NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The U.S. Navy’s proposed 2020 budget could mean the early retirement of a Norfolk-based aircraft carrier.
Under the $205 billion proposal, the nuclear-powered Nimitz-class USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) would not to undergo a refueling and upgrading process.
A 130-page overview of the budget said a “very difficult decision” was made to retire the Truman “in lieu of its previously funded refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) – that was scheduled to occur in FY 2024.”
Rear Adm. Randy Crites, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budget, confirmed in in a media briefing Tuesday the Navy bought two nuclear reactor cores tied to the Truman over the past 11 years.
Crites said those cores will essentially be shelved as emergency replacement cores for the Nimitz carrier program “until the life of all the ships are done.”
“If they’re needed, they would be used,” Crites added.
LIVE NOW: Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget Rear Adm. Randy B. Crites releases the Department of the Navy’s Presidential Budget submission for Fiscal Year 2020. https://t.co/6ErOHeo6IJ— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) March 12, 2019
The Truman, which is based out of Naval Station Norfolk, was commissioned in July 1998. The carrier was part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, launching more than 1,200 sorties on March 19, 2003.
Rep. Elaine Luria said in a tweet Tuesday morning she intends to work with other members of Congress to “fight any proposal to retire the USS Truman.”
In Tuesday’s briefing, Crites said if the Navy is not allowed to retire the Truman, they “would have to identify other sources to restore it.”
Crites added, “I don’t want to get into a ‘what if’ game. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”