Navy Plans To Mothball Carrier JFK, Not Scrap ItVirginian-Pilot - Free Registration Required (WASHINGTON FEB. 18)The Navy expects to mothball the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy after retiring it later this year, preserving vital systems so that the ship could return to the fleet if needed, Navy Secretary Gordon R. England said Thursday. The Kennedy "is not gone. It is still there. It is still available," he told members of the House Armed Services Committee. But while they will not scrap the 37 year old Kennedy, England and Adm. Vern Clark, the chief of naval operations, again defended their decision to pull the trouble prone ship from service and cut the fleet of active carriers to 11, the lowest level in decades.
Carrier Speeding To RetirementVirginian-Pilot - Free Registration Required (WASHINGTON MAR. 11)The Navy on Thursday disclosed plans to essentially deactivate the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy by June, and a key lawmaker complained that the fast track schedule may pre empt congressional efforts to save the 37 year old ship and preserve a 12 carrier fleet. John J. Young Jr., the service's top weapons buyer, said officials will spend the summer evaluating bids for mothballing the Kennedy and expect to start that work by September. The process involves cleaning and lubricating equipment and sealing openings that could expose moving parts to corrosive salt water. In the interim, the Kennedy will remain at its pier in Mayport, Fla., unavailable for deployment overseas but with a crew that could move the ship to safety should a hurricane threaten the area, a Navy official said. The loss of the Kennedy would leave the Navy with its smallest carrier force in decades. And Vice Adm. Joseph A. Sestak Jr., the service's top warfare requirements officer, acknowledged that the fleet may decline temporarily to 10 carriers in 2014, with the scheduled retirement of the Enterprise, the Navy's oldest nuclear powered flattop.