Modernizing the U.S. Aircraft Carrier Fleet: Accelerating CVN 21 Production Versus Mid-Life Refueling

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The Navy asked RAND to study the trade-offs involved in accelerating the production of its new CVN 21 carrier while hastening the retirement of some of the Nimitz fleet. RAND compared the Navy’s existing plan with several alternatives and discovered that the Navy could modernize its fleet with the higher-performance, lower-cost CVN 21 at a cost premium no greater than 12 percent over its current plan.