The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington will soon begin a midlife refurbishment that will extend the life of the massive warship.

A $2.8 billion contract has been awarded Huntington Ingalls Inc. to begin refurbishment, which is expected to take four-to-five years.

The Washington’s overhaul will include refueling the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier’s reactors, as well as extensive updates to over 2,300 compartments, 600 tanks and hundreds of systems. Major upgrades will be made to the flight deck, catapults, combat systems and the island.

The ship arrived at Newport News on Aug. 4 under a planning contract. Work is getting underway immediately and will continue through August 2021.

More than 4,000 shipyard employees will support overhaul efforts.

After the overhaul, Huntington Ingalls says the Washington will be “one of the most modern and technologically advanced Nimitz-class aircraft carriers in the fleet.” The USS George Washington is the sixth Nimitz-class carrier to undergo overhaul.

Shipyard officials say overhaul represents 35 percent of all maintenance and modernization in an aircraft carrier’s 50-year service life.

Source: WAVY

Why it’s on our radar: While such refurbishments are vital to extending the life of these complex, vital warships, it does take a number of years for said refurbishment to take place. During that time, of course, the U.S. Navy — and the American leadership — are without a very important power projection platform, which always leaves us a little more vulnerable than we are when such vessels are underway.