USS John C. Stennis Leaves Newport News Shipbuilding Dry Dock, Overhaul 65% Complete

Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis is moved to an outfitting berth in Newport News
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) is moved to an outfitting berth in Newport News, Virginia, April 8, 2024. (Simon Pike/U.S. Navy)

The USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier moved out of dry dock at Newport News Shipbuilding and is 65% through its mid-life refueling and complex overhaul, officials announced.

Commissioned in 1995, the Nimitz-class carrier entered the Newport News shipyard in May 2021 for maintenance. Aircraft carriers are overhauled at around 25 years to extend their lifespans to a cumulative 50 years. The overhauls incorporate upgrades to propulsion equipment, infrastructure and electronic systems.

“When John C. Stennis redelivers, she’ll be the most technologically advanced Nimitz-class aircraft carrier in the Navy,” Rear Adm. Casey J. Moton, program executive officer for aircraft carriers, said Tuesday in a news release.

The ship is scheduled for redelivery to the Navy in October 2026, the service said.

The Stennis is the seventh carrier to undergo an overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding. Pre-pandemic, overhauls took about four years to complete. But industrial base challenges caused by the pandemic pushed the most recent overhaul of the USS George Washington to more than six years.

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The Stennis, Moton said, has also experienced industrial base and workforce challenges but the Navy is working with its industry partners to accelerate problem-solving and production.

The Navy-industry team is leveraging lessons learned from the Washington’s refueling and overhaul, added Capt. Mark Johnson, in-service aircraft carrier program manager. The shipbuilding team is improving the level of support to workers by using new digital management tools and processes.

Newport News Shipbuilding reported Monday the Stennis has been moved to the shipyard’s outfitting berth, where shipyard workers and crew members will complete the installation and testing of major components and combat support systems. This period will also see the improvement of the crew’s living spaces and eating areas.

“Our focus remains steadfast to get our ship back into the fight and to foster the professional and personal development of our sailors,” Capt. J. Patrick Thompson III, the ship’s commanding officer, said in the shipyard announcement.

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Caitlyn Burchett,

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