US Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) departed Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) for sea trials May 12 after completing a ten-month overhaul.
Truman had initially been expected to depart NNSY in February this year, after seven months of work. The repairs took three months longer due to material challenges, the service told USNI News.
The broadened scope of repairs saw the carrier undergo the types of repairs, upgrades and modernizations more commonly performed during a full planned incremental availability within the shorter timeframe and constraints of an ECIA.
Truman arrived at NNSY in July 2020 after spending an impressive 15 months underway over the course of two years. For the first time at NNSY, two carriers shared a single pier, with USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) neighboring Truman for several months. Bush undocked in August for the final phase of its planned 28-month drydocking planned incremental availability (DPIA) before returning to the Fleet.
“This was a challenging availability, but the Norfolk Naval Shipyard workforce, ship’s force and our contracting partners persevered throughout to accomplish all needed maintenance to deliver Truman back to the fleet,” said Shipyard Commander Captain Dianna Wolfson.
To improve the on-time delivery of submarines and aircraft carriers out of maintenance availabilities, NNSY, and the other three public shipyards, are executing the Naval Sustainment System – Shipyards (NSS-SY) program that combines industry and government best practices. NSS-SY is pushing to provide the production workforce all the tools and resources needed to support nonstop execution of work, while simultaneously removing any barriers in availability execution.
Additionally, NNSY has launched its Strategic Framework, prioritizing areas such as infrastructure, people development, and process improvement and innovation to improve timely delivery of ships back to the Fleet.
“We completed a tremendous amount of work in a relatively short period of time, executing the types of repairs, upgrades and modernizations more commonly performed during a full Planned Incremental Availability within the shorter timeframe and constraints of an ECIA,” said Project Officer, Lt. Avi Chatterjee. “But none of that would have been achievable without the consistent, earnest and committed teamwork from everyone involved in this project to get Truman back out to sea and in the fight.”
To better support the workload, the Truman project team re-sequenced work using a concept similar to what’s been performed at Ship Repair Facility—Yokosuka for USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). This strategy staggered some of the mechanical system work, eliminating the need to dry out piping systems and allowing greater nonstop execution of production work, particularly topside. “This provided 30 days of additional wrench turning time within the availability,” said Project Superintendent Jim Brewer.
Having co-located carriers at NNSY was unique, but also proved advantageous in sharing resources as needed, embodying Wolfson’s mantra of “One Mission – One Team.” In one instance when Truman experienced an unexpected electrical issue, the Bush team provided components to fix the problem that same day. “When there are two carriers sharing the same pier, there will be a high demand for the same people, and it requires coordination to support all the testing and evolutions,” said Chatterjee. “Inevitably, this can be a struggle when priority is placed in one place or the other. But far more often than not, both project teams worked cohesively to share resources, parts, and personnel to raise the collective tide and achieve success across both decks.”
Truman also benefited from SurgeMain support, with 65 sailors from 17 different production shops and departments providing calibration and testing expertise, aiding in pipe fabrication and conducting gas free engineering checks and safety inspections across a variety of jobs. Coinciding with Truman’s arrival to NNSY, the SurgeMain effort was launched across the four public shipyards last July to reduce maintenance backlog incurred during the pandemic. “SurgeMain personnel provided an incredible level of support to the Truman team throughout the availability, providing manpower and expertise to facilitate non-stop project execution despite the many constraints levied by the COVID-19 environment,” said Chatterjee.