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By Max Maxfield, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs
USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735) entered Dry Dock 4 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility May 11, to begin an 18-month Extended Refit Period.
This will be the first maintenance availability in Dry Dock 4 since interim seismic mitigation efforts were completed in recent weeks and the dry dock was tested and re-certified.
According to Jeremy Feldbush, deputy project superintendent for the Pennsylvania ERP, the project team took full advantage of the extended time pierside, which began March 1, to complete work outlined in the early start strategy while waiting for seismic mitigations to complete.
“The team looked for innovative ways to move work to maximize the additional time pierside, all while maintaining communications and support of the seismic mitigations.” Feldbush said.
Feldbush said he believes the team will also benefit from lessons learned on previous availabilities and from Naval Sustainment System-Shipyards processes utilized on previous projects. The upcoming ERP will involve scheduled maintenance, which includes an upgrade to combat systems, shaft replacement, preventative maintenance and preservation work. It is also an opportunity to apply new processes and procedures to the project.
“Our project will utilize crew boards, Supervisor Daily Priority List meetings, and will establish and maintain an Operational Control Center to maximize project management fundamentals,” he said. “Also, our team has evaluated and enacted several lessons learned from previous availabilities here at PSNS & IMF, as well as extended refit periods at Trident Refit Facility-Bangor and TRF-King’s Bay (Georgia). Our team continues to take full advantage of every opportunity to learn from best practices proven to reduce critical/controlling path strings of work. We’ll also benefit from communication lessons learned, and by being committed to problem solving.”
As Dry Dock 4 returns to regular operations, seismic mitigation work continues at PSNS & IMF’s Dry Dock 5 and at the Trident Refit Facility Delta Pier in Bangor. However, based on future planned improvements to Dry Dock 6 and differences in ship design and the size of aircraft carriers, it was determined immediate seismic mitigations are not required at Dry Dock 6. Aircraft carrier maintenance at PSNS & IMF will remain unaffected.
The need for mitigations in the remaining dry docks will be determined once current efforts are complete, and may include stability enhancements for submarine availabilities.
The docking of Pennsylvania in Dry Dock 4 is the result of the hundreds of experts from private industry, Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command and PSNS & IMF, who worked to return the dry dock to full functionality, to maintain our nation’s strategic deterrent capability and ensure the ability of the fleet to continue its overall mission.