Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. on Friday won a $2.6 billion contract to refuel and overhaul the USS Abraham Lincoln, a nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, the U.S. Navy said.

"Refueling, repairing and modernizing a Nimitz-class carrier gives the Navy a fully mission ready aircraft carrier ready for two and a half more decades of service on the front line," said Captain Frank Simei, program manager for in-service aircraft carriers.

The contract award was delayed six weeks due to a delay in passage of the fiscal year 2013 defense spending bill. But the Navy said it authorized additional work using other funds to keep the refueling program on schedule.

The Navy moved the carrier from a naval station in Norfolk, Virginia, to the Huntington Ingalls shipyard in Newport News, Virginia, on Thursday.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Eric Beech)