For many years, Huntington Ingalls Industries' massive shipyard here was both a birthplace and maintenance yard for nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. Now it is also where the world's largest warships come to be gutted, as the first nuclear-powered carrier has reached the end of its life.
This is the lone shipyard that can produce new ships as well as maintain and inactivate existing ones. Of the three activities, the two most promising appear to be Ford-class construction and ship inactivations—the U.S. will need newer and better carriers and must properly and safely secure the nuclear-powered ships it no longer uses. The shipyard is now testing the U.S. Navy's newest carrier, the CVN-78 Gerald R. Ford.