship back to life.”
During the dry dock phase of the RCOH, the Lincoln underwent extensive repair and construction work both inside and out to revamp the ship. Inside, Newport News shipbuilders re-preserved hundreds of tanks and replaced thousands of valves, pumps and piping components. On the outside, they painted the ship’s hull, updated the propeller shafts and installed refurbished propellers.
For the final 2 years of the RCOH, shipbuilders will finish up the overhaul and installation of the ship’s major components and test its systems.
Shipbuilders must make sure that the electronics, combat and propulsion systems are all operational before the carrier is re-delivered to the Navy in 2016.
These final months will also be dedicated to modernizing the ship’s living quarters and making them habitable for the sailors as they move aboard. The first group of sailors began moving into the living spaces on Oct. 23.
The Lincoln arrived at Newport News in March 2013 for its RCOH and is on track to return to the fleet in 2016.