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USS Pasadena Scheduled for Major Overhaul

Thursday, October 15, 2020

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At the end of September, USS Pasadena—a nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine—arrived in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia, where it has been scheduled for a Drydocking Selected Restricted Availability.

The USS Pasadena, designated SSN 752, is the third naval vessel and first submarine so named in the United States Navy, named for the City of Roses. The Los Angeles-class submarine first took to sea in July 1991, and has completed missions in anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and strike warfare.

About the Overhaul

According to the U.S. Navy, the overhaul will require 113,000 workdays where work crews will replace, repair and overhaul components throughout the boat while in drydock. The project marks the Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s first DSRA in a decade.

The Navy goes on to report that the project team has spent the past several months coordinating with Ship’s Force, streamlining the work package and gleaning corporate lessons learned from other availabilities.

U.S. Navy, Danny De Angelis, NNSY Photographer

At the end of September, USS Pasadena—a nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine—arrived in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia, where it has been scheduled for a Drydocking Selected Restricted Availability.

“Our goal as a project team is to over communicate; clear communication leads to a more cohesive and productive project team,” said Deputy Project Superintendent, Lt. Cmdr. Tim Olson. “We have emphasized this communication throughout our early start – within the project team, with ship’s force, with external stakeholders. 

“In fact, we have been working with the ship since last October to ensure we identify potential issues to minimize adding work late into the availability that can lead to delays. This has also allowed us to better focus our efforts and find efficiencies, such as refining the work package so we can minimize hull cuts.”

While officials have not specified how long the submarine would be in drydock, the project was reported to have gotten an early start over the last five months, with project teams conducting battery changes and upgrading the vessel’s radar system, among other performing duties that can be completed without the ship being in drydock.

However, according to NNSY Submarine Program Manager Pat Ensley, the team is working to get the USS Pasadena back out to sea quickly.

“Given USS Pasadena’s importance to the Navy, our job is to make sure we get her out on time and ready so the fleet can put her to use in support of our national defense strategy,” he said.

Pasadena joins several significant projects on the NNSY waterfront, which includes USS George H.W. Bush’s (CVN 77) Drydocking Planned Incremental Availability, USS Harry S Truman’s (CVN 75) Extended Carrier Incremental Availability, and USS San Francisco (SSN 711), undergoing conversion into a Moored Training Ship.  Olson said the project team’s motto is “hit ‘em with a boom” to not only acknowledge the submarine’s capability, but also the project team’s urgency is driving to timely delivery alongside the shipyard’s other priorities.

Recent Navy Projects

Also last month, the U.S. Navy launched a virtual 32-day public outreach and comment period regarding a new proposed submarine dry dock at the Pearl Harbor Navy Shipyard.

The government entity is currently preparing an Environmental Impact Statement for the project.

According to the Navy’s Notice of Intent, the EIS will evaluate the potential environmental effects associated with the construction and operation of a graving submarine dry dock replacement and waterfront production facility at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Oahu, Hawaii.

The construction plans to include permanent ancillary facilities—including power and various utilities—a new electrical substation, a new dock for loading and unloading dredging materials, a temporary concrete batch plant and demolition. Additionally, in replacing the dry dock with a graving or excavated dry dock, the structure will be built using concrete on land, near the shore.

While at the beginning of the year, aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford departed from the Norfolk, Virginia-based Naval Station to begin various onsite rehabilitation, post-delivery testing and trials.

One of the biggest issues reported to be affecting the vessel at the time is its new weapons elevators. As of the end of January, only four of the 11 total elevators were reported to be in working order. Apparently, this issue has resulted from the incorrect installation of elevator parts and guide rails, enabling the elevators’ use of magnets. When in working order, the elevators are slated to lift 12 tons of bombs and missiles—twice as much weight as the Nimitz-class fleet.

Additional issues on the ship include using the vessel’s new technology, which is reported to cover new catapults, elevators, arresting gear, as well as practical items like the trash disposal and Bluetooth-equipped kitchen ovens.

In May, the Navy reported that it had begun exploring the use of a new digital software to help combat shipboard repairs and maintenance services.

Called a “digital twin,” the technology is reportedly comprised of IT networks where maintenance engineers located at surface warfare centers can identify damage, corrosion and alignment issues more quickly. The practice aids crews in being more proactive about the vessel’s maintenance prior to docking at the port.

To create a digital twin, Aerial Alchemy first worked to define the appropriate amount of remote-sensing technologies that would be needed to design a purpose-built unmanned aerial system. According to reports, Aerial used LiDAR and hyperspectral imaging, which is able to analyze information collected from across an electromagnetic spectrum.

The technology can also detect corrosion, as paint reflects radiation differently if there is underlying rust.

In addition to ongoing projects and the incorporation of new maintenance technology, the Navy also recently issued a report, indicating that Navy ship days delayed by maintenance were reduced by 80% in fiscal 2020, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

During a webinar of the Virtual Fleet Maintenance & Modernization Symposium of the American Society of Naval Engineers on Sept. 15, Rear Adm. Eric Ver Hage, commander, Regional Maintenance Center, said, “The needle is really moving, and moving in a good direction,” in regard to the Navy’s 2020 delay reduction.

“It’s not just about on time, it’s also getting the required work complete. In our 2020 DDG [guided-missile destroyer] availabilities, we are tracking to complete 99% of all of our mandatory technical requirements, the things required to keep a ship operating to its full expected life cycle. That also is an improvement over last year.”


Tagged categories: Government contracts; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Rehabilitation/Repair; Ships and vessels; U.S. Navy

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