USS John C. Stennis CVN 74 arrives to Newport News Shipbuilding on May 6, 2021. HII Photo

Almost two years since its last deployment, carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) is now at Newport News Shipbuilding for its mid-life nuclear refueling and overhaul, the Navy announced on Thursday.

The carrier crossed the James River to the shipyard on Thursday afternoon to start the yard period for the seventh Nimitz-class carrier. The overhaul is expected to be complete in 2025.

Yard owner Huntington Ingalls Industries was awarded a $3 billion contract in February for the four-year-long period. The Navy awarded Newport News Shipbuilding a $187.5-million contract in August 2018 to start engineering, pre-overhaul inspections, design, material purchasing and fabrication work.

“For the last three years, we have planned each step of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) RCOH, including procuring long lead-time materials, conducting shipboard inspections and readying our facilities for this extensive engineering and construction project,” Todd West, Newport News’ vice president of in-service aircraft carrier programs, said in a statement.

Ahead of the trip to Newport News, “the ship went through a maintenance process called ‘Smart Start’ in which temporary services and systems were installed throughout the ship, decking and catapult equipment was removed, painting, lagging and tile sampling was done, and refueling preparations were made,” the Navy said in a statement.

Carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73) is at the end of its RCOH, which began in August 2017. The carrier was supposed to deliver later this year, but delays in work due to the COVID-19 pandemic are pushing the delivery into 2022, the company said in an earnings call earlier this year.