US Navy attack submarine USS Boise (SSN 764) has moved from Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, to Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division to prepare for her overdue maintenance procedure.
The submarine arrived in Newport News on May 8 to begin pre-maintenance “smart start” activities in preparation for its engineered overhaul (EOH).
The overhaul of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine is now seven years behind schedule, according to the Government Accountability Office. The boat had been scheduled for an overhaul in 2013, but the work backlog at the US Navy’s four public shipyards capable of overhauling nuclear-powered vessels led to the long delay.
USS Boise (SSN-764), along with USS San Juan (SSN-751) and USS Charlotte (SSN-766), had been waiting on maintenance for so long that it lost its dive certification.
USS Boise returned from its most recent deployment in 2015.
In a bid to reduce the maintenance backlog, the navy contracted HII to perform the overhaul work. An EOH is a major multi-year overhaul near the mid-point of a submarine’s service life to perform necessary repairs, maintenance and modernization, to certify the submarine for unrestricted operations and to ensure the submarine is operating at full technical capacity and mission capability.
According to a GAO report from December 2019, the navy continues to face persistent and substantial maintenance delays that affect the majority of its maintenance efforts and hinder its attempts to restore readiness.
From fiscal year 2014 to the end of fiscal year 2019, navy ships have spent over 33,700 more days in maintenance than expected. The navy was unable to complete scheduled ship maintenance on time for about 75 percent of the maintenance periods conducted during fiscal years 2014 through 2019, with more than half of the delays in fiscal year 2019 exceeding 90 days.