Alternatives Available To Fulfill the Navy's Training Carrier Needs

Gao ID: PLRD-83-56 March 17, 1983

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Navy's requirement and justification for not reactivating an Essex-class aircraft carrier for use as a replacment for the Lexington as the Navy's dedicated carrier for training pilots.

GAO found that replacing the Lexington with another Essex-class carrier was not a viable alternative, because the Essex-class carriers that could be reactivated: (1) would not provide any added training capability; (2) are in worse material condition than the Lexington; (3) are used as sources for spare and replacement parts to support the two Midway-class carriers; and (4) have limited capability to handle the Navy's present and future fleet aircraft. Thus, the Navy now plans to retain the Lexington through 1989 and possibly into the 1990's as its dedicated training carrier. The Navy has scheduled the Lexington for five maintenance actions, including one overhaul, through 1989. At any of these junctures, the Navy will have the opportunity to decide whether it is more effective and economical to continue to use the Lexington or to select an alternative, such as replacing it either with one of the Midway-class deployable carriers as they are retired or with rotating deployable carriers to fill the training role.

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