NORFOLK, Virginia. - Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) recently welcomed
USS La Jolla (SSN 701) for conversion from an operational fast-attack submarine
into a Moored Training Ship (MTS).
MTSs are nuclear training platforms used to qualify new nuclear
operators. La Jolla and USS San Francisco (SSN 711) are the next-generation MTSs
for the Nuclear Power Training Unit in Charleston, South Carolina.
La Jolla's conversion process will require two complete hull
cuts, separating the ship into three pieces, recycling a portion of the hull,
and adding three new hull sections. The new hull sections will arrive from
Electric Boat (EB) via barge and then be craned into the dock. The work will
include Virginia Class new construction philosophies and methods with a major
depot-level overhaul. EB's new construction techniques and expertise are also
being used in the handling and installing of the new hull modules.
"The biggest challenge for this project is
coordinating the unprecedented volume of work on a submarine availability with
overlapping planning effort while staying within aggressive schedule and budget
constraints," said Steve Seligman, deputy project superintendent "To mitigate
these challenges, the project team personnel actively participated in design
development to minimize execution challenges during the conversion."
NNSY is also leveraging best practices and lessons learned
provided by Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility
Inactivation, Reactor Compartment Disposal, Recycling (IRR), because the
conversion will dispose of or recycle a substantial portion of La Jolla.
"The Navy is depending on the timely delivery of the next
generation of Moored Training Ships to ensure the contingent of highly trained,
nuclear officers and Sailors meets demands from the fleet to support its nuclear
powered carriers and submarines," said Chrystal Brady, project superintendent.
This is a unique project which is crucial to ensuring fleet readiness in support
of the Navy's primary mission."
NNSY, a Naval Sea Systems Command field activity, is the oldest
industrial facility belonging to the U.S. Navy, and specializes in repairing,
overhauling and modernizing ships and submarines.