— The amount of a contract announced by the Navy Friday to Huntington Ingalls Inc., of Newport News, Va., to refuel and overhaul the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. The bad news is that it costs so much to refuel a nuclear-powered flattop. The good news is that you only have to do it once every 25 years.

The "Abe" pulls into Newport News on March 28.

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Carriers are a job creator, but they are obsolete and generally unavailable. Of the ten US aircraft carriers, eight are currently in port (not unusual). The only carrier in the western Pacific, the George Washington, is undergoing maintenance at Yokosuka, Japan. (Carriers require a lot of maintenance.) The Stennis is currently in the Indian Ocean returning home to the US west coast, replaced in the Arabian Sea by the Eisenhower.  A 5th Fleet carrier is required on station to support the AfPak War, and not to steam around trying to scare Iran as is commonly believed.

Regarding obsolete, take a gander at--
USNI News, Mar 27, 2013 -- History’s Costliest Fleet Auxiliary

Carriers are too vulnerable to take part in hostilities any more, is the point of this opinion piece. The point has been made before by others -- that the carrier is as useful now as was the battleship it replaced. So rest easy, Mr. Lincoln, you won't be missed.


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