(CNN) -- At a time of heightened tensions in the Middle East, the U.S. Navy has been forced to temporarily abandon the requirement to keep two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf because of unusual maintenance problems.
The USS Nimitz was expected to deploy to the Persian Gulf early next year, but it will not leave because of extensive repairs on a failed propulsion pump. It may be deployed in spring 2013. At the same time, the USS Eisenhower is being sent home immediately for repairs to its flight deck. It will remain in Norfolk, Virginia, for two months and then return to the Middle East early next year to complete its deployment.
The Navy plans to send the USS Harry S Truman to the region early next year to restore the two-carrier presence. The USS John C. Stennis is already in the area.