Nimitz aircraft carriers undergo planned $2.8 billion midlife upgrades

The US Navy is performing planned midlife refueling and technology upgrades to the Nimitz aircraft carriers. Carriers are planned to operate for 50 years and halfway they get nuclear refueling and new technology. The cost is currently about $2.8 billion per carrier and it takes 46 months.

Carriers will receive upgraded weapons systems;
* Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM),
* Evolved NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System,
* Close-In Weapons System (CIWS),
* Mk-38 25mm automatic gun systems, and
* Anti-Torpedo Defense Systems.

The emergence of a specifically-engineered torpedo defense system is quite significant for the Navy – as it comes a time when many weapons developers are contemplating new ship-defense technologies and considering various carrier configurations for the future in light of fast-emerging threats from long-range anti-ship missiles, torpedoes and hypersonic weapons. An ability to protect large carrier platforms from submarine-launched torpedo attacks adds a substantial element to a carrier’s layered defense systems.

The carriers are being configured operate the F-35C stealth fighter.

The F-35C is a single seat, multi-role fighter aircraft designed to eventually replace the F/A-18 legacy Hornet.

The Navy’s future aircraft carrier-based air wings will consist of a mix of F-35C, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers electronic attack aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye battle management and control aircraft, MH-60R/S helicopters and Carrier Onboard Delivery logistics aircraft such as the Navy Osprey.