As the US Navy struggles to figure out how it can reach its new goal of a 355 ship fleet—up from 275 ships today—as quickly as possible, it has been looking towards extending the life of the ships it already has in service. Now the service is also examining the possibility of selectively pulling ships out of mothballs, refurbishing them, and sending them back to the fleet. One ship in particular may have a better shot than others at sailing the high seas once again—the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63)—America’s last operational conventionally fueled supercarrier.
The head of the Navy’s Sea Systems Command, Vice Admiral Thomas Moore, stated that while most ships in the inactive fleet are in too sorry a state to be worth reviving, the USS Kitty Hawk may not be: “Of the carriers that are in inactive force, probably Kitty Hawk is the one that you could think about. But we studied that when we decommissioned Enterprise, and the carriers are pretty old.”
Certainly pulling a carrier directly back into service would go a long way to bridging America’s “carrier gap” and would make President’s Trump’s demand for a 12 supercarrier fleet much more obtainable. Currently the Navy has 10 operational supercarriers, and with the USS Gerald Ford’s (CVN-78) entry into service date murky at best, that number may not increase for years to come.