Navy plan calls for 8-month carrier deployments

Norfolk, Va. (WTKR) – The Navy has rolled out a new plan that will lock-in 8-month long deployments for its aircraft carriers.

Admiral Bill Gortney introduced the Optimized Fleet Response Plan during the Surface Navy Association National Symposium Wednesday.

The plan is designed to improve maintenance for ships, as well as increase stability and predictability in schedules for sailors and their families.

The Optimized Fleet Response Plan, or O-FRP, realigns maintenance, training and deployment cycles into a three-year rotation.

That means that all required maintenance, training and a single 8-month long deployment will happen during the rotation.

In recent years, extended nine and ten month long deployments have become the norm for aircraft carriers.

Last July, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower returned to Naval Station Norfolk after a rare split deployment.

The Ike spent 10 out of 12 months at sea; spending 2 months at home in between her initial departure in June 2012 and return in July 2013.

That split departure was due in part to maintenance issues with the Washington state based USS Nimitz.

Deployments like that should become a thing of the past with the new O-FRP.

The plan calls for a reduction in time spent at sea and an increase in time at home.

The Navy says under the current cycle home time is at 49 percent for sailors. Under the new 3-year cycle, that home time will increase to 68 percent.

The first to adopt the new O-FRP will be the Norfolk-based Truman Carrier Strike Group in November of 2014.

It will eventually be rolled out across the Navy including the submarine force and expeditionary forces.

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