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USS Helena Arrives at NNSY for High Priority DCMAV

By Anna Taylor, NNSY Public Affairs Specialist | Aug. 20, 2015

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - USS Helena (SSN-725), a Los Angeles-class submarine, arrived at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) July 21 for a Docking Continuous Maintenance Availability (DCMAV) the Navy reported today. 


The availability's critical path work is focused on installing the submarine's new electronics, inspecting the oil tank and correcting any deficiencies that arose during deployment. The technology upgrades will include the installation of a modular framework of processors and consoles, high-resolution monitors, and large-screen displays. 


"These upgrades involve removing old equipment and upgrading to more digital flat-panel integrated systems," said Pat Ensley, Helena Project Superintendent. "The systems will talk better with each other."


Ensley compared Helena's short duration DCMAV to an all-out sprint. Helena will be in dry dock until mid-October, which means the project team only has a few months to complete its renovations and repairs before waterborne testing begins. Helena is scheduled to depart NNSY in November.


"Docking was a challenge with the current workload we have at the shipyard," said Ensley. "If you look at major availabilities on the submarine side, with USS Maryland (SSBN-738) finishing up, USS La Jolla (SSN-701) just at the beginning of its conversion, and USS Albany (SSN-753) too, it's a real resource trial for the shipyard."


Ensley believes that the two-day docking evolution was only possible because of the coordination between the project team, docking officers, and Helena's crew. 

"This team came from a combination of so many different platforms. Having a diverse background has made it great so far," Ensley said. "We have our mission, and it's important we go and accomplish it."


NNSY in Portsmouth, Virginia, is one of the largest shipyards in the world specializing in repairing, overhauling and modernizing ships and submarines. It's the oldest and largest industrial facility that belongs to the U.S. Navy. Under NAVSEA's "One Shipyard" concept, the naval shipyards level the workload and mobilize the work force across the yards to best ready the Fleet and stabilize a vital industrial base for our nation's defense.