Special Report

US Navy Ships That Are Being Decommissioned, and When

To maintain the U.S. military’s position as the most powerful on the planet means keeping it up to date with the latest technology. And as newer versions of vehicles, vessels, and aircraft are deployed, out of date ones have to be retired. For the current fiscal year, the U.S. Navy is planning on retiring over 30 vessels, but not all of these will be sent to the junkyard. (Here are the 19 ships and submarines in U.S. naval fleet.)

To determine the ships the U.S. Navy plans to decommission in fiscal 2023, 24/7 Wall St. referenced the article, “Navy Wants to Decommission 39 Ships in 2023,” published by nonprofit military research publication the U.S. Naval Institute. We excluded five Freedom class littoral combat ships from the USNI list that Congress decided to preserve in the National Defense Authorization Act. Ships are ranked in order that the Navy plans to decommission them. 

The retirement process for naval vessels is simply removing them from the service. After their removal, these vessels are either sold off, transferred, or dismantled. Despite Congress preserving five Freedom class littoral combat ships, a handful of these ships, which only entered service within the last decade, are still being retired.

The U.S. Navy is mostly made up of the destroyer fleet, which accounts for roughly one-third of all naval vessels. The submarine fleet comes in a close second, accounting for roughly another quarter of the total number of vessels in the force. An aging fleet of cruisers, littoral combat ships, and amphibious assault support ships accounts for the rest of the naval vessels. (Here are the oldest ships and submarines still operating in the U.S. Navy.)

Some of the oldest ships in the Navy have yet to be retired, but the horizon is quickly approaching for them as well. Some of the famed Nimitz class carriers are planned to be slowly phased out over the next decade and replaced with Ford class carriers.

In the meantime, here is a look at the vessels the U.S. Navy is planning on phasing out in fiscal 2023.

Click here to see our detailed methodology.

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