The 97,000-ton nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington won a reprieve Friday after the Pentagon dropped its plans to mothball the ship as part of a budgetary cutback program.
The George Washington, commissioned on July 4, 1992, is one of ten nuclear-powered aircraft, so-called Nimitz-class supercarriers, in service. The Navy developed the Nimitz fleet to offset the decommissioning of the older Kitty Hawk and Enterprise category carriers. The biggest warships ever to set sail, the Nimitz carriers can house a crew of more than 6,000 and up to 82 aircraft.
Even though the carrier escaped the ax this time, the Pentagon may only be delaying the inevitable as the Navy plans to build one new Ford-class carrier every five years. The estimated cost of the newer ships: $13 billion apiece.