New Delhi: The aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk is not up for sale to the Indian Navy as it has already "outstretched" its life, a senior US Navy officer said Wednesday.
"The ship was meant to last 48 years. It is in Wilmington (North Carolina) and not for sale. There is no intention to sell it. It has already outstretched its intended service life," Rear Admiral Allen G. Myers, the Director (Warfare Integration) of the US Navy, told IANS.
This puts to rest all reports of the decommissioned carrier being offered to India, which, at one stage, expressed interest in the vessel.
Myers, who once commanded the warship, said: "I am proud of her service. There is no other intention but to keep her in Wilmington."
At 82,000 tonne Kitty Hawk is twice the size of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov that the Indian Navy has bought from Russia and which is expected to be inducted in 2012 after undergoing an extensive refit. This apart, the keel of India`s first indigenous carrier was laid at the Cochin Shipyard last year.
Commissioned in 1961, Kitty Hawk underwent three overhauls in 1977, 1982 and 1998. The ship`s most significant maintenance period, however, was a Service Life Extension Programme (SLEP) at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in 1987. That rigorous four-year overhaul added an estimated 20 years to the originally planned 30-year life of the ship.
Decommissioned in May 2009, the Kitty Hawk`s long years of service made her one of the oldest active warships in the US Navy. The carrier was replaced by the USS George H.W. Bush, commissioned in January 2009 and named after the 41st president of the US.
Named after the small North Carolina town where Orville and Wilbur Wright made the world`s first aeroplane flight in 1903, Kitty Hawk saw action during the Vietnam War and the first and second Gulf wars.