$72.7M for Post-Shakedown Work on USN’s New CVN-77 Carrier
Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News, VA is being awarded a $72.7 million contract modification to cover the USS George H. W. Bush’s (CVN 77) Post Shakedown Availability/Selected Restricted Availability. That’s a normal maintenance phase that aims to resolve any items that came up during a ship’s trials and delivery, and make any last-minute changes and upgrades following its acceptance into the fleet. Work will be performed in Newport News, VA and is expected to be complete by January 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $1.9 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair in Newport News, VA will manage this contract (N62793-03-G-0001). See also NGC release.
The USS George Herbert Walker Bush is named after the 41st President of the United States, who earned the Distinguished Flying Cross as a naval aviator during World War 2. In some ways, it’s a transitional ship between the CVN-68 Nimitz class aircraft carriers, and the new “CVN-21” Gerald R. Ford class.
The George H.W. Bush aimed at a 15% reduction in Operation and Support Costs, and is intended as a testbed for technologies that might be refit into other 9 Nimitz class carriers during their major maintenance overhauls.
Key design enhancements include a new semi-automated system for jet fueling, a redesigned aircraft hangar, a better shipboard electrical network, a mast made of composites instead of steel, improved ship coatings, a better sewage system that learns from commercial advances, some propulsion plant improvements that include a new propeller, and the bulbous bow introduced on USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) to improve its hydrodynamics. Other key improvements involve changes to the ship’s radar signature via a smaller “island” and the use of curved surfaced, and of course more up-to-date electronics.
The carrier was originally scheduled to be finish construction in April 2008, but delays have pushed the timeline back to about March 2009, and increased costs from $5.9 billion to $6.2 billion in appropriation-year dollars. CVN 77 was formally commissioned on Jan 10/09 at NAS Norfolk, despite being approximately 3-4 months away from the point at which it would normally be considered ready. The ship was towed into place for the ceremony, whose date was set in order to commission the ship while its namesake’s son was still President.
In practice, however, this meant that the Navy accepted the ship even though it had never tested its major operating systems or nuclear reactors at sea. The ship went on to pass its builder’s sea trials in February 2009, and was formally delivered to the US Navy on May 11/09.