The US Navy has highlighted a ‘worst case scenario’ in the face of the country’s ongoing budget crisis. The failure of Congress to agree a new Pentagon spending bill will trigger $4billion in automatic ‘sequestration’ spending cuts on 1 March. Should this happen, as is expected, the navy has warned of the curtailment of a number of planned aircraft carrier and amphibious group deployments along with delays to new equipment programmes and already scheduled refits and repairs.
The fiscal turmoil has already resulted in the postponement of the refuelling complex overhaul (RCOH) of USS Abraham Lincoln. The aircraft carrier was to have begun a four-year long mid-life overhaul in February but this has been put on hold due to a lack of funding. Until the RCOH contract, worth in excess of $3 billion, is issued the ship will remain at Naval Station Norfolk. The delay will cause significant repercussions for future carrier maintenance schedules.