Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) delivered USS Virginia (SSN 774) back to the fleet following the completion of the first major maintenance availability for the Virginia class, May 5.
The ship arrived at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Sept. 1, 2010, for an Extended Docking Selected Restricted Availability.
The project team and ship's crew worked with Virginia-class shipbuilders General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding, as well as Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard to overcome the many challenges inherent with the first-ever overhaul of a new class of submarine.
"As the first naval shipyard to overhaul a Virginia-class submarine we felt it was important to partner with the builders and our sister shipyards to share both the knowledge and lessons learned on Virginia," said Project Superintendent Bill Caron.
"Thanks to the team effort put forth by Virginia's crew and combined shipyard workforce, we successfully overcame a number of new challenges."
As this was the first time overhauling a Virginia-class submarine, PSNY learned a number of lessons that will be shared with Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, which will conduct the next Virginia-class overhaul on USS Texas (SSN 775).
"The knowledge we gained will substantially benefit all future Virginia-class maintenance and be useful in new construction," said Shipyard Commander Bryant Fuller. "Increased knowledge, best practices and, most importantly, a submarine in top-notch condition and ready for operations are our contributions to the Navy and fleet commanders in meeting our nation's operational commitments."
Virginia was commissioned Oct. 23, 2004 and is the first of the newest class of attack submarines. Virginia-class submarines are designed to dominate the world's littoral and deep waters, while conducting anti-submarine; anti-surface ship; strike; special operation forces; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, firepower, and sensor suite directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.
The completion of submarine availabilities is critical in the maintenance of today's Fleet and is essential to supporting the Maritime Strategy. PNSY, a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), is committed to maximizing the material readiness of the Fleet by delivering on-time, affordable quality, safely achieved.