NORFOLK, Va. - The crew of the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier has been busy preparing for the ship's next mission: a massive mid-life overhaul.
The Stennis is next for what the Navy calls RCOH: refueling and complex overhaul.
The bulk of the work happens at Newport News Shipbuilding, where the Stennis was built and delivered to the Navy in 1995.
The shipyard is currently finishing up the overhaul of the USS George Washington.
"An RCOH is what is required in order to bring John C. Stennis back into operational standards so that she can do the nation’s bidding for the next 25 years," explained Captain Robert Williams, Chief Engineer for Stennis.
The $2.9 billion contract for the RCOH work on Stennis was awarded in February.
In addition to refueling the ship's reactors, more than 2,300 compartments on the carrier will be modernized.
During the RCOH, 1,200 Stennis crew members have been trained to perform industrial production and support work.
Major upgrades are also planned for the flight deck, catapults, island, and propulsion plant.
"It keeps the life of the ship longer. It sustains our life of the ship for the carriers. It’s important because people don’t realize that sustainment is actually what keeps the fleet going," explained LCDR Courtney Johnson, Assistant to the Chief Engineer on Stennis.
The Stennis has mostly been based on the West Coast, moving to Naval Station Norfolk in 2019 ahead of the planned RCOH.
The work is expected to last through 2025 and once completed, the Stennis will be able to serve for an additional 25 years.