By Associated Press

A General Accounting Office report underscores the reason for a series of major modernization projects at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard: The equipment is aging and projects are being completed late.

The report finds fault with the condition of Portsmouth and three other public shipyards that overhaul and repair Navy ships.

It said 71% of projects at Portsmouth are completed late, and that on average, equipment is 3{ years beyond the expected service life.

Shipyard officials say improvements will make it more efficient. A week ago, the shipyard broke ground on more than $80 million worth of projects, and the Navy announced a contract for a dry dock improvement of nearly $158 million.

The GAO report this month found shortcomings in the Navy’s two-decade, $21 billion plan for upgrading shipyards.

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